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Food security is subject of workshop in Fort Macleod

Fort Macleod residents will find out just how much food matters at a free workshop Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Anglican Church.
“Food Matters — Let’s Put It On The Table” is presented by the Fort Macleod Community Thrive On Wellness Group.
The workshop is intended to bring Fort Macleod residents together to talk about children, families and community members that do not have enough to eat.
“There is a real range of opinions coming to the table,” said Susan Simpson, director of Kids First Family Centre, which runs food programs at local schools. “It’s a real problem in Fot Macleod. It’s a community problem and there needs to be a community discussion.”
According to recent research, the average income to meet the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter for a southwestern Alberta family of four must be $54,000.
To achieve that $54,000 combined income, both parents must be working full-time earning more than $14 an hour.
In the south zone of Alberta Health Services, 43 per cent of families report an annual income of less than $50,000.
Susan Roberts, an internationally-renowned food expert, will facilitate the workshop Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
“She’s a Canadian guru on the whole issue of food security,” Simpson said. She’s really knowledgeable and a really good facilitator.”
The workshop led by Roberts will provide people with a greater understanding of food issues in Fort Macleod and how they affect the entire community.
Roberts will explore the link between community assets such as people, places and structures and attaining community food security.
Workshop participants will explore what is possible in Fort Macleod and solutions that may already exist.
Roberts, who owns Community Building Resources in Spruce Grove, has been involved in community development activities across Canada that encourage relationship-building to spark community spirit and community-driven based activities.
Roberts has worked in asset-based community development and community coaching across Canada and the US for the last 20 years.
Previously, Roberts was a college and university instructor in co-operative education, adult education, program planning, evaluation, and nutrition.
Over the last 15 years Roberts has also used her asset-based community development skills as a strong sustainable food systems advocate in Canada and Alberta.
Roberts is also chair of the new non-profit Alberta Food Matters, through which the Growing Food Security in Alberta Network operates.
Alberta Food Matters shares the message of “the real value of real food for everyone.”
Roberts studied at Acadia University, the Halifax Infirmary in Nova Scotia and the University of Cincinnati.
Roberts has also studied under Dr. John McKnight of the Asset Based Community Development Institute.
A film event will preceed the workshop from 7-9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24 at the Empress Theatre.
The film event will feature short film clips and discussion, as well as free local food.
Registration is required for the workshop. Phone Susan Simpson at 403-553-5354 or Angie O’Connor at 403-553-4491.