Food Poverty

Food poverty - defined as the inability to access a nutritionally adequate diet - is a significant issue for many people on the island of Ireland.

Although the cost of healthy food is a major factor, the inability to access a healthy diet is a complex issue that incorporates education, transport, literacy, culture and environmental planning. Food poverty is yet another outcome of broader determinants of health, such as poor housing, social exclusion and high crime. 

With other stakeholders on the island, safefood is addressing the issue of food poverty through advocacy, building the evidence base and supporting community initiatives. Examples of this include:

Supporting networking and shared knowledge

  • safefood co-chairs the All-island Food Poverty Network with the Food Standards Agency, Northern Ireland. The main aim of the network is to support a co-ordinated and strategic approach to tackling food poverty on the island of Ireland through the development of consensus on related issues, collaboration and shared learning.
  • safefood co-funded Healthy Food for All, a multi-agency, all-island initiative to promote access, availability and affordability of healthy food for low-income groups. The initiative produced and published guides to best practice - A good practice guide for school food initiatives (2009) which looks at school food provision, funding sources, developing a school food policy and much more; A good practice guide for community food initiatives ( 2010) and A good practice guide for breakfast clubs ( 2012). 
  • safefood have organised and held a number of events in this area.

Supporting communities

In 2008 safefood provided Healthy Food for All with funding to establish a three-year Demonstration Programme of Community Food Initiatives, and again in 2012.

  • In 2015 the learning for the first two Community Initiative programmes was applied to a further 3 year programme involving 13 projects across the island that is managed by SECAD.
  • safefood has funded the re-print and distribution of 101+ Square Meals. Initially developed by the HSE and MABS, it is a well recognised resource that is used by many in the community wishing to promote budgeting and cooking skills.

Building the evidence base