Suzanne Johnson, Day 7

Welfare Food Challenge ¶dash; Reflecting on the week long experience I decided to participate in the Welfare Food Challenge not only to highlight issues of food insecurity but to transform my level of understanding through a real experience. I was to assume that I was starting from scratch and could eat only the food that I could purchase with $21 for the week. This meant that I could not even touch the salt & pepper shakers in my cupboards. I will admit that I was inspired by my coworker who is absolutely… Read More

Suzanne Johnson, Day 6

Well today was one of my worst days yet as far energy level and mental capacity goes. It was probably my least productive days for work as I just didn’t want to even think about thinking. Seriously I feel really dumb and wonder how well I will articulate anything. With this in mind, let’s consider that employable people living on income/social assistance should be trying to get a job, this is roughly 40% of recipients. I am not to sure that I could have convinced anyone to hire me today. Just so… Read More

Suzanne Johnson, Day 5

Monday, 20 October 2014 So many things to write about today. As I struggle with the boredom of food and the extreme lack of flavour and as I desperately try to make something taste good on this $21/week diet I can’t help but think about the single mother of three who because of her high rate of rent actually had only 78 dollars per month to feed her family of four. At the same time, I am working at one of my part time jobs as a Healthy School Coordinator with which… Read More

Suzanne Johnson, Day 4

Sunday, 19 October 2014 I ate another apple today, it was the bomb! I still have a headache and my appetite is suppressed now. It was not problem to go from eating two pieces of toast at 8:00 am until 12:30 before I snacked on an apple and then about 2:00 when I had some lunch. I mixed the last of my beans mixed with tomatoes (I still have plain beans) with a packaged of the ramen noodles and was only able to eat half of the plate. I normally could have… Read More

Suzanne Johnson, Day 3

Saturday, 18 October 2014 – Why $21 Today I feel a little better than I have the first two days. I still have a headache but its not as bad as it was yesterday. My mind doesn’t feel like its functioning quite right and my stomach is not particularly happy, let’s just say that I am totally aware that it is there. I was super happy to purchase four spartan apples with the remaining money (0.95) at the fruit stand in Trout Creek. They had the best price per pound being a… Read More

Suzanne Johnson, Day 2

Making It Last – Friday, 17 October 2014 I attended a meeting last night in which a meal was served and because we have so many good cooks in the community, I was anxious to see what was being served and what I would be missing. When I saw that it was a delicious elk stew with green salad and baked bannock, I knew I would be missing a good meal and quickly tried to duck out of the way to let others get closer to the table. I said “Oh go… Read More

Suzanne Johnson, Prep for the Challenge

Welfare Food Challenge – Why? The welfare rates in BC have not been raised since 2007. Low welfare rates are part of the picture of poverty in BC, which is the worst in Canada. I am particularly concerned about the impact that this has on the First Nations people. Food insecurity is a significant issue for many First Nations people with roughly a third of families who are earning wages facing some degree of food insecurity. The number of individuals on limited income assistance is also significant and these individuals face food… Read More

Suzanne Johnson

Photo of Suzanne Johnson

I am a Registered Dietitian and member of the Penticton Band (Okanagan Nation). I live in the Penticton Indian Band community with my daughter and husband, who will not be participating in the challenge. Food insecurity is a significant issue for many First Nations people with roughly a third of families who are earning wages facing some degree of food insecurity. The number of individuals on limited income assistance is also significant and these individuals face food insecurity at almost double the rate of their wage-earning neighbours. I have been raised in… Read More