As emergency demand for food access surges, a new report looks at how the city and organizations can address the issue systemically.
CALGARY, AB - As Canada reports record inflation that is dramatically affecting the price of food, the YYC Food Security Fund is releasing a new report entitled “The Right to Eat Right: Connecting Upstream and Downstream Food Security in Calgary”. The report was produced in partnership with the Institute for Community Prosperity at Mount Royal University and examines both upstream and downstream factors contributing to food insecurity in Calgary. It also details contemporary food trends, examines the food production and distribution ecosystem in Alberta and evaluates and details key learnings from the fund’s Food Hub pilot project as a means of addressing local food production and supply chain issues that contribute to food insecurity in the region.
“The study highlights the insights we’ve gathered through the process of putting together the YYC Food Security’s Fund’s Food Hub pilot project,” says YYC Food Security Fund founder and Calgary-based philanthropist Zai Mamdani. “By focusing on local solutions that take a dignity-based approach, we believe that we can strengthen the entire local food production and consumption system, rather than just continuing to fund existing emergency food access organizations that really only look at half of the equation.”
According to Vital Signs 2020, 33% of Calgarians struggle to afford basics like rent, utilities, and groceries, and 17% often or always struggle. And while most discussions about food security focus on downstream aspects, including retail food sales, food charity, household access and consumption, the YYC Food Security Fund, housed at the Place2Give Foundation, was founded on the belief that a holistic approach that includes upstream aspects, such as local food production, processing, transportation and distribution will result in better solutions to food security that strengthen the system as a whole and generate an economic benefit that buoys local food systems.
Conducting research for this report provided valuable insights to the Institute for Community Prosperity. James Stauch, Director of the institute says, “Working with the YYC Food Security Fund helped provide a window for learning about food security at a systems level to Mount Royal University students. It's a topic many students are interested in, partly because so many experience food insecurity themselves. It's also a great example of community-partnered learning.”
The report was jointly researched and authored by Stauch and Cordelia Snowdon, Changemaking and Community Research Strategist at the institute, a recent MRU graduate and former Catamount Fellow.
The ideas and recommendations put forward in the report offer a blueprint for creating a supportive ecosystem for food hubs. The recommendations include increasing public education, municipal and provincial government action, and increasing engagement with the civil voice.
Click here to read or download the full report.
Click here to read or download the executive summary.
For more information please visit yycfoodsecurity.com.
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YYC Food Security Fund
The YYC Food Security Fund is a charitable initiative founded by Calgary-based philanthropist Zai Mamdani. It is rooted in the beliefs that there are better, more holistic ways of ensuring equitable food access in Calgary and surrounding communities and that everyone deserves to Dine with DignityTM. Using the venture philanthropy model, the fund works with local experts, charities, not-for-profit organizations, philanthropists, activists, and regional food producers to create and fund pilot projects that take an integrated and dignity-based approach to addressing issues of food security.
The Institute for Community Prosperity
The Institute for Community Prosperity connects students with social impact learning through applied, community-partnered research, creative knowledge mobilization, and systems-focused education. The Institute is interested in big questions about how we invest in social purpose or the common good in the 21st century. www.mtroyal.ca/nonprofit/InstituteforCommunityProsperity/