Case Study: CR Fair

Kalpesh Sharma

The primary and the foremost social issue that CRFAIR addresses is to provide a dignified access to healthy and nutritious food to the low-income families of Capital Region. It also aims on creating a centralized food hub location with a better capacity to store and deliver food in different neighbourhoods that can be easily accessed by the low-income families so that they don’t have to go far distances looking for low priced food and related products.

Most of the low-income families in Capital Region do not have a proper access to healthy and nutritious food. Food is the major need for survival, and thus CRFAIR took an initiative in addressing this issue in order to help the vulnerable population of the Capital Region.

Organization Details

Organization Name CR Fair
Student Position Co-op Student
Organization Purpose Social Vision, Food initiative, Good Food Project
Website
 http://www.crfair.ca/ 

The main issue that led to the formation of CRFAIR was to promote security in the Capital Region. It wanted to bring together people from different cultural backgrounds so that they could add their cultural values in order to achieve one common goal of educating people about food systems and food security.


Funding

Initially CRFAIR was core funded by Island Health to act as the Capital Region Food Security Hub; and to contract with local government to undertake engagement activities, research and policy development related to local food systems. Partnerships were solidified with the University of Victoria and the Vancouver Island Research Alliance to bring additional capacity to its work. Along with the different municipalities of Capital Region, it is also teamed up with various organizations such as Vancity, Real Estate Foundation, Rotary Club, LifeCycles, Food Share Network, etc.

Most of the funds are provided by different organizations, Island Health being the major one. They also conduct fund raising activities. Another way of raising funds is by accepting grants, donations, and contributions from different public and private organizations.


People

Linda Geggie – She is the founder and current board member of LifeCycles, a community based organization developed in 1994 to cultivate awareness and initiate action around food, health and urban sustainability. She is also a board member and Food Policy Working Group member with the BC Food Systems Network.

As Coordinator, Linda Geggie works on behalf of 30 food and farm organizations to facilitate education, information sharing and collaborative work in the region. CRFAIR has led food policy and planning with municipal governments, and the Capital Regional District, including the creation of a Regional Food Charter and the first steps towards creating a Regional Food Strategy.

Linda holds a position as ED of CRFair

Aaren Topley – Aaren Topley has a degree in Recreation and Health Education from UVIC. He first got into the field of local food systems development as a Community Kitchen Coordinator with the James Bay Community Project. He has been trained through the Canadian Diabetes Association to facilitate their community kitchen model ‘Food Skills for Families,’ and he has developed a food education project with the Victoria Youth Clinic that addressed issues of food insecurity amongst at-risk youths.

Aaren first got involved in CRFAIR three years ago conducting a joint research project with CRFAIR and UVIC looking at the many facets present within food literacy in the Capital Regional District.

Aaren holds a position as Coordinator to CRFair.

Motivation

The main issue that led to the formation of CRFAIR was to promote security in the Capital Region. It wanted to bring together people from different cultural backgrounds so that they could add their cultural values in order to achieve one common goal of educating people about food systems and food security.

The idea of providing education about food systems, food security, and to develop a healthy and sustainable food systems led to the foundation of Food Access Working Group, the Food Policy Working Group, the Farmlands Working Group, and the Food Literacy Working Group.

The mission of CRFAIR is to Mobilize and connect efforts to develop a healthy and sustainable food system in the Capital Region. Its vision is to make Capital Region a place where local, sustainable and healthy food is celebrated, abundant and central to the culture, health and well-being of all residents.

CRFAIR’s services as the region’s backbone organization for building a stronger regional food system include:

  1. Development of shared outcomes and measures
  2. Mobilization of resources
  3. Engagement of diverse actors in planning, policy development and action projects
  4. Communications and knowledge mobilization
  5. Participatory action research

 

Cross Sector Collaboration

Government is a key stakeholder in all of CRFAIR’s work. In order to increase food literacy and food access a cross sector of stakeholders are required. CRFAIR works with municipal governments and regional governments (CRD) to move forward supportive policy, funding and resource sharing, for example, the City of Victoria may support an inventory mapping process around land access.

CRFAIR works with an expansive amount of non-profits in the region. Below is the list of the key members of Community Food Hub Steering Committee.

  • Brenda Bolton: She is the coordinator of Food Share Network, an organization that is an innovative umbrella that enhances food security in the Capital Region through collaboration and cooperation among food banks, community centres, donors and other participating organizations (CRFAIR being the one among them).
  • Maurita Prato, Director and Education Coordinator, Lifecycles Project Society. It coordinates with CRFAIR in addressing the issue of urban sustainability and food security by offering practical, accessible and hopeful solutions. In addition, they also support people in gaining the knowledge, skills and resources needed to access, grow and preserve local food in ways that foster biodiversity and enhance our urban environment.
  • Danielle Stevenson, Coalition of Neighourhood Houses. The Coalition of Neighbourhood Houses (henceforth “the Coalition” or “NH’s”) is a group of eight non-profit community-based organizations that are committed to healthy children, youth families and individuals. Their geographical range of service includes Sooke, Saanich, the Peninsula, West Shore, Victoria and Esquimalt. It works with CRFAIR to address many issues – every neighbourhood houses’ needs and priorities, finding a feasible community kitchen space to help the people collaborate, and share food and the knowledge related with it, etc. Also, provides

 

CRFAIR has already collaborated with many community neighbourhood houses and non-profit organizations to achieve a common goal. It can also try to collaborate with the whole population of Capital Region, bringing them together to help the vulnerable population of Capital Region. CRFAIR can take the help of volunteers and roll out a survey, which has to be filled by people residing in the four major municipalities – City of Victoria, Township of Esquimalt, District of Saanich and Oak Bay. The survey questionnaire should have the questions related to food literacy, food access and food economy. By doing this it can educate the population of Capital Region about the issues and problems related to food access and can also seek their help in addressing the issues and problems.

 

 

Challenges

Logistics of how all the moving parts work together

Supports needed:

  • Working with community partners
  • FoodShare Network
  • Fernwood NRG
  • Implementing a sliding scale Good Food Box Program with rescued food

Opportunities

The key opportunities are:

  • Create a dignified way for people to access food
  • Reduce the amount of food being wasted in our region

Impact

Metrics for social enterprise are still being discussed among the Community Food Hub Steering Committee. In general we will be developing metrics for food literacy – on an individual and community base, food access – from this distribution to the accessibility of local fresh food, the local food economy – how are we increase jobs and redirecting the economy to focus more on locally source products rather than imports, and finally, food security – is everyone in the region having their basic needs met when it comes to food access.


Governance

CRFAIR is governed by its board members. Most of the plans and agendas are discussed between Linda G., the coordinator of CRFAIR, who is assisted by Aaren T., Food Literacy and Capital Region Farm to School Hub Animator. They present the ideas or initiatives to the board members, and upon their approval, they roll out the plan. They also work closely with many other non-profit organizations.

 

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