News and announcements
Over three days in April, 200 staff from our partner Community Food Centres and Good Food Organizations from all over Canada gathered for our fifth annual Food Summit. to learn, network, and share knowledge over diverse and interactive sessions.
The theme for this annual conference was Activate and we were all motivated to explore how food is a tool to activate ourselves, our organizations, and our communities. Here's some of what we learned:
“If you eat, you’re in”
That’s what Amanda Nickerson, one of the stars of Six Primrose, the documentary about the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre, told us after the Toronto premiere of the film. She was describing her approach to community-building – an approach that thrives at the CFC: If you eat, you have a role to play in building a healthy and equitable food system. And every person in the community – in this country – has a right to access good food with dignity, and share it in a welcoming environment.
John Hillis, the director of the film, joined Amanda on-stage that night, along with Deborah Dickey, the manager of Dartmouth North Community Food Centre, and Syma Habib of The Alex CFC in Calgary, and Erica Ward of The Natogaganeg CFC on Eel Ground First Nation, N.B., who shared how they’re building health, belonging, and social justice in their communities. Watch a trailer of the film.
Change needs a movement
To kick off the summit, Deena Ladd, co-founder of the Workers’ Action Centre, Andrea Reimer, community organizer and former Deputy Mayor of Vancouver, shared their experiences of trying to make change at the grassroots and in the halls of power.
“You can't have an agenda if people don't feel it represents them. The process of developing the work, the demands, the agenda, vision, and fight has to be grounded in the people willing to fight for it and who are affected by it.” — Deena Ladd
"You are more powerful than you think you are. When you own that power, you are unstoppable.” — Andrea Reimer
How to implement racial equity and inclusion in our work
People of colour experience higher rates of food insecurity due to the barriers that structural, institutional, and interpersonal racism cause every day. On the second day of the Summit, Sabina Ali, Chair and cofounder of Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee, Paul Taylor, Executive Director of FoodShare, Nation Cheong, VP, Community Opportunities and Mobilization of United Way Greater Toronto, and Kwame McKenzie, CEO of the Wellesley Institute, shared how they are centering racial equity in their work, from fostering ally-ship, creating enforceable policies, offering programs that are relevant to racialized communities, targeting outreach efforts, and setting and measuring progress against equity and inclusion goals. Read FoodShare’s food justice statement.
Building land-based food programs, affordable produce markets, and a culture of ethical storytelling
Food Summit workshops and sessions are all about helping people to develop skills, resources and networks they need to offer high-impact food programs in their communities. This year, we dug deep into how to run affordable and inclusive produce markets, how Indigenous communities are reigniting their relationship with the land through land-based food programs, and how to build a cultures ethical storytelling.
How do you set up a meeting with your MP? And, once you get through the door, what do you say to get them to care about your issue? How do decisions about food policy, health, and social policy get made in this country, and where are the levers for change? How are Community Food Centres and Good Food Organizations working on advocacy in their communities? We tackled all those questions and more in a number of advocacy sessions focused on building the capacity of our grassroots partners to speak up and mobilize on food, poverty and health issues.
"Get media coverage. Build your movement. Show your MP that it's in electoral interest to support your issue." - former NDP MP Andrew Cash