The Foundation launched the Sustainable Food Systems initiative in 2010, building on a long history of funding a variety of innovative food related projects
Initial support was provided to a project which was to become Community Food Centres Canada, and to Local Food Plus. A call for proposals elicited a plethora of proposals attesting to the vibrancy of Canada’s food movement. In response, several more national grants were made and the Regional Value Chain program was created, supporting 15 organizations to assess their regional food systems and then develop and implement market-based interventions to address gaps identified.
The Foundation envisions a food system that links growers and consumers in supply chains that incorporate shared values around sustainability, health, and resilience.
In 2011, a partnership was developed with Food Secure Canada to convene grantees and other food organizations in a learning network. Other notable collaborations included joining the investor’s table of the Conference Board of Canada’s Centre for Food in Canada, developing a national food funders’s group, and working with theMaRS Solutions Lab and Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation & Resilience on a food lab.
The Institutional Food program was launched in 2014 and supports the work of hospitals, long-term care facilities, universities, schools and other institutions that want to serve more healthy, local and sustainable food. The Banking on Change Program, also launched in 2014, supports the transformational work of food banks across Canada by targeting food security at the community level, with a focus on the role of food banks in moving beyond emergency food aid towards an approach that meaningfully integrates healthy food procurement and civic engagement.