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Record-breaking numbers accessing food programs as food insecurity climbs in Nova Scotia

June 20, 2023


A community hub for low-income individuals and families is experiencing record-breaking numbers of people accessing its services, due to increasing food insecurity in Nova Scotia. “The pressure on individuals and families right now is intense and that’s creating a huge increase in demand for organizations like ours,” said Wendy Fraser, Executive Director at The North Grove. The North Grove, located in the heart of one of the city’s most challenged communities, has seen dramatic double-digit increases in all its food-related programming over the past few months including:

  • A 45% increase in attendance at Community Meals. The North Grove offers four weekly drop-in meals, each serving an average of about 70 people. This May alone, drop-in meals provided more than 940 people with healthy meals, an increase of more than 45% when compared to the same month last year.

  • A 135% increase in shoppers at our subsidized produce market for low-income families and individuals. The North Grove subsidizes produce prices to make fresh food more accessible to people experiencing food insecurity. In 2022, the weekly market had an average of 85 shoppers. In May 2023 the average number of shoppers was 200. People are also buying more produce forcing The North Grove to order nearly 50% more produce than in January 2023.

  • An almost 200% increase in visits to its trading cupboard, which provides access to non-perishable food, diapers, toiletries and toilet paper. In December, a high-need time of year, there were 50 visits to The North Grove’s trading cupboard for food staples and other essentials. Numbers have climbed significantly every month since then, reaching an unprecedented 143 visits in May.

According to data from Statistics Canada, almost 1 in 4 Nova Scotians can’t consistently afford healthy and nutritious food. This means 22% of Nova Scotians are currently living in food-insecure households, which amounts to a staggering 213,000 people. “Food insecurity is not a problem that's rooted in a lack of food, it is an issue that is rooted in inadequate income,” said Fraser, referring to a recent survey that showed food insecurity dropping during the pandemic when low-income individuals qualified for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). “With limited income, people face tough choices every day that take an incredible toll,” said Fraser. “Every day, we see people who must choose between paying rent or buying food. We see new moms trying to decide whether to buy diapers or formula. No parent should have to make that kind of choice.”


About The North Grove The North Grove is a dynamic community hub, located in the heart of Dartmouth North, that offers programs and services for people to learn and connect through family support, food, and friendship. Learn more at ### Media Contact Ellen Riopelle Communications Specialist 902-464-8234 ext. 1003


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