Food, community and the future for children

Food, community and the future for children

This year's Nutrition Month theme is "Ingredients for a Healthier Tomorrow"

March is Nutrition Month in Canada, and this year’s theme is “Ingredients for a Healthier Tomorrow.”  At Canadian Feed The Children, we believe that all children have the right to good nutrition, but we also know that good nutrition is not just about eating regular meals. Healthy futures for children come from strong communities, and food is at the heart of community. Here’s what program participants in Canada and around the world have to say about food and its role in their lives. 

Zoe and Dee, Neyaashiinigmiing (Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation) 

zoe with her sister in the garden

Zoe with her sister in the garden

Dee runs the CFTC-supported Healthy Living Program at the local elementary school. Zoe has been an active participant from a very young age. Over the summer, Zoe joined her family to volunteer in the community garden. 

Zoe says: “It was mostly me, my sister and little cousin. He’s only three years old but he still helped in his own special way. He would fill his little water bucket and pull weeds. Harvesting was his favourite!” 

Dee says that since the pandemic began, there’s been a big interest in food sovereignty, especially among adults. 

“Our youth were always our champions, and now we see that the adults are a part of it as well. This was the silver lining to the COVID climate; people started to think about food security and sustainability. It’s getting back to the old ways, the traditional ways, looking at what foods we have available to us in the community.” 

Gladis, Bolivia 

Gladis with her son in the flower garden

Gladis with her son in the flower garden

Gladis is a mother of four living in Bolivia. She is a vegetable producer who just expanded her business to include flowers. She says that joining the CFTC-supported training program and working with other women like her has been great for her family and her community.  

“It is good to work in teams because we can improve together, achieve more and plant more varieties of flowers. 

It has helped us to improve our income to support our children’s education and nutrition.  Having fresh veggies is also good for our nutrition.” 

Linnet, Uganda 

Linnet sits with a document in hand

Linnet does some paperwork during one of her farm visits.

Linnet is a Community Extension Volunteer (CEV) in Uganda. CEVs are community members who train fellow farmers in growing healthy crops as part of a CFTC-supported agricultural training program. Linnet sees firsthand how food is the backbone of their community life. 

"I like the solidarity and unity of community members, especially in agriculture. Members like to try out new varieties and lean on each other for support. The other thing I like about living in the community is that each household tries to grow food.” 

In her home, she sees how farming has made a difference for her own children. She says: “I have more food now from my gardens, I can feed my family and meet the basic needs of my children. I always share with them what I learn, and they are becoming experts to help their peers.” 

Boja, Ethiopia 

Boja with his Children left to right Chala,Lemlem and Gemechu

Boja shares a family moment with his three children.

Boja is a member of a men’s REFLECT circle in Ethiopia. These circles bring people together to discuss community priorities like food security, education, child protection, sanitation and more. In Boja’s case, the priority was to understand the business of farming better in order to improve their earning power. 

“To be honest I’m a hardworking man, but hard work without a plan was fruitless and discouraging. I faced strong economic problems for the past several years.” 

Boja's men’s circle is working together not only to earn more income, but also to strengthen their family lives. 

“The program has changed my children’s life by giving me awareness and ideas on how to nurture my children and also increase our family income. When we increase our family’s income our children’s lives also change positively.” 

Gladys, Ghana

Gladys with her sons

Gladys with her sons at home.

Gladys recently joined a CFTC-supported agricultural training program to learn to grow maize. In the past, she could not afford the inputs needed to grow maize, but thanks to the program she now contributes more financially to the home. She says this has brought her and her husband closer, and he sees her as a partner now, rather than a dependent. 

“This change in crops empowered me to have a louder voice in my family than before, because I am now contributing more to my family’s feeding,” she says. 

Thanks to the maize crop itself and her extra income, she says her children’s diet and nutrition have improved. 

“Now that I have more maize to feed my children, I have learnt to use maize to prepare kenkey in order to diversify meals in my family.” 

These are the ingredients for a healthier tomorrow 

Reconnecting with traditional food knowledge and leaning on one another for support. Coming together to build strong community economies. Communities moving closer to achieving gender equality. Children learning the importance of growing food of their own.

These are the building blocks of a healthier tomorrow - and at the heart of it is food. This how food changes the future for children. Thank you to all our donors and supporters who help make this possible!