The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, visited the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre on Wednesday to announce $1.5 million in multi-year funding to Community Food Centres Canada that will help us build and support more strong and responsive Community Food Centres across Canada, and provide support to existing centres and to the broader community food sector.
"Ensuring that low-income Canadians are able to access the food they need to be healthy is a complex issue. PHAC's Innovation Strategy has recognized that we cannot address this issue simply through charity or promoting better choices, but by getting behind projects that work to address the many barriers to health experienced by people living in poverty," said CFCC COO Kathryn Scharf. "This vision has enabled Community Food Centres Canada, alongside partners like the Dartmouth Family Centre, to innovate by building community food centres that offer welcoming, dignified places where people can connect with each other and grow, cook, learn about, and share good food."
The funding is part of a three-year, $10.5 million funding envelope announced by the Public Health Agency of Canada as part of their Innovation Strategy. It will fund seven projects that promote healthier lifestyles among young Canadians and their families. The projects will target people in both urban and rural settings, as well as in remote, northern and underserved communities.
“The projects funded today will help Canadians make important changes to improve their health, with the benefit of direct input and support from the community. For example, by working with youth to build cooking skills and foster peer support, these projects will make it easier for Canadians to lead healthier lives,” said Minister Petitpas Taylor.
As part of the announcement, Minister Petitpas Taylor, MP Darren Fisher and MLA Susan Leblanc toured the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre, visiting the teaching kitchen, the community dining room, the kids' education space, peer advocacy offices, and 20,000-square-foot community farm.
The Dartmouth North Community Food Centre is one of a growing number of Community Food Centres across Canada that are building health, belonging, and social justice through the power of food. It was launched in 2014 thanks to financial support from the last round of Innovation Strategy funding, and has become an important community space in Dartmouth North where residents can come to access healthy food, learn new food skills, access peer support, and get involved in community initiatives.
Funding from PHAC's Innovation Strategy will support CFCC to work with partners to create new Community Food Centres in low-income neighbourhoods, and will enable the Dartmouth North Community Food Centres and other established CFCs to become leaders in sharing program innovations and learnings with the CFC network and other community food organizations.