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Latest updates 06/05/2024

Community Food Centres and food insecurity: results from our 2023 participant survey

Food security remained a pressing concern for too many communities across Canada in 2023 because of the high cost of living combined with low incomes. For our on-the-ground partners, these issues are more than headlines and soundbites—they see first-hand the increase in people looking for support at 15 Community Food Centres (CFCs) across the country.

So Community Food Centres worked hard to bring people together to support each other: through welcoming spaces, empowerment, dignity, and respect.

“I can come in and there's no barriers to the food here. It's like a 5-star restaurant where you don't have a bill. I always know it's going to be healthy.” — NorWest Co-op CFC participant

2023 highlights from Community Food Centre participants

These programs have had an overwhelmingly positive impact on community members! 

“The connection and community has meant so much to me. I feel I have a place to come for nourishing food that also lifts my spirits. I like the welcoming atmosphere and appreciate the other people who come here.” —  The Depot CFC participant

Last year, we surveyed 835 community members from 12 Community Food Centres (CFCs) to learn about the effectiveness of our programs. We discovered:

  • Community Food Centres were an important source of healthy food for 95% of community members who responded to the survey. Discover what a community meal is like at The Table CFC in Perth, Ontario.

  • 92% of community members felt empowered to make at least one change to their eating habits because of programs at their CFC. As one Mount Paul CFC community member put it: “[I have] regular and consistent fruits and veggies. My doctors have noticed a difference.”

  • Almost all community members (92%) felt they belonged to a community at their CFC. Welcoming spaces are an integral part of the Community Food Centre model. Read more about how CFCs bring this value to life.

  • 77% of survey respondents reported improvements to their health and well-being. A community member from Harmony CFC said: "I love being here. It has increased life satisfaction. It brought additional purpose to my life."

  • 40% of community members felt more confident speaking up about social and political issues. Like community members at The Local CFC’s social justice club EPIC who met with their Member of Parliament and gained his support for the Canada Disability Benefit. Read the story in our 2022-2023 Gratitude Report.

  • And, just over one-third (35%) said they were more likely to get involved in community actions or campaigns because of CFC programs. At Hamilton CFC, a community member shared that visiting the CFC has “[...] broadened my perspective on the issues that affect people that I wouldn't have been exposed to otherwise.” 

Curious about our annual reporting process? Read our 2022 Annual Program Survey blog which explains why we conduct our annual survey, what we measure, and how we do it.

Key ingredients of Community Food Centres

In partnership with Community Food Centres Canada, all Community Food Centres offer a special mix of programming. 

Key ingredients include cooking and food-growing skills, healthy food access, and ample community engagement opportunities.

“I see how great the need is and I don't feel alone in that. I'm able to give a voice to others who may not be able to [have one].” — The Table CFC participant

Here are the kinds of programs that 15 Community Food Centres served up in 2023:

  • Affordable produce markets
  • Community Action Training
  • Community garden programs
  • Community kitchen programs
  • Community meals
  • Fitness programs
  • Food skills programs for parents and kids, youth, and seniors
  • FoodFit
  • ID clinics
  • Land-based learning
  • Market Greens
  • Mind Your Food
  • Peer advocacy programs
  • School and after-school programs
  • Social justice clubs
  • Tax clinics

Community Food Centres: Making a difference

Community Food Centres are making a big difference in their communities—from creating welcoming spaces, to hosting delicious community meals, to gathering people to advocate for meaningful solutions to food insecurity.

Our partners can make an impact thanks to generous donors who support the vital programs that bring people together to grow, cook, share, and advocate. Donate today and help build and empower Community Food Centres across the country.

“You come here and you are somebody… I love it here. I look forward to it every week.” — Roots CFC participant

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