Finding formula: Community-based organizational responses to infant formula needs due to household food insecurity
This paper reports on qualitative research concerning community-based organizational responses to infant formula needs due to household food insecurity. It explores this topic against the backdrop of neo-liberal social welfare approaches that shape gendered food work within food insecurity households, as well as current state approaches to infant feeding policy targeted to vulnerable populations. Based on telephone interviews with a random sample of organizations across Canada (N=26) in 2016, this paper details typical responses to infant food insecurity within a sample of family resource projects with funding from the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program, as well as typical responses from a sample of food banks. Results demonstrate that neither state nor community organizations adequately respond to infant food insecurity. This leads to serious problems of unequal access, potential food risk, and food injustice that are imposed on mothers and formula-fed infants when mothers are forced into situations of pathologized foraging to find formula. This paper argues that infant food insecurity is the result of a succession of public policy failures that are best addressed with a reflexive, feminist, food justice approach.