Food Literacy Report
During the summer of 2017, Victoria Cool Aid’s Downtown Community Centre (DCC) and LifeCycles Project Society collaborated on a Food Literacy Pilot Project. A full report on the pilot and findings is linked at the end of this post.
The pilot’s primary goal was to explore how community food service agencies can better support those living in food insecure environments in advising, influencing and leading food literacy and food access programming in the Capital Region. We aimed to:
- Understand how we might ladder participant engagement to support marginalized communities in having increasingly more meaningful and involved participation in community food programming;
- Develop a project (pilot) based on community collaborations rooted in existing community programs;
- Connect community members to existing food-based programming and local food access points and create opportunities to connect with community knowledge sharing;
- Foster community leadership that meets leaders where they are at;
- Nurture community connections through food.
This project was guided by eight Food Literacy Ambassadors who co-facilitated the program alongside coordinators Zinnia and Shereen. The Food Literacy Ambassadors were community members who were recruited for their lived experience with the emergency food system and their expertise and awareness of community food security.
Our team facilitated community dialogues and reflected upon food literacy and food access programs in the Capital Region. Conversation and reflection tended to focus around the following key issue areas: food service operations and accessibility, quality and choice, equity and inclusive food environments, information sharing and educational programs, and food access. Our findings in these areas are described below.
In delivering this pilot project, we also learned important lessons about coordinating projects of this nature. These lessons will be important to consider in developing future food engagement initiatives with diverse community members. Our lessons learned in coordinating this pilot are also described below, as successes and challenges.
Both the DCC and LifeCycles are excited to continue to deepen our efforts in supporting this project’s goals. Some preliminary next steps and future goals are listed at the end of the report.