Imagine strolling into your local grocery store and as you round the corner to the fruits and vegetable section, all you can find are mostly empty shelves. There are barely any tomatoes, and the sad, wrinkly ones that are there cost $17. Or, imagine there are no grocery stores at all–just fast food outlets.
However unlikely those scenarios may seem, for many communities it’s a reality called a food desert, where access to affordable, healthy, and fresh food is significantly limited.
In Canada, food deserts exist across the country, but are a particular issue in the North, where fresh tomatoes can cost up to seven times more than in a major city. Now Hellmann’s in Canada has launched the latest iteration of its “Real Food Movment” campaign to raise awareness around the problem and try to help make healthy food more accessible.
The company’s own survey found that while one in five Canadians are living in a food desert, only 50% of Canadians have heard the term. The new campaign includes a video capturing the reactions of shoppers confronted with nearly empty store shelves and outrageously marked up, sup-par produce. Hellmann’s wants Canadians to use the hashtag #MyTomato to share what they’re paying for their tomatoes, so consumers can compare their prices across the country. The brand is also donating $75,000 to the Northern Farm Training Institute to help fund a greenhouse to help bolster long-term food production. “With the funding, we will be building a greenhouse that can withstand the Northern climate and can be recreated by students in their own communities,” said Jackoline Milne, NFTI founder, in a statement. “The partnership with Hellmann’s allows us to create a sustainable food solution that communities will continue to benefit from for years to come.” The brand is also asking Canadians to sign a petition calling for better food access, which will be presented to policy and industry leaders at the Canadian Food Summit in October.
Because remember, the better the access, the more healthy, fresh vegetables there are to slather with mayo.