Food prices, visualized

People seemed interested in the food price information in my last post, so here’s a few more figures from that same Statistics Canada data, put in a chart. I really wish I had a better tool for visualizing data on the web than Excel — that will have to go on a to-do list. Anyone have any suggestions? Click through to see the chart… Change in average food prices in Canada The latest data available show food prices for each October for 2007-2011. So, I calculated percent change for the past year, and the past four years. Because the x-axis is so far down, I popped on a couple of the 1-year numbers to make it more clear. And income? For most people, are not growing at the same pace. For example, in B.C. the average hourly wages went up 2.3% in the past year (not adjusted for inflation). Some groups did much better: managers’ wages on average went up 7%, certain industries saw wages go up 12%. Others did worse: young workers (15-24) saw their average hourly wages...
Who I think of on Food Bank Day

Who I think of on Food Bank Day

Today is the Open House and Food Bank Day at CBC — the 25th year that CBC in Vancouver has raised money for B.C. food banks so they can provide for people who need a little help. This generally happens in December. It always makes me think of a day in November. In 2004, to be precise. I was working as CBC Radio’s reporter in Nelson, and our assignment desk was expecting the annual report on child poverty in our province. So, I was asked to go talk to a family, with children, who were struggling. An articulate and brave single working mom with a young son agreed to talk to me on the radio. She invited me into her apartment while she made dinner for the boy; I remember her stirring yoghurt into some organic macaroni and cheese to add a little more protein for him. She told me she got help from the food bank, at times, and healthy protein was hard to afford. It’s not a dramatic story, but I think of them every time we talk about food banks. About one in three people who rely on food banks in B.C. is a child. Food prices are on the rise too. That’s something we all sense in our grocery bills, but it’s really striking when you look at the numbers, especially for staples. Here are changes in food prices, from Oct. 2010 to Oct. 2011: Potatoes – up 24% Carrots – up 20% Coffee – up 19& Flour – up 17% Eggs – up 13% [Data from Statistics Canada, calculation by me.] I did that...