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Cost Of Nutritious Food Basket In CK Almost $200

It’s getting more expensive to eat well in Chatham-Kent.

According to the Public Health Unit’s annual survey of food costs, the price of feeding a family of four for one week is $198.32.

“This year, the number went up by 6%. We know that since 2009 it’s gone up by 25%, and those numbers are not going to go down unfortunately,” says Public Health Dietitian Lyndsay Davidson. “Things like toilet paper, soap, household cleaning supplies, [that price] doesn’t cover those items, so those are still in addition to the food that people need to purchase.”

Every year the Nutritious Food Basket Survey measures the cost of basic healthy eating, by comparing prices at six different grocery stores across Chatham-Kent.

It found that in 2016, a family of four would need a monthly income of $7,448 to buy the foods Health Canada wants in your shopping cart and have money left over for other expenses.

Davidson says the number of residents who don’t have access to affordable, healthy food is typically higher than the provincial average, but a guaranteed basic income could address the root causes of food insecurity.

“The basic income guarantee is going to make it so that everyone is at an even par, so that your working poor have the money to survive,” she says. “We saw that with the guaranteed income for our seniors. It helped lift a lot of seniors out of poverty. The hope is that it will do the same thing for the rest of the population.”

The Ontario government is preparing to launch a pilot project that’ll study whether a basic income is a more effective way to support those living in poverty.

Only three communities will be selected, and Chatham-Kent, like many communities across the province, is hoping to be a test site.

Davidson says they’ll be writing a letter to the Wynne government to advocate for a basic income pilot, but it won’t be an appeal.

“It’s more just encouraging the government to continue forward with it,” says Davidson, “Recognizing that they are making progress by doing this, and hopefully moving things forward.”