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The Hard to Stomach podcast explores stories of food insecurity across Ontario

Hard to Stomach is a CBC podcast that explores issues surrounding food insecurity and accessibility across Ontario.

CBC podcast explores the impacts of food insecurity across Ontario


CBC's Hard to Stomach podcast focuses on real people facing - and fighting against - food insecurity in communities across Ontario from north to south.

In Season 1 of the series, CBC's Nana Aba Duncan explored what food insecurity felt and sounded like through the stories of people who experienced it firsthand.

Season 2 explores the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic

The second season, hosted by CBC's Jason D'Souza, examines the interconnected issues of economic uncertainty, affordable housing and access to food amidst a global pandemic.

Listen now

All episodes of Season 2 are available on all podcast platforms and CBC Listen.

Episode 1: Appetite for Change

Featured Video2020 is a year marked by change. For people who already faced hunger, the pandemic made a bad situation worse. So who stepped in to help? This episode explores how food banks are working to meet increased demand, and asks hard questions about systemic issues causing food insecurity. You’ll also hear from grassroots community groups taking matters of food access into their own hands across the province.

Episode 2: A complex puzzle

Featured VideoFor some, CERB was a financial lifeline. It meant that for the first time in a long while, recipients could afford to keep a stocked fridge. For other Ontarians, the $500 weekly installment didn’t go quite far enough. In this episode you'll hear, firsthand, the impact government assistance can have… and what happens when that support changes.

Episode 3: Food for (future) thought

Featured VideoHow do you decide between putting food on the table and buying much-needed medication? In this episode, the focus is on organizations working towards food sovereignty by proposing a new way forward. A future where people don't have to choose between skipping meals or taking care of their health.

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Season 2 Research, Reporting and Writing by:

Kate McGillivray 

Audio Production and Research by:

Mac Cameron

Produced and created by:

Melissa Haughton and Hayley Zimak 

Executive producer:

Amanda Margison

Season 1

Episode 1: Who's Hungry?

There were more than three million visits to food banks across Ontario at last count. Who are the people behind the numbers? 

We explore what it's like to grow up hungry in a food-rich province, and its lasting effects on parents and children. We also dive into how the cost of living can impact every aspect of a person's life, from Toronto to London, Ontario.

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Episode 2: Fresh Out

Frozen pizzas and boxed mac and cheese might seem like a treat...until they're your only option. What happens when your access to fresh food is limited by how much money you have, or how far north you live? We talk about why food accessibility issues persist across Ontario, and hear from dedicated people in Leamington and Mississauga putting fresh produce into the hands of people who need it most.

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Episode 3: Hard to shake

Jane Sangster is a client of The Compass, a food bank in Mississauga. (Talia Ricci/CBC)

Food bank use is growing, particularly among working people. So with more people in need of help than ever, why is it still so hard to talk about? Nana aba examines why the stigma around food insecurity still exists, and how misconceptions about hunger impact the lives of half a million people across Ontario.

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Episode 4: That One Thing

Host of CBC's Hard To Stomach, Nana aba Duncan (CBC)

Food insecurity doesn't exist in a vacuum. It's often connected to factors like where you live, your source of income and even your race. While there's no instant fix for these interconnected issues, solutions have to start somewhere. 

So we asked the people we've heard from throughout the series: what's the one thing that can help you now, or that could have helped you then? 

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Season 1 Reporting by:

Liny Lamberink 

Markus Schwabe 

Haydn Watters 

Matt Fratpietro 

Matt Galloway

Gill Deacon

Mary Wiens 

Produced by Katie Jensen, Hayley Zimak, Melissa Haughton and Jennifer Williams.

Sound design and mixing by Katie Jensen.

Artwork by Pascal Chiarello.