To develop a Community Emergency Food Security Plan (CEFSP) to address the emergency food security needs of vulnerable populations in Thunder Bay during any future emergencies/crises.
In early 2020, emergency food security providers and other community organizations deployed quick and effective food-based support to vulnerable populations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic in Thunder Bay. Organizations and programs responded quickly and worked overtime to ensure that community members’ basic food needs were met.
Now that the initial crisis phase has slowed, we want to take a closer look at the emergency food system in place to determine best practices, gaps and lessons learned, and inform a collaborative community food response to strengthen emergency food support during future crises.
The CEFSP is being developed by the TBAFS, in partnership with the City of Thunder Bay’s Crime Prevention Council, and led by a Project Team and ten-person Advisory Committee made up of representatives from various sectors across the community. This project is funded by the Thunder Bay Community Foundation and United Way of Thunder Bay, through the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund.
The TBAFS Project Team is seeking to engage and collaborate with community food service providers and local businesses from relevant agencies and sectors, as well as food service recipients, to collaboratively develop a unified vision and plan for future emergency food responses.*
The information collected through surveys and interviews will help to identify how food insecurity and access was addressed in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what adaptations have been made since to determine best practices, gaps, lessons learned, and inform a collaborative food response for future emergencies. This information will support:
Evidence-based decision making for food security and access in future emergencies;
Building and strengthening of partnerships across sectors; and,
The creation of a formalized, yet flexible, community emergency food security plan to implement in any future crises.
*As poverty is the root cause of food insecurity, we know that longer-term anti-poverty measures are critical to reducing food insecurity in our community. We hope that the contributions to this plan will help inform longer-term strategies to reduce poverty and thus food insecurity; however, the primary purpose of this plan is to address future emergencies/short-term crises.
CEFSP Development Process
There are several phases for the development of the CEFSP. Community participation is key in the success of the CEFSP and plays a key role across phases:
Community Engagement & Information Collection (October – December 2020)
Development of a Draft Plan (early 2021)
Sharing Plan with Community Participants for Feedback (early 2021)
Ratification of the CEFSP & Ongoing Collaboration (2021 and beyond)
The finalized CEFSP will include the local data results from the community engagement phase , as well as actions for emergency food support. This plan will be posted under the Food Access pillar of the TBAFS website [http://tbfoodstrategy.ca/pillars/food-access/] for public viewing and open access.
This plan will only be as effective as the communication and collaboration among stakeholders. There is a vested interest in the TBAFS sharing the plan widely throughout the community, especially with those who have a role to play in its adoption and implementation.
Project Team & Advisory Committee
We greatly appreciate your time and consideration of this important process. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions, concerns, or ideas about how to make the CEFSP a more effective tool for our community!
TBAFS Project Team/Contacts
Karen Kerk, TBAFS Coordinator & Project Coordinator
Courtney Strutt, Research & Project Development
CEFSP Advisory Committee
Roohi Bedi, Youth Program Coordinator, Thunder Bay Multicultural Association
Jodi Belluz, Manager, Belluz Farms & Superior Seasons Farms Market
Lee-Ann Chevrette, Coordinator, Crime Prevention Council, City of Thunder Bay
Ivan Ho, Public Health Nutritionist, Thunder Bay District Health Unit
Kathryn Hughes, Executive Director, Our Kids Count
Michelle Kolobutin, Harm Reduction Coordinator & Health Promoter, Norwest Community Health Centre
Charles Levkoe, Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Food Systems, Lakehead University
Michelle McGuire, Community Capacity Coordinator, Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA)
Jessica McLaughlin, Coordinator, Indigenous Food Circle
Michael Quibell, Executive Director, Dew Drop Inn