Food could well be on the policy table as campaigns leading up to the Oct. 19 federal election get underway.

“Eat Think Vote” is the political slogan adopted by Food Secure Canada, an alliance of organizations working to end hunger and promote accessible, healthy food through sustainable food systems.

“The first step is to bring in a guaranteed basic income,” says Diana Bronson, executive director of Food Secure Canada, because all studies point to poverty as the principal cause of food insecurity. The Eat Think Vote platform recommends Ottawa study the feasibility of guaranteeing a livable income through the tax system.

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and the Good Shepherd Centres signed onto the drive Friday, joining a growing group calling for a basic wage that’s tied to what it actually costs to live here.

“We’re joining this campaign as a statement about our values and principles as an organization,” said chamber president Keanin Loomis. “You don’t really have to go beyond the business case to understand this.”

In Hamilton, the campaign argues a working person needs at least $14.95 an hour to purchase adequate shelter, clothing, food, transportation, child care, health insurance and “social inclusion” needs, such as a city recreation pass and other necessities.

Vilification of the unemployed as scroungers and skivers has a long and grisly heritage.

Kindness is cruelty; cruelty is kindness: this is the core belief of compassionate conservatism. If the state makes excessive provision for the poor, it traps them in a culture of dependency, destroying their self-respect, locking them into unemployment. Cuts and coercion are a moral duty, to be pursued with the holy fervour of Inquisitors overseeing an auto da fé.

This belief persists despite reams of countervailing evidence, showing that severity does nothing to cure the structural causes of unemployment.

Dear Peterborough City Council,

Could you feed your kids with these foods? Twizzlers, gum, crackers, jolly ranchers, expired bread? These are the staples of the food cupboard week after week.

In 2014, almost eight thousand people were food insecure in Peterborough each month. In Canada, over 840,000 (eight hundred and forty thousand) people were food insecure. This many people did not have access to an adequate supply of food to feed themselves or families. The OPIRG Food Cupboard has seen a 300% increase since 2010. Every year, nationally and locally, more and more people are accessing food banks, because they are unable to afford food.

They piled bags of bread, a small mountain of Jolly Ranchers and a pair of rotten tomatoes in front of City Hall and asked “Would you want to feed your family this?”

Frustrated volunteers from the OPIRG food cupboard brought their message to a rally Saturday at noon since they are tired of trying to patch together decent meals for their clients from the bizarre quantities and types of food donated from corporations in exchange for tax credits. They say their request to civic officials for changes is just the start of their campaign.

Four million hungry Canadians. More than a million kids living in Canadian households where there is not enough food. Almost 20,000 Kingstonians living in poverty. More than 6,500 people using Kingston’s Partners in Mission Food Bank.

These are overwhelming statistics. Where do we even begin to tackle hunger?

For more than 30 years, we have turned to food banks to solve hunger. The idea that food banks can make hunger disappear is appealing in its simplicity. Hungry people need food. If we give food to hungry people, then they won’t be hungry anymore. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, the food bank solution to hunger isn’t working…

Is income security the next BIG idea?

About 50 community leaders from across York Region gathered in Richmond Hill July 3 to promote the idea of ensuring Canadians have access to a basic income guarantee (BIG) so they have enough money for food and other fundamental needs.

Not only would income security spare people the indignity of going to food banks, but it would reroute taxpayer money now spent on health and social programs while giving low-income earners the opportunity to contribute to their local economies, Queen’s University associate Prof. Elaine Power said.