Journal of Community Health

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 199–207 | Cite as

Traditional and Alternative Community Food Security Interventions in Montréal, Québec: Different Practices, Different People

  • Federico RoncaroloEmail author
  • Caroline Adam
  • Sherri Bisset
  • Louise Potvin
Original Paper


Food insecurity is steadily increasing in developed countries. Traditional interventions adopted to tackle food insecurity, like food banks, address the urgent need for food. By contrast, alternative interventions, such as community gardens and kitchens, are oriented towards social integration and the development of mutual aid networks. The objective of this paper is to examine whether the populations served by traditional and alternative interventions in food security differ according to measures of vulnerability. We studied newly registered participants to food security interventions. Participants were selected from a random sample of food security community organizations in a two-stage cluster sampling frame. The categorizing variable was participation in a community organization providing either traditional interventions or alternative interventions. Seven measures of vulnerability were used: food security; perceived health; civic participation; perceived social support of the primary network, social isolation, income and education. Regression multilevel models were used to assess associations. 711 participants in traditional interventions and 113 in alternative interventions were enrolled in the study. Between group differences were found with respect to food insecurity, health status perception, civic participation, education and income, but not with respect to social isolation or perceived social support from primary social network. Traditional and alternative food security interventions seem to reach different populations. Participants in traditional interventions were found to have less access to resources, compared to those in alternative interventions. Thus, new participants in traditional interventions may have higher levers of vulnerability than those in alternative interventions.


Food security Food insecurity Community interventions Vulnerability Food banks Collective kitchens Community gardens 



This work was supported by CIHR, Canadian Institute of Health Research Grant Number GIR-112691. The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions and support made by: J. Bernier (Chaire Approches communautaires et inégalités de santé), S. Deshaies (InterActions, centre de recherche et de partage des savoirs du CSSS-BCSTL) and G. Senecal (INRS, Centre Urbanisation Culture Société, Université du Québec) in the redaction of the paper. We also acknowledge the other members of the Comité de Pilotage de la recherche sur les effet des interventions en securité alimentaire for their contribution in the project: J. P. Faniel (Table de concertation sur la faim et le développement social du Montréal métropolitain), R. Beauparlant (Faim et Développement Social du Québec), Z. Rhissa (Banques alimentaires du Québec), M. Gough (Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Montreal) and M. Rivard (Chaire Approches communautaires et inégalités de santé).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Federico Roncarolo
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Caroline Adam
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sherri Bisset
    • 4
  • Louise Potvin
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 5
  1. 1.Institut de recherche en santé publique de l’université de Montréal (IRSPUM)MontréalCanada
  2. 2.Population Health Intervention Research Network (PHIRNET)MontréalCanada
  3. 3.Département de médecine sociale et préventiveUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada
  4. 4.Centre de recherche de l’institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie du Québec (IUCPQ)Université LavalVille de QuébecCanada
  5. 5.Chaire Approches communautaires et inégalités de santéUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

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