We build health, belonging and social justice in low-income communities across Canada through the power of food.
A Canada where food is treated as a basic right and central to health, and where everyone has the means, knowledge, and voice necessary to access good food with dignity.
We believe good food can be a transformative force in low-income communities, so we build vibrant, financially stable Community Food Centres that offer high-impact food programs in welcoming community spaces that bring people together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for good food.
How we work
We believe that collaboration leads to bigger impact, so we act as a central knowledge exchange hub for the broader community food security sector, providing an annual national conference, open-source tools and resources, trainings, and grants to our network of Good Food Organizations across the country. Through this community of practice we work to build capacity and impact with our partners and to make the case for increased funding across the community food sector.
We know that to create lasting change we must take action at the systemic level, so we create opportunities for low-income community members, our partner organizations, and concerned individuals to join us in advocating for policies that reduce poverty, food insecurity and poor health.
THE POWER OF FOOD: When it comes to food, we believe the medium is the message. Good food has the power to build health and community, and inspire people to become engaged in issues that matter to them. Offering food that's delicious, healthy and pleasurable is a priority in all of our centres and programs.
MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH: Our Community Food Centres offer a critical mass of diverse programs under one roof, which creates multiple points of entry for community members, and encourages synergy and collaboration between people and programs.
INTEGRATED THINKING: By combining a united national voice with grassroots action, we aim to influence the policies that create the issues facing our communities.
RELEVANCE: We try to meet people where they're at. Community Food Centres meet immediate needs as a precondition for being able to address more complex food-related needs. Though Community Food Centres aim to help people make change in their lives, we recognize that people’s skills and goals are diverse, and that they do not want to be preached at or pushed. We understand that people require practical supports to be active in their communities, and that there must be pleasure in the process as well as the outcome.
RESPECT: Respect underpins all of our work. We believe in creating a welcoming and respectful environment in all the Community Food Centres we support. From the way people are greeted to the aesthetics of the physical surroundings, our activities and policies reflect respect for diversity and a recognition of the inherent value, assets and potential to contribute of all people.
EMPOWERMENT: We look for ways to foreground community leaders in everything we do. We believe in people’s abilities to take care of their own needs. When people can support themselves and their peers by acquiring skills that enable them to choose, grow, prepare and advocate for good food and a more equitable society, the result is higher self-esteem, better social and physical health and stronger communities. Similarly, we empower our centres with the supports they need to be locally relevant and to have a voice in the larger movement.
IMPACT: We believe in creating efficient and high-impact programs. We employ a cost-benefit analysis when developing our programs, and we endeavour to regularly measure their impacts on the community.
ORGANIZATIONAL CAPACITY: We believe that financially stable community organizations are vital. We strive to support organizations to have sufficient staffing and resources to do justice to our valuable work. This involves diverse and innovative fundraising approaches at both the local and national levels as well as fostering an organizational culture that supports staff to get satisfaction from their work and live a balanced life.
Our organization and our work are strengthened by recognizing and valuing a full representation of perspectives and experiences that exist in Canadian communities. We are committed to combating discrimination in all forms, including on the basis of Indigenous ancestry, race, ethnicity, ability, legal status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, income, and religious affiliation. We know that food insecurity is a form of economic inequity, which is often compounded by these intersecting identities.
Equity and inclusion
We work in diverse sociopolitical contexts and recognize the importance of local identities and knowledge. We respect the right of Indigenous communities to self-determination.
Our organization is committed to achieving full accessibility for persons of all abilities. Part of this commitment includes arranging accommodations for persons of all abilities to create an equitable and inclusive work environment.
At Community Food Centres Canada, we resolve to listen to and include these voices in our organization and work, and to respond, acknowledge, and adapt where bias and inequities appear. We are committed to building greater equity and inclusion, both within our organization and through the work we do with partners across Canada.