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Community Food Centres support people with lived experience of poverty and marginalization to become community leaders and advocates for policy solutions that reduce poverty and food insecurity.

In order to develop real solutions to the pressing problems of poverty, food insecurity, and poor health, we need everyone's voice at the table. That's why we fund programs that empower individuals and communities to advocate for themselves, and speak out on the issues that affect their lives.  

Every Community Food Centre offers a Community Action Training program that links local challenges to wider systemic issues, and gives people the tools they need to speak out. 

Across the country, our partners are forming social justice clubs, launching campaigns and mobilizing communities to move the dial on the issues that matter to them.

The Speak Up Show Up campaign, organized by graduates of the Community Action Training program at The North Grove Family and Community Food Centre, ensures the residents of Dartmouth have a voice. After identifying that not a single vote was cast in Dartmouth North during the previous municipal by-election, the group organized the campaign with a goal to get more Dartmouth community members out to practice their democratic right to vote. Their 8-week campaign included a Voter Pop-up Booth and ended with a Voting Party and Parade on election day. Dozens of community members showed up at the polls, and the group reprised the campaign for the provincial election the following spring.

The Alex CFC's Youth Cooking Up Justice Club came up with a big idea one day: Get candidates in the municipal election to share a meal with their community and talk about the barriers they face accessing food in the neighbourhood. In September 2017, they hosted #HungryforChange, an all-candidates town hall and community dinner. As everyone dug into the hyper-local menu, more than 100 community members raised issues and pressed the candidates for solutions. 

Community advocates at the Regent Park CFC have been active on several recent campaigns for income equality. They helped formed a Regent Park Chapter of the Fight for $15 and Fairness campaign, advocating for a $15 minimum wage. And in early 2017, Regent Park CFC worked with two other local organizations to host a community consultation on the Basic Income Pilot, where participants had the opportunity to have their say on the concept that is now being tested in four Ontario communities.

The EPIC (Empowering People In Communities) Social Justice Club meets each week at The Local CFC in Stratford, ON, to share a meal and discuss the ways that poverty, food insecurity, and other kinds of marginalization affect their everyday lives. The group's #PlantSomeStuff activism campaign in 2017 encouraged and empowered the community to grow their own food by reclaiming underused space for gardens, supporting neighbours to start their own gardens, and pitching in to create The Local CFC’s new 10,000+ sq. ft. community garden. 

In 2016, the Social Justice Club at The Table CFC in Perth, ON, embarked on an ambitious project aimed at identifying housing issues and developing local solutions. Funded through Lanark County’s Homelessness Prevention Strategy, the project focused on engaging and empowering people with lived experience of homelessness and housing issues to take action and speak out about challenges through surveys and focus groups. Thanks to The Table’s Housing Outreach Campaign, three community groups have formed and members are taking action on priority issues: more rent-geared-to-income housing; treating mould in housing; and reducing incidents of speeding on a specific street.

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