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Food Security Innovation Initiative

Priority Area: Food Action

Dates: Jan 2021 - Apr 2021

Status: Completed

NEW WAYS TO IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY

Despite strong economic growth, Halifax is one of the most food-insecure cities in Canada, with 1 in 6 households not having access to nutritious, affordable food. Access to healthy food impacts people’s wellbeing, a community’s resilience, and the health of our economy and environment. We are striving for a food system in Halifax that provides adequate, healthy, safe, affordable, and sustainable food to residents as a basic human right.

Through the Food Security Innovation Initiative we brought individuals and organizations together to explore new ideas and ways of addressing food insecurity in our communities. 

The Halifax Innovation District and Davis Pier Consulting, in partnership with the Halifax Regional Municipality, worked with startups and community organizations to prototype and test their ideas.

About the Initiative

This pilot project aimed to: 

  • Support participants in connecting with mentors and like-minded people
  • Develop participants’ capacity and skills to experiment with new ideas
  • Work as a cohort to develop, experiment, and test ideas, concepts, and models with communities
  • Help participants develop tangible, viable, and sustainable solutions

Over 50 individuals and organizations responded to the Food Security Innovation Challenge's call for ideas in November 2020. Four community organizations were invited to participate in the pilot project from January-April 2021.

The following organizations presented a unique connection to their community, focus on a specific topic or idea to improve Halifax's food system, and showed strong potential and ability to develop and implement their ideas. Learn more about the organizations and their projects.

Food Innovation Collaboration

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. The Food Security Innovation team supported Akoma in planning and facilitating a discussion with nine community initiatives working towards similar goals and forming a network to continue partnerships and collaboration.

"With the support of the Food Security Innovation Initiative, we were able to bring a group of community gardeners, many from the local African Nova Scotian communities, together to share current initiatives, learn from challenges, and develop new ideas. The folks from Davis Pier were great to work with and their facilitating skills greatly enhanced our forum. We look forward to the ongoing outcome as a result of this work." - Veronica Marsman


Hope Blooms

Hope Blooms has a vision of transforming their produce box program into a vibrant, empowering, and equitable community food program. The Food Security Innovation team helped Hope Blooms develop a prototype for a digital currency and payment system that will enable participants in their community food program to shop and pay using their phones.

Mealful

Mealful is a start-up business focused on providing affordable meal services to students while creating business opportunities for restaurants. Participating in this initiative has provided Mealful with the resources and additional skills to test a prototype of their service, develop their business operations, and learn about students’ food security challenges.

“Mealful aims to provide high-quality hot and fresh restaurant-cooked food daily in a meal plan style subscription to create an all in one solution to food.” - Shivam Mahajan, CEO of Mealful

Mobile Food Market

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. The Food Security Innovation team supported the partners in creating a shared vision, goals, and concept for further development.

Get Involved

Learn more about Food Action challenges and projects and ways you can get involved and support initiatives. 

Partners

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