Marjorie MacDonald, Day 1

Because I had forgotten to sign up for the challenge in advance I did not do any real preparation. This was a huge mistake. I had not looked to see whether there were any guidelines for participants before starting. Thus, I struggled through the first day trying to figure out what I was allowed to do. I had a lot of questions like: Could I eat the food I already had in the house? I thought – probably not, but what else was I going to do since I was not prepared?… Read More

Chris Buchner, Day 1

When contemplating what food I would buy for the Welfare Food Challenge, I wasn’t that worried.  I’ve been really poor at various times in my life and I thought that one survival skill I’d developed through these periods, was how to survive on very little money. On Tuesday evening, I went shopping with my 26$.  There are lots of inexpensive stores in my neighbourhood, and so I headed to the Dollar Store and the green grocers that line south Fraser Street.  And I made some rookie mistakes.  The first mistake I made… Read More

Sarah Carten, Day 1

I have been reflecting about the many competing priorities that someone would face while trying to make food choices on so little money.  Taste, health, variety, seasonality, locality, and production method are a few priorities that I have disregarded in order to satisfy my goal of minimizing hunger this week.  Within my $26, an additional need is to buy only gluten-free foods, as I’m Celiac.  The cost of gluten free flour, breads, pastas, snack foods, and most grains except rice is out of reach of anyone living on income assistance and certainly… Read More

Kylie Pawluk & Family, Day 1

I truly believe knowledge is power! 4 years ago, my boyfriend and I where having trouble finding full time work. We struggled to pay bills, and I though I had to live on off brand mac and cheese, and instant noodles, the only vegetable I bought was broccoli. I know better now. We now have two children, and funny, spend less on food then ever, and eat pretty darn well! I planned my meals for this week carefully, trying to focus on protein and veggies. Normally my family eats loads of fruit,… Read More

Madelaine Parent: Day 1

After a long, mentally exhausting afternoon of grocery store combing with nothing but $26 dollars in my pocket, I began the Welfare Food Challenge at 5:30 this evening. My shopping managed to provide me with several large bags (mostly yellow…Paul’s No Frills anyone?) filled with the following foods: 750 mL milk 1 carton large, white eggs 1 loaf whole wheat bread 1 bag dried kidney beans 1 bag red lentils 1 bag parboiled rice 1 large can diced tomatoes 1 bag frozen peas 3 tomatoes 1 bunch broccoli 4 large carrots 5 apples… Read More

Kathy Romses, Day 1

A lot of time, energy, knowledge and skills were devoted to developing a grocery list and meal plan that may come close to meeting my nutrient needs and my desire for delicious, sustainable food. It was disappointing to have to buy New Zealand apples during the peak season for local products but my need for enough food outweighed my desire for sustainable food. My meal plan includes making my own yogurt, tortillas, falafels and peanut butter using appliances I am sure that most people living on welfare do not own. This was… Read More

Roni, Day I

I would like to share to everyone what I was able to buy with $26.00.  I have $.40 cents left for me. I baked 3 of my 12 apples to have them as my spread for my breakfast. Beans and Veg plus a chicken for soup for the week. I have Lentils, Quinoa, a can of sardines, 4 pcs of chicken left, Pasta, I was able to buy a $2.34 can of coffee. I have carefully planned my meals to be able to eat healthy for the week. So far so good.

Sarah Nattrass, Day 1

Today is Day 1 of the challenge, which meant that I started my day with my grocery shopping for the week. I headed to No Frills and really had no idea what I was going to end up with, both in terms of type and quantity of food. In thinking about it now, I don’t know if I’ve ever shopped looking so closely at prices. I typically purchase food based first on nutrition, and therefore it was a big change for me to simply be focusing my eyes on the pricetags with… Read More

Melaine and Jawad Day 1

Melaine and Jawad1

Marjorie, Day 0: Thinking About The Welfare Food Challenge

Last year about this time, I was at a research team meeting in Richmond that included several academic researchers from various BC universities and representatives from each of the six health authorities. We were discussing the future of our Core Public Health Functions Research Initiative and how we were going to ‘re-vision and re-brand’ it. We also talked about the need to develop a new five year research agenda to build on the cross cutting themes of our current research agenda. One of those themes is “health equity.” Over our discussions, we… Read More