Vision and History


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Our vision is a province, country, and world with healthy, just, and sustainable food for all

We want everyone to have access to enough affordable, healthy, and culturally appropriate food; and we want that food to be produced in socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable ways. We want healthy, vibrant communities that are socially just and self-reliant, in Nova Scotia and beyond.

Everything we do at FoodARC is about creating the conditions for food security through social change and policy change. We engage communities by fostering meaningful relationships, sharing knowledge that builds greater understanding and capacity, and creating new practices that bring about change. We are leaders in the field of participatory action research (PAR), food security research, and food policy, and our work inspires and informs change at government, community, and university levels. Our research supports the development of appropriate and effective policies because we combine people’s lived experiences with other types of knowledge and ways of knowing, and then critically reflect on what it tells us about how to solve the complex problems of food security. FoodARC plays a key role in the growth and success of food security work in Nova Scotia and Canada. 

We are “research inspiring change.”


In 2001, the persistence and injustice of food insecurity in Nova Scotia catalyzed a partnership among the Nova Scotia Nutrition Coun­cil, the Atlantic Health Promotion Research Centre, and Nova Scotia Family Resource Centres and Projects, resulting in the Nova Scotia Participatory Food Costing Projects.

In 2006, the collaboration expanded to launch the Nova Scotia Food Security Network and additional participatory research projects and activities.

One year later, Dr. Patty Williams was awarded a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Food Security and Policy Change and founded the Participatory Action Research and Training Centre on Food Security (PARTC-FS) at Mount Saint Vincent. The work continued to advance in 2010 with the beginning of a 5-year Community-University Research Alliance (CURA): Activating Change Together for Community Food Security.

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FoodARC (Food Action Research Centre) emerged in 2012 to replace the Participatory Action Research and Training Centre on Food Security as the latest step in the evolution of many deep, cross-sectoral relationships and significant research activities working to better understand and build food security in Nova Scotia and beyond.

FoodARC wants to continue to work with local, regional, national and international partners to strengthen relationships, share resources and knowledge, and work together across disciplines as a network of activists and researchers to create social justice, healthy, and vibrant communities.