Everyday life’s a challenge in a food desert

Hilary Beaumont

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Everyday life’s a challenge in a food desert

http://hilarybeaumont.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/everyday-lifes-a-challenge-in-the-gottingen-food-desert/#more-601

Published Nov. 4, 2012. Read the original version in The Chronicle Herald.

Groceries cost Donnie Mullins $20 more than most people. That’s the cost of a 2.6-kilometre round trip in a cab from the closest grocery store, Sobey’s on Windsor Street, to his building, Ahern Manor on Gottingen Street, where he’s lived for 15 years.

Mullins used to carry groceries on the back of his motorized wheelchair, but food would go missing on the way home.

“I live in a place that kids actually don’t get fed that well either,” he says. “So, it’s a competition, right?”

“Whatever they can get, they take. They’re hungry, too.”

He can’t take his groceries on the bus. Passengers are only allowed to bring what they can carry on their laps. And like many people in his neighbourhood, he doesn’t own a car. So Mullins dips into his food budget for cab money.

When he gets his groceries home, he can only carry so many bags at a time on his chair. So people steal the food he leaves downstairs.

Budgeting for transportation and having food stolen means Mullins does not eat as well as he’d like to. He wants a nutritious meal every day, but mostly he eats canned food heated up in the microwave.

“It’s not just me. There are many seniors and disabled people around us who have similar problems. They actually have credit at the corner stores because they can’t get to a grocery store.”

Things would be different if they didn’t live in a food desert.

Urban planners describe a “food desert” as a district with limited access to fresh, nutritious food.

Gottingen Street hasn’t seen a grocery store since Sobey’s joined the neighbourhood’s mass business exodus in the 1980s.

But working on the consensus that 1,300 households in the north end need better access to fresh food, a group of about 30 people are trying to change that.

In February or March, there could be a new grocery co-operative just two blocks from Mullins’ building. Recently, the group voted to name it the Community Carrot Co-op.

It all started three years ago with an enthusiastic man named Norman Greenberg. A psychologist with the Social Enterprise Network, Greenberg was working at a small convenience store that employed people with mental health problems.

“It was obvious that many other people in the neighbourhood had the same need, so I began to dream about something bigger.”

Sixteen months ago, he approached the North End Community Health Centre with his idea and they connected him with a large group of people who felt the same way. At a neighbourhood meeting, interested residents reacted with excitement to a slideshow about the potential of a local grocery co-op that would employ people from the community.

The co-op would be member-owned and organized. The pricing would be competitive. The atmosphere would be friendly, and there could even be a community kitchen.

Now Greenberg needs a spot to test-run the co-op for six months, and he’s eyeing a space on Gottingen. Eighteen months from now, The Hub on Barrington Street plans to move into a newly renovated space at 2169 Gottingen. He’s talking with the Hub owners now, and it’s possible he could temporarily move into the cavernous first floor of the former pool hall, now inhabited by power tools, industrial saws and a distinct smell of cedar.

But there are lots of conditionals in this equation. The largest is funding.

Last month, the Community Carrot Co-op submitted a bid for the Aviva Fund— an online contest that will give out $1 million nationally to independent organizations. The co-op is competing against other local organizations like the Centre for Art Tapes and the Akoma Family Centre.

To win the Aviva Fund, they need enough online votes. They’ve made it to round two, but the next deadline is tomorrow: Nov. 5.

Residents who need the co-op the most don’t have regular access to computers. So Greenberg is relying on the neighbourhood’s higher-income residents and empathetic people living outside the area.

The co-op members have put all their hope in the Aviva Fund. There is no back-up plan.

According to the co-op’s Aviva Fund webpage, 60 per cent of north end residents are low-income compared to 37 per cent of Halifax residents; 54 per cent of the area’s youth are unemployed; and 13 per cent of residents use the Parker Street Food Bank each week.

For someone with a higher income and more resources, living in a food desert can be stressful. But for low-income and poor residents, unhealthy food will make up a greater portion of their diet, and this will negatively affect their health.

North End Community Health Centre executive director Jane Moloney has seen it all: diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol are some of the health problems that walk through the NECHC door.

It’s like a refugee camp, she says. People in this neighbourhood are “significantly and consistently malnourished” because basic nutrition is difficult to achieve.

We’re sitting at a red table in the Backpackers Cafe, also known as Alteregos, on Gottingen Street. The owner, Michelle Strum, glides around the small space making sure her employees, hostellers and customers are comfortable. She stocks her display fridge with cheaper-than-average samosas and fresh fruit. Other than three corner stores and two late-night pizza shops, Alteregos is one of the neighbourhood’s only food options. Although it’s cheaper than other cafes in the city, it’s still expensive for people on income assistance.

“It’s being referred to as a food desert, and that really is true,” Moloney says.

“There are very few options to buy anything that is healthy, that is fresh, that is reasonably priced, within walking distance of a good six, eight square blocks, if not more.”

People find different ways of dealing with that, she explains. They spend a portion of their already limited budgets on taxis, or buy small quantities of marked-up groceries from the corner store, or run lines of credit at the pizza shops.

A co-op could change residents’ quality of life immensely, she says — not just their nutrition.

“Imagine that you could get a discount off your groceries if you are a member, and you could get another discount off your groceries if you volunteer or work in the store a few hours,” she says.

“That’s also going to give you a work history, and perhaps you’re struggling to get a work history.”

For Mullins, a co-op two blocks away would mean a cheaper cab ride. And spending less money on transportation would mean more nutritious food in his life. Eventually, he hopes the co-op will have a grocery delivery service.

“The co-op I envision would be a nice, family, neighbourhood store on a bigger basis,” he says. “They would know your name, they would know your needs, and it would be a good experience to go there.”

Wheelchair rights SPECIAL youtube

Out of Control Alcohol Consumption In Halifax Commons At Charity Baseball

This is a big report with much evidence of this baseball event that uses the charity thing to have permission to get drunk in a public park right beside the children’s swimming pool, play grounds and skate park.

There was no control mechanism in place to control people bringing in their own alcohol or leaving with open alcohol in their hands.

Nor was their any control mechanism in place for age restrictions.

Then also these people who were drinking getting into their cars and driving down the the pedestrian trail endangering everyone. No proper security to control access to this event, letting underage people come in. permitting people to bring coolers full of their own alcohol. Selling alcohol to minors. etc.

4 Commons beer july 20 2014_1167

Municipal Alcohol Policies

municipal-alcohol-policies-options-nova-scotia-municipalities.pdf

agd-application-for-special-occasion-liquor-licence.pdf

Liquor License_1179

The Alcohol and Gaming Division of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations is the regulatory body charged with administering Part II of the Gaming Control Act, parts of the Liquor Control Act, and the Theatres and Amusements Act. In broad terms, the Division is responsible for licensing and regulating liquor, gaming, and amusement activities, and ensuring these activities are conducted with honesty and integrity and in the best interest of the general public.

The links below will help you find the information you need related to the licensing and regulation of liquor, gaming, and theatres and amusement activities in Nova Scotia.

_2014.07.21_12h50m15s_001_

http://novascotia.ca/snsmr/access/alcohol-gaming.asp

Liquor Licensing Regulations

made under Section 50 of the

Liquor Control Act

R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 260

O.I.C. 2007-445 (August 17, 2007), N.S. Reg. 365/2007

as amended up to O.I.C. 2014-28 (January 28, 2014), N.S. Reg. 15/2014


Table of Contents

http://www.novascotia.ca/just/regulations/regs/lclicens.htm

——————————

7 Commons beer july 20 2014_1173

Please note that I will be doing screen captures and video timeline lists notes of the videos below so you will be able to easily find relevant information from these videos.

Most videos below were taped at approximately 9:00 AM on the 20th. Before the event was fully in operation.

NOTE: More videos to be uploaded.

Out of Control Alcohol Consumption In Halifax Commons At Charity Baseball

This first video done at 9 am July 20 2014

3:45 interview passerby

Drinking Alcohol then driving on The Halifax Commons Pedestrian Trail

The beginning of this second video was done at 9 am July 20 2014 and the clips of vehicles was recorded at the end of the day on July 19 2014

This video is early in the day before the crowds fill the pedestrian path, but this video shows many people and children crossing the sidewalk and entering the path which proves that cars driving on this path is a serious safety hazard.

2:05 Car coming out onto crosswalk

2:25 another vehicle driving on trails while pedestrians were there.

2:48 another vehicle driving over crosswalk

01 Commons beer july 20 2014_1121

Cars Driving on Halifax Commons Pedestrian Trail

2Halifax Commons beer july 20 2014 passerby interview

Lense cap on till 1:59

I am speaking to the operators that are behind the fence, telling them I am not pleased with people drinking in the park, getting in their cars and driving on the trail in the park after drinking alcohol.

3Halifax Commons beer july 20 2014 giving beer to minors

 4Halifax Commons beer july 20 2014 Police Conversation 

This video recorded at approximately 9:45 am

One phone talking to Police dispatch until

3:26 when Police van arrives and I start my conversation with the officers.

Wheelchair Cam Speaking To Halifax Police About Beer At The Halifax Commons

[embedhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaSucXc8jdo[/embed]

5Halifax Commons beer july 20 2014 Talking to Police

Click on any image for more options. Press F11 for full screen.

 

Wheelchair rights SPECIAL youtube

Deadly New Sidewalk and Curb Cut Out near Halifax City Hall

 Please note that I will be doing a compiled report of the previous work done by Tracey’s Landscaping around downtown Halifax. This will show that Tracey’s Landscaping has numerous times before been advised and notified as to the dangerous to wheelchair users work they have been doing and have chosen to ignore my reports and are now willfully endangering wheelchair users.

http://traceyslandscaping.com/contact-us/

_2014.07.12_20h16m41s_001_

I have sent a notice of this post to these institutions:

The Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association (NSCSA)
http://www.nscsa.org/Home/tabid/220/language/en-US/Default.aspx

A. Bruce Collins General Manager abcollins@nscsa.org

Better Business Bureau
http://www.bbb.org/maritime-provinces/
Media Contact: Don Mackinnon, CEO e-mail: info@ap.bbb.org

 Landscape Nova Scotia
http://www.landscapenovascotia.org/
info@landscapenovascotia.ca

Canadian Nursery Landscape Association
http://www.canadanursery.com/
info@cnla-acpp.ca

Halifax Chamber of Commerce
http://www.halifaxchamber.com/
Valerie Payn, President & CEO valerie@halifaxchamber.com

Mike Savage Mayor of The City of Halifax

I have previously spoken with Mike Savage in person and advised him of the dangerous work being done on the curb cutouts and he ignored me

mayor@halifax.ca

Tracey's Landscaping

Please scroll down for photo gallery.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D95Kw-vtFf0

Deadly New Sidewalk and Curb Cut Out_0523Deadly New Sidewalk and Curb Cut Out_0517Deadly New Sidewalk and Curb Cut Out_0512

Click on any image in gallery for more options. Press F11 for full screen.

 

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