Conference Archive: Advancing Food Insecurity Research in Canada

November 17, 2016

Conference Archive: Advancing Food Insecurity Research in Canada

About the Conference

In 2016, we organized the first food insecurity research conference in Canada, bringing together academics, public health practitioners, and community advocates to share research and take stock of knowledge gaps. This page archives recordings of the plenary presentations.

This conference (November 17-18, 2016) provided an opportunity to share new and emerging research on the relationship between food insecurity and health, how food insecurity interfaces with social vulnerability, and what the broader social and economic implications of this problem are. It facilitated discussion about the impact of existing policy interventions and the potential for new policy ideas like a basic income to tackle food insecurity.

The conference explored how the problem of food insecurity has been framed and how this has led to food-based rather than income-based responses in Canada. It also provided a forum for food insecurity research from other high-income countries such as the US and the UK, facilitating cross-fertilization of ideas.

Conference Recordings

Advancing Food Insecurity Research in Canada

At this opening plenary, PROOF Researchers presented an overview of PROOF’s work.

Presenters: Herb Emery (University of New Brunswick) (PDF slides), Craig Gundersen (University of Illinois) (PDF slides), Catherine Mah (Memorial University) (PDF slides), Lynn McIntyre (University of Calgary) (PDF slides), Valerie Tarasuk (University of Toronto) (PDF slides)

Insights from Other Countries

At this plenary, three leading food insecurity researchers from the US and UK provided an international perspective on research in this field, reflecting on what they saw as the important directions going forward.

Presenters: Colleen Heflin (University of Missouri) (PDF slides), Rachel Loopstra (University of Oxford) (PDF slides), James Ziliak (University of Kentucky) (PDF slides)
Chair: Craig Gundersen (University of Illinois)

The Social Construction of Food Insecurity

Drawing on perspectives from the UK, US, and Canada, the presenters discussed the emergence and evolution of food insecurity as a problem in high-income countries, considering why certain “frames” or ways of understanding have gained traction in the public discourse and policy arenas while others have not. They also reflected on what they saw as critical issues in moving beyond food based, charitable responses toward more effective responses.

Presenters: Elizabeth Dowler (University of Warwick) (PDF slides), Elaine Power (Queen’s University) (PDF slides), Janet Poppendieck (City University of New York)
Chair: Lynn McIntyre (University of Calgary)

Using Research to Inform Advocacy

Speakers from organizations that are leaders in advocacy for policy reforms to address food insecurity in Canada discussed how they saw the interface between research and advocacy. They reflected on what has been most useful, existing gaps in knowledge and other challenges associated with using research, as well as what advocacy opportunities lied ahead.

Presenters: Diana Bronson (Food Secure Canada), Mary Ellen Prange (Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health (OSNPPH)) (PDF slides), Lauren Goodman (Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK))
Chair: Valerie Tarasuk (University of Toronto)

Future Research Directions

Hasan Hutchinson, the Director General of the Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion provided a government perspective on household food insecurity in Canada. The presentation was followed by an open discussion on future directions for food insecurity research in Canada. To start this conversation, three researchers shared their reflections and insights gained over the conference period.

Presenter: Hasan Hutchinson (Health Canada)
Discussants: Lynn McInytre (University of Calgary), Elaine Power (Queen’s University), Valerie Tarasuk (University of Toronto)
​Chair: Catherine Mah (Memorial University)​


PROOF wishes to recognize the following organizations for their generous support of Advancing Food Insecurity Research in Canada 2016.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes (INMD)