Giving everyone a seat at the table
About this project
The deployment of the CIP in Verdun revolves around the “Giving everyone a roof and a seat at the table” project. As its name indicates, this initiative focuses on two important issues in light of the neighbourhood’s gentrification: food security and access to adequate housing for everyone. The goal is to help the most vulnerable people stay in the neighbourhood.
Specifically, the Verdun community wants to create a comprehensive food system that meets the diverse needs of people living with food insecurity and provide sufficient social housing.
Towards a comprehensive food system
At the end of 2017, food stakeholders began thinking about creating a comprehensive local food system with the idea of enhancing the current system to improve how people living with food insecurity can access food. Through this reflection process, they identified the components of the system they wanted to emphasize:
- Food processing.
- Healthy eating education.
- The provision of food products, particularly through the creation of a local supply chain.
- Food aid, for example, through a neighbourhood “food space” as a solution to the lack of food aid services in the territory.
In 2019, Verdun stakeholders deepened their reflections on how to create a neighbourhood food space. The neighbourhood also launched a pilot project for a short food supply chain, which involves collecting unsold food items from stores and then sorting, processing and redistributing them. Eventually, the neighbourhood food space will be the hub for this short food supply chain. Food collected from stores will be sorted there and then redistributed to citizens through a new food aid service.
The neighbourhood food space comes to life
A community grocery store, a food storage and sorting facility, along with a friendly, café-style reception area is what stakeholders have in mind for Verdun’s food space, which should be operational in 2020. Led by the Verdun food system (SAV) committee, a brainstorming session was held with 14 agencies from the neighbourhood. Two meetings on the “future” of the sanctuary and basement of the Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs Church suggest that this site could be a good one for the neighbourhood food space.
Photo: Maison de l’environnement de Verdun
The short food supply chain gets a pilot project
After the 2018 study of neighbourhood food stores by the Maison de l’environnement de Verdun, several businesses showed interest in donating unsold products to food security agencies. Neighbourhood agencies decided to seize this opportunity and perform concrete tests of a short food collection and distribution chain. The project would help supply food security agencies, improve the food items given out to vulnerable people, and combat food waste.
The short food supply chain was implemented in July 2019. Three stores and four agencies were involved in the project. Each week, about 1,000 litres of food were recovered, and three processing workshops were held with an average of six people per workshop. The frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption increased. The activities were attended by 166 people. An average of 135 people benefited each week from the food processed through the short supply chain.
A story of impact
At the Grand Rendez-vous for CIP stakeholders held on November 4, 2020, Verdun representatives expressed how renewed collective action between agencies working in food security has led to concrete impacts.
This is proof that the food component of the Giving Everyone a Seat at the Table project is bearing fruit in terms of food access for disadvantaged people!
Discover more in this video (in french only)
Photo below: Casa CAFI – Centre d’Aide aux Familles Immigrantes
The two systems of housing and food are intimately linked, as the cost of housing has a direct impact on how much food people can buy.