CFCC's new grants stream to grow good food movement across Canada

Five Good Food Organizations receive $50,000 to catalyze innovative approaches to food programs in low-income communities

Community Food Centres Canada is pleased to announce our first granting program, which will award $250,000 to community food organizations across Canada. The five $50,000 grants will be paired with consulting services, enabling us to offer tailored and multi-faceted support at a critical time in the organization’s development as it moves toward organizational transformation.    

The 2015 grantees are Gordon Neighbourhood House in Vancouver; Nelson Food Cupboard Society in Nelson, BC; the YWCA Peterborough Haliburton, in Peterborough; Parkdale Food Centre in Ottawa, and NDG Food Depot in Montreal.

Paul Taylor, the Executive Director of Gordon Neighbourhood House says, “We’ve been working hard to transform how our agency works to use food to support and mobilize our community here in the West End — from our community meals to our urban gardens, bike blender smoothie program, and our civic engagement initiative that is convening conversations about how we can make food a right for everyone. This funding is offering us both moral and practical support at this exciting time.” Taylor says that, beyond funding, Gordon House will benefit also from assistance with program evaluation and events and fundraising management, areas that it is sometimes difficult to find the time and expertise for within smaller agencies.

Grantees have been selected from among the 75 Good Food Organizations who have aligned themselves with CFCC based on shared principles, and who are working with low-income communities to grow, cook, share, and advocate for good food. Through the program, organizations strive to support individuals and communities to be healthier through the power of food. The GFO initiative offers all members — e.g. community health centres, social service agencies, food banks and family centres — supports and information that will increase their capacity to offer solid programming. This funding will further grantees to accelerate change, and is paired with strategic supports in areas of CFCC’s expertise such as program development, evaluation, fundraising, and communications. 

“Over the past three years, we have developed eight new Community Food Centre partnerships across the country, from Calgary to Dartmouth, and we’ve learned what it takes to succeed,” says Kathryn Scharf, Chief Operating Officer of CFCC. Scharf says that grassroots organizations can have significant impacts with relatively modest investments, “but we must acknowledge that, as our safety net frays, the strands cannot be knit back together by organizations that are chronically understaffed and inconsistently resourced. We would love to see a full-fledged Community Food Centre in every town and city, and while we can’t do that today, we are working with organizations with similar values to test how sharing ideas and resources can accelerate their work and build a shared case for its value.

New funding opportunities supporting child and youth innovation and FoodFit, CFCC’s healthy eating and exercise program, will also be launched in the coming year. All three grant streams are open only to Good Food Organizations and/or Community Food Centres.  

To learn more about CFCC's Good Food Organizations program, go to www.goodfoodorganizations.ca.

Launched in 2014, the Good Food Organizations program offers access to tools and resources, customized training, attendance at CFCC’s annual Food Summit, and chances to network and promote shared priorities. Good Food Organizations join Community Food Centres across Canada in working from a set of shared principles that prioritize creating respectful environments, offering high-quality programs and only the best food possible, foregrounding and supporting community leadership, and working towards progressive social change. 75 organizations from 52 cities have joined the program since 2014.

 

2015 Good Food Grantees

Gordon Neighbourhood House (Vancouver, BC)

Gordon Neighbourhood House’s community food programs include community lunches, three urban farm sites, a bike blender smoothie program as well as civic engagement initiatives aimed at activating their community to take action on the systemic issues underlying poverty and food insecurity. This grant will allow them to increase kitchen and garden staffing, enabling the organization to launch new programs such as community kitchens, a monthly dinner, a rooftop garden, and a single mom’s farm-to-table program.

Nelson Food Cupboard Society (Nelson, BC)

Nelson Food Cupboard Society’s recent strategic planning process cemented an organizational shift from a focus on emergency food access towards upstream solutions to local food insecurity such as food skills and community engagement activities. CFCC will provide strategic support as the organization launches community kitchens and enhances its garden activities. The grant will primarily go towards staffing and equipping their new food skills programs (community kitchen and urban garden infrastructure), with remaining funds going towards building staff communications and fundraising capacity.

Parkdale Food Centre (Ottawa, ON)

Over the past two years Parkdale Food Centre evolved from a food bank into a diversified organization offering programs that cultivate skills and awareness around healthy eating while advocating for policies that better address food insecurity. This Good Food Grant will support the costs of a strategic planning exercise and will enable Parkdale Food Centre to hire a full-time kitchen manager to oversee the Centre’s expanding food programs and free up resources to invest in fundraising for sustainability.

YWCA Peterborough Haliburton (Peterborough, ON)

Building on the success of their Nourish project, and in partnership with the Peterborough County-City Health Unit, the YWCA is building a thriving place for food in Peterborough that will offer a comprehensive programming in food access, food skills, and education/engagement. At this transformative time, their Good Food Grant will enable them to hire dedicated staff for their community dinners, community kitchens, and their soon-to-launch civic engagement program.

NDG Food Depot (Montreal, QC)

As NDG Food Depot prepares to merge with two other organizations — Action Communiterre and Boite à Lunch — they are poised to expand their program offerings and community reach. This Good Food Grant will support staff in program evaluation, program development, and communications. CFCC will also advise NDG Food Depot as they develop a peer advocacy program and refine their volunteer engagement to create more opportunities for volunteer leadership.