In 2017, Proof Canada estimated that one in six households in Newfoundland and Labrador are food insecure. This means that a household is either worried about running out of food or limiting their selection due to lack of funds, are compromising the quality and/or quantity of food, or missing meals and reducing their food intake. This can have significant impacts on a household’s physical and mental health and well-being.
High food prices can exasperate food insecurity, making it more expensive to buy nutritionally complete meals and feed one’s family. Despite differences in food costs, programs like social assistance do not take into account the varying cost of living across distinct regions in the province. High cost of shipping and difficulty of growing food in the North is contributing to extremely high food costs in the northern regions of our provinces. This high food cost is supposed to be subsidized by programs like Nutrition North, but these subsidies do not go far enough to make food prices comparable to those in the South.
To better understand the cost of key food items across our province, the CLEAR Lab at Memorial University, the Social Justice Co-operative NL, and the Nunatsiavut Government are collaborating on a citizen science survey project to collect data on food prices. This data will be used to create both ground-level data and insights into regional food pricing as well as province-wide information for policy and advocacy.
We need citizen scientists! Volunteers will be responsible for collecting data in their local food store once a week to once a month. They will also be thanked in the form of a gift card of a set amount when their work with the project is complete.
Volunteers are needed on the North coast of Labrador, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador City, Cartwright, the South coast of Labrador, St. Anthony, Corner Brook/ Deer Lake, Grand Falls Windsor/ Gander, Clarenville, Bay Roberts/ Carbonear, St. John’s, and the South Shore of Newfoundland, and other locations.
CLEAR Lab will be holding information sessions for volunteers through Zoom on December 29th, January 6th, and January 13th, all at 2 P.M. NST (note new dates!). If you cannot attend at these times then please contact the project coordinator and we will do our best to accommodate you.
The coordinator contact for this project is Willa Neilsen, based in Northwest River, Labrador, who can be reached at foodpricesNL@gmail.com. She will set you up with everything you need.
When data has been collected, we will post it here. If you have any questions, please email foodpricesNL@gmail.com.
This project is a partnership between:
This project is funded by the Public Engagement Fund, Office of Public Engagement at Memorial University, by the Memorial Undergraduate Career Employment Program, the Smallwood Foundation, and by a Social Science and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant.