Food security lab
About this project
In the West Island, two laboratories have launched to lay solid foundations to help the neighbourhood work better together. The first lab on food security, whose aim is to raise awareness about the territory’s food security issues, mobilized partners during the CIP’s first three years. The second will focus on housing and build on the practices and lessons learned from the first lab.
In summer 2018, West Island stakeholders launched the “Make the Invisible Visible” awareness campaign through a Web platform and with Hidden Hunger / Faim cachée, a short film featuring testimonials from stakeholders who work in this sector, local politicians, and—importantly—people who use food banks and live with food insecurity every day.
Photo: West Island Community Resource Centre
New partnership for more citizen impact
The awareness campaign and new food security network created in part thanks to support from the CIP have given rise to new partnerships between West Island stakeholders, who in turn have developed and implemented a series of mutually supportive projects.
For example, Corbeille de Pain (CDP), an agency that hadn’t had the chance to provide services in the north of the territory before, joined forces with key stakeholders such as the borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro, VertCité, the West Island Mission and the Maison des Jeunes de Pierrefonds to reach people who live in this sector.
Healthy food for residents of À-Ma-Baie
The collaboration between the Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough, VertCité and Corbeille de Pain helped these partners rethink the public market in the À-Ma-Baie neighbourhood to better adapt it to the reality and needs of local residents. A “pay what you can” community grocery store was born that relies on partnerships with local farmers (Jardins Carya) and a large grocery store (Maxi Pierrefonds). Every week of its production, this market helped nearly 100 households eat better with fresh and organic products.
Photo from the Facebook page of Corbeille de Pain
Gardens for young people
Corbeille de Pain also partnered with the Maison des Jeunes de Pierrefonds to create a garden and offer food security workshops to the young people who go to the agency. The agency also launched a pilot project with the West Island Mission food bank to introduce its participants to new nutritious dishes made from products they may not be familiar with.
Photo from the Facebook page of the Maison de Jeunes de Pierrefonds
Collective work continued in 2019 with the goal of getting everyone to work better together to better serve vulnerable populations:
- A report on the awareness campaign was produced and promoted among partners.
- A diagnostic of the West Island food system was done in partnership with the Food Justice and Sustainability team at Dawson College.
- A food literacy guide was produced and will be widely distributed.
- A kit documenting all food security workshops offered by key West Island stakeholders was created.
- A series of discussion and awareness workshops are being developed to accompany the short film “Hidden Hunger / Faim cachée.” These workshops are being adapted to specific audiences, such as children, youth, seniors, private partners, and more.
- A communications plan is in the works to outline the best strategies to promote all of the awareness and information tools developed during this first experimental laboratory.
- A new collective governance model was created to ensure that the lessons learned, tools, and projects from this lab can be sustained over the long term.
The CIP has let us build a solid foundation rooted in mutual trust, support for communal effort, and the development of collective skills.