Cultivating Change: Putting Food First in Nova Scotia
Overview & Purpose
Cultivating Change: Putting Food First in Nova Scotia was an exploratory project that focused on facilitating and strengthening cross-departmental collaborations, to create sustained action and lasting change on food insecurity in Nova Scotia. This project grew out of the Activating Change Together for Community Food Security (ACT for CFS) project, that identified the opportunity to address challenges experienced by small-scale enterprises to supply large institutions with local, healthy, and sustainable food as well the barriers within publicly funded institutions to source said food.
With the help of the Public Health Agency of Canada, the J.W. McConnell Foundation and the Knowledge Sharing Support Award from the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, a collaborative team hosted two events that enabled cross-departmental dialogue and learning about improving access to healthy food in NS’ publicly funded institutions and increasing the ability of producers to meet this need through the right procurement policies and practices. The organizing team consisted of FoodARC, the Ecology Action Centre, the NS Departments of Health and Wellness and Agriculture, the NS Health Authority, New Leaf Social Innovation and others. These events were held at Mount Saint Vincent University and connected over 70 stakeholders from various sectors across Nova Scotia.
1. “Building Self-Reliance” (March 2016): Renowned chef and activist, Joshna Maharaj, was invited
to share her learning and advice in shifting purchasing in local institutions towards healthy, local, and sustainable food. Her presentation was followed by an interactive workshop to help stakeholders examine their own institutions.
2. “Pathways to Healthy, Local and Sustainable Food in our Institutions” (January 2017): This gathering was a follow-up to the first event and focused on procurement of local, healthy, and sustainable food by NS’ publicly funded institutions, also known as “farm to institution programs”. Stakeholders learned from each other’s strategies and challenges and to explore mechanisms for intersectoral collaboration and dialogue around the role of institutional procurement in helping to achieve community food security. The outcome of this gathering was a documentation of success stories, current strategies, and a list of next steps. Check out the Harvest Report for results.