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Food Security Innovation Challenge

Priority Area: Food Action

Dates: Nov 2020 - Apr 2021

Status: Completed

In November 2020, the Halifax Innovation District and Davis Pier launched the Food Security Innovation challenge for community members and organizations interested in developing and testing new ideas to address food insecurity in Halifax. This included, but was not limited to, restaurants, farmers' markets, schools, food banks, cultural centres, student groups, and community organizations.

This was the first pilot project of the Halifax Innovation Outpost’s Social Innovation priority which aims to address a key social challenge in alignment with the municipality’s poverty reduction strategy, as well as community plans and initiatives.

More than 50 submissions were received from organizations and individuals, all focused on increasing access to healthy food as a way to improve well-being and resilience and create lasting change in Halifax’s food system.

Four organizations were selected during the challenge to participate in the Food Security Innovation Initiative from January until April 2021 to design, develop, and test their ideas with support from Davis Pier and the Halifax Innovation Outpost. Ideas were selected based on their potential impact, established connections, and the participation of underrepresented groups in developing solutions for their communities.

Challenge Winners: 

  1. Mealful: Mealful is a start-up business focused on providing affordable meal services to students while creating business opportunities for restaurants. They aimed to develop and test a prototype of their service. 
  2. Akoma: Community gardens play an important role in connecting food security, history, culture, self-sufficiency, and active living for Black communities in the Preston Area.  Akoma aimed to form a community network to grow its community garden program.
  3. Hope Blooms: Hope Blooms has a vision of transforming its produce box program into a vibrant, empowering, and equitable community food program with the development of a digital currency and payment system. 
  4. Mobile Food Market & Partners: JustFOOD, Mobile Food Market, Farmers Markets NS, and Nourish NS have come together to develop a draft concept of a Local Food Hub to share with potential stakeholders to bring diverse interests to the tables, continue the conversation, and plan for next steps. The goal of the Local Food Hub is to strengthen our food system through purchasing, storing, and distributing local food to regional organizations, public institutions (such as schools), restaurants, and other food providers.