No real alternative to food bank system in London
The London Food Bank won't be closing its doors any time soon according to poverty advocates who have been studying alternatives.
The London Poverty Research Centre has been looking at ways to make it easier for food to get to the people who need it most.
But Ross Fair, a member of the poverty think-tank's Task Force, says "London lacks the social or economic infrastructure to create an alternative to the food bank distribution model."
After six months of research into alternatives, the organization says the food bank should remain open, though it's not because anyone wants it there.
"Are we happy that our neighbours or cousins have to trundle down to the food bank once a month? And when we're angry about that the political will will change. Right now there isn't the social or economic infrastructure to make it work."
Fair says they're hoping to develop a single-tier system where those in need of food can access a neighbourhood grocery store, instead of the food bank, but local businesses would have to be on board.
One of the more perplexing questions being raised is how a city with so much food growing right outside of its back door has such a hard time getting it to the people who really need it.
Glen Pearson, co-director of the London Food Bank, says "Around food we're fairly dysfunctional as a community."
He says he's working on a plan to expand the farmers' market system in London, which could help get more fresh food to the food bank.
"Right now a huge percentage of the food that is grown in London goes up the 401 to a huge food terminal in Toronto. But local producers and growers want it to come to London, but there aren't the conditions yet for being able to create that. So that's what we're going to work on."
Currently, the food bank helps 3,600 families per month.