BELLEVILLE – Ensuring Belleville residents have access to healthy food is an issue that matters to Ruth Ingersoll. Ingersoll is the Executive Director of the Community Development Council of Quinte. She spoke to QNetNews last week as part of the QNet Municipal Election project.
Ingersoll spoke about many issues that concern her, including food insecurity and food deserts, employment issues and recreation.
The Community Development Council of Quinte is a non-profit, charitable organization that aims to improve the quality of life and health of this community by reducing poverty through research, alliances, programs and services.
Community gardens, cooking workshops and the Good Food Box are just some of the self-help food programs the organization offers. Ingersoll spoke about the importance of these programs when it comes to food security issues.
The agency’s new community garden is on Roblin Road northeast of Sidney Street and Bell Boulevard. On the United Way’s Day of Caring in late May Ingersoll says volunteers built and prepared 10 raised garden beds within a two-hour span.
“By the following morning all the plots were taken,” she said. “What this tells us is that next year we need to build ten more,” she said. Ingersoll added that the beds were raised up a foot higher this to make it easier for seniors to bend down.
Last week QNet spoke to the executive director of the local Canadian Mental Health Association branch, Sandie Sidsworth, who spoke about her concerns with seniors facing poverty. We asked Ingersoll if her agency has seen a similar increase in seniors requiring services.
Ingersoll added there have been some good things for seniors.
“The guaranteed income supplement has moved some seniors out of poverty or just to the poverty line in some cases, and it has helped,” she said.
“But there’s still accessibility issues, transportation issues, and issues around being able to afford and have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. If we have the food deserts then they don’t have a grocery store right near by them. Just for them to get to a store can be a big issue.”