Food Secure Canada, Meal Exchange, Ottawa Food Bank and Kamloops Food Policy Council advancing food security through innovation, advocacy and research
Mississauga, ON, October 12, 2017 – The Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security (“the Centre”) today announced investments in four innovative new projects that focus on advancing food security in Canada. The Centre’s new partners are Food Secure Canada, Meal Exchange, Ottawa Food Bank and Kamloops Food Policy Council. Since it was established in late 2016, the Centre has committed investments of more than $3.4 million to support eleven projects.
It is estimated that 1 in 6 children and 4 million Canadians (approximately 12% of the population) face food insecurity. This is a complex and very challenging social issue that requires urgent public policy and community based solutions.
“It is a national shame that with our wealth as a nation and abundant food, four million Canadians face hunger,” said Michael H. McCain, Honorary Chair of the Centre. “This requires policy reform. It requires new ways of tackling the issue. It requires action by business, civil society and individuals.”
Funding these forward-thinking initiatives, which range from addressing on-campus student hunger to creating a multi-stakeholder food security community of practice, will yield important insights and outcomes.
About the Centre’s newest partners and their projects
Food Secure Canada (FSC) has built an extensive national network of diverse organizations and stakeholders that tackle the many dimensions of food policy. With funding from the Centre, FSC will establish a Food Security Community of Practice, which will engage stakeholders across Canada through a series of local community meetings, to raise the profile of the issue, share learnings and research, and stimulate action on programs and policies which have material impact on advancing food security. FSC will partner with the Social Planning Council of Sudbury to implement the project, including engaging stakeholders from Northern Canada.
Meal Exchange engages post-secondary students in food security issues and initiatives on campuses and within their communities. In 2016, Meal Exchange undertook the largest national study of student hunger on five Canadian campuses and found that a disturbing 8% of students has experienced severe food insecurity. The Centre will partner with Meal Exchange to bring together multi-level stakeholders to identify barriers and develop and pilot strategies at Ryerson University in Toronto and Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. Learning from this three-year project, piloted in both urban and rural campuses, will inform future Meal Exchange programs.
The Centre is supporting the Ottawa Food Bank with the University of Ottawa to conduct one of the first longitudinal research studies on the relative benefits and impact of different food bank programs and services on its members. A final report will be communicated to key stakeholders across Canada. Research findings will inform the Ottawa Food Bank and other organizations as they increasingly move beyond emergency food relief into other programs and services that address member needs and advance food security.
Kamloops Food Policy Council (KFPC) operates a very successful fruit recovery program where each year surplus fruit is harvested and distributed to emergency food providers and homeowners. With support from the Centre, KFPC will implement a pilot project for creating a variety of after school snacks for the Boys and Girls Club by dehydrating and preparing gleaned fruit. This program will provide healthier, locally prepared snacks, create a new outlet for abundant local fruit, and increase the self-sufficiency of the gleaning program through this social enterprise.
The Centre, which was launched in December 2016, supports seven other projects across Canada:
• Community Food Centres Canada
• Food First NL
• FoodShare Toronto
• Greater Vancouver Food Bank
• McQuesten Urban Farm
• NDG Food Depot
• Northern Manitoba Food, Culture and Community Collaborative
Please visit www.feedopportunity.com for more information about the Centre, its programs, materials on food security and how to apply to be a partner.
To engage with the Centre, follow us on Twitter @feedopportunity and like us on Facebook Facebook.com/FeedOpportunity.
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About The Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security
The Maple Leaf Centre for Action Food Security is a not-for-profit organization that aims to advance sustainable food security in Canada. The Centre’s areas of focus include: advocacy, innovation and learning. Launched in December 2016, the Centre partners with organizations that are testing and expanding innovative approaches to advance sustainable food security. The Centre will share learning from its work and support networks, collaboration and research in the food security sector that builds further understanding of the issues and approaches to the advancement of food security.
Media Contact: Media.Hotline@MapleLeaf.com / 1-888-995-5030