Date: June 25, 2019

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Environment Canada
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Poverty Taxes our Health

Health Impact: Food Security

This page was reviewed or revised on Thursday, March 14, 2019 10:04 AM

Food security means having regular access to safe and healthy food that meets a person's food preferences.1  

The ability to secure good food depends on three (3) things:

  • Availability: Enough food on a consistent basis.
  • Access: Resources, such as income, must be available to get healthy foods.
  • Use: Basic understanding of nutrition to properly use food and resources.2

Some families experience a lack of food security. This can include:

  • Trading healthier food for less healthy choices.
  • Sacrificing quality of food.
  • Not having enough food to eat.

The Cost of Eating Healthy

Income is the most important determinant of health. It affects our ability to access and purchase nutritious foods to live happy, healthy lives.

Food, safe housing, income and health are related. The ability to get good food is affected by income level and whether or not housing is affordable. This influences our health.

Some Lambton residents run out of money for food because it is a 'flexible expense.' That means it can be shuffled to pay for fixed costs, such as rent and hydro.

Food and Your Health

If you cannot afford good, quality food your health can be affected in many ways. Adults, who are not able to secure healthy food on a consistent basis, are more likely to suffer from negative health outcomes such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Food allergies
  • Obesity
  • Cancer 3
Food Security Image

A lack of household food security has long-term negative effects on a child's well-being. A child, who frequently experiences hunger, is more likely to have poorer health and develop chronic health conditions, including asthma4.

Food Security in Lambton County
Many Lambton residents struggle to have regular access to safe, healthy food that is personally and culturally acceptable5.

Image Graph of Percentage of Lambton County residents reporting regular or not regular access to food

Resources and Opportunities

Food Security

Garden Fresh Box
Garden Fresh Box is a food-buying club open to anyone who wants to buy fresh, quality vegetables and fruit without paying grocery store prices.

Student Nutrition Program in Lambton County
Student nutrition programs are available to all school-aged children to provide a nutritious meal in a safe, social environment. For more information contact Lambton Public Health at 519-344-2062 ext. 2011 or toll free 1-800-387-2882.

Soup Kitchen

A hot meal is served every day of the year to anyone who shows up during meal hours.

The Inn of the Good Shepherd
115 John St., Sarnia, ON, 519-344-1746
Hours: Monday to Friday: 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Saturday / Sunday: 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.


  • Mobile Market: The Inn of the Good Shepherd runs mobile markets at 11 sites in Lambton County between July and October. The market offers free fruits and vegetables.
  • One Tomato Communal Gardens: These gardens, tended by volunteers, offer free produce to anyone who would like it. Any remaining food is given to local food banks.

Food Banks

The Inn of the Good Shepherd
115 John St., Sarnia, 519-344-1746

St. Vincent de Paul Help Centre
228 Davis St., Sarnia, 519-337-1058

The Salvation Army Community & Family Services
970 Confederation St., Sarnia, 519-344-1142

Contact House Food Bank, Forest
6276 Townsend Line, Forest, 519-786-5692 / 519-786-4329


Petrolia Food Bank, Petrolia
4156 Petrolia Line, 519-882-3950

Oil Springs

We Care Food Bank, Oil Springs
Voice of Truth Church (back door)
2554 Elizabeth St., Oil Springs, 519-834-2917


Brooke-Alvinston Community Food Bank
3236 River St., Alvinston, 519-834-9993


Watford Food Bank
United Church (side entrance)
555 Ontario St., Watford, 519-876-2837

Corunna Food Bank
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
437 Colborne St., Corunna, 519-862-3641
*See the websites or contact each location for hours and terms of use.

For more information about Food Security, or Social Determinants of Health, call Lambton Public Health at 519-383-8331 or toll-free 1-800-667-1839.

Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health and the Ontario Public Health Association, 2011
2 World Health Organization, Food Security
3 Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts, Food Insecurity, 2010
4 PROOF: Research to Identify Policy Options to Reduce Food Insecurity
5 Statistics Canada, Table 105-0547. Accessed December 16, 2013