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Latest updates 05/29/2023

At Community Food Centres Canada, we believe good food has the power to build health, connect people, and inspire them to advocate on the issues that affect their lives. 

To ensure our programs are impactful, we undertake Annual Program Surveys (APS) with our partners. As part of the APS, our Research and Evaluation Manager travels to Community Food Centres (CFCs) across the country to ask community members about how coming to a CFC impacts their lives. 

This fall, nearly 1,000 community members were surveyed at 14 different Community Food Centres.

Why do we do it?

Together with CFCs, we measure program outcomes, identify what’s working, and learn how we can continually improve programs and practices with valuable input from community members.

The APS helps us remain informed about the issues we address and how our network can work together to achieve them. The results from the surveys also support our partners to communicate about the impact of their important work.

2022_SocialMedia_QajuqturvikCFC_1x1_HealthyFood-1.jpgHow do we do it?

In collaboration with CFCs across the country, we interview community members who participate in programs or access services at the CFC. This is done in-person to ensure comfort and safety, to acknowledge barriers to internet and computer access, and to move across language and literacy needs.

Alongside CFCC’s Research and Evaluation Manager, community members are hired and trained as local survey assistants to conduct the survey in different languages and to ensure community members are comfortable sharing their experiences. This year, the APS was conducted in five languages: Arabic, English, French, Inuqtitut, and Spanish.

What do we measure?

We measure a whole host of things:
  • Interactions with the Community Food Centre, such as number of visits and volunteering.
  • Impacts and outcomes on people’s lives like access to food, healthy food skills, social connections and feeling supported, community involvement and engagement, and improved mental and physical health.
  • Whether the main outcomes differ across sociodemographic variables such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, ability, and source of household income.
This year, we also introduced a section in the survey to inform our shared advocacy work. This section asked community members about barriers to filing taxes, accessing tax credits, and finding work. 

Here are some of the challenges community members shared with us:
  • More than half (56%) of respondents faced some type of barrier while filing taxes.
  • Almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents experienced at least one barrier to finding employment. Of those, 30 per cent experienced more than one barrier.
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of respondents had been laid off from a job within the past five years.

“[I’m] learning how change is made through policy [and] having a voice […] Being involved improves my mental health.” - The North Grove CFC community member

Key findings

Here are the many ways CFCs stepped up to support their communities during another challenging year:

90% of respondents reported their CFC provides them with an important source of healthy food. 
“If things are getting ridiculously tight, it's a relief that I can come here to [get] some fruits and vegetables.” - The Table CFC community member

“It helps me with my grandchildren. I can come here and get lunch if I don't have it for them.” - NorWest Co-op CFC community member

70% of respondents changed their eating habits because of participating in programs at a CFC.
“A lot of times we replicate recipes [from the CFC] at home. We eat healthier because we know what to do with ingredients.” - Hamilton CFC community member

“Good Food Market prices are amazing. Sparking inspiration, sharing cooking ideas and knowledge.” - Harmony CFC community member

70% of respondents reported improved mental health because of coming to a CFC.
“[I feel a] sense of belonging and hopefulness. Having friendly people greet you [and] seeing smiles is so powerful. It totally shifted my mental attitude. It’s a place I’ve come to rely on in difficult times.” - Nelson CFC community member

“I can be feeling quite grumpy, or down, and go to the garden and feel a whole lot better.” - Mount Paul CFC community member

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