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Community-Based Food Security Organizations

What are they, what do they do and what makes them successful?
New Brunswick Food Security Action Network collage

The last 30 years has witnessed the emergence of many community based food security organizations, from food banks to community food hubs and centres, along with projects including community gardens, food boxes, literacy and cooking programs.

The sector operates at the nexus of income and food based approaches, working to strengthen livelihood assets and build capacity and infrastructure needed to achieve food security for all.

Important case studies have been written, yet no comprehensive analysis of the sector in Canada exists. This project will research, compile and disseminate a comprehensive national review of community-based food security organizations, projects, initiatives and networks, answering these questions:

  • What are the characteristics of community food organizations that effectively provide direct services, and in some cases support the development of social enterprises?
  • How do these organizations support advocacy for the broader social policies needed to enable universal access to food and ensure food security for all?
  • How are food security activities, impacts and outcomes measured?
  • What helps organizations move beyond the pilot phase? Why are some organizations around thirty years after they were created, while others start but are not sustained?
  • What role do successful small projects play that don’t scale up but are successful in providing a needed service?

Photo: New Brunswick Food Security Action Network, external link


McIntyre, L., Jessiman-Perreault, G., Mah, C. L., & Godley, J. (2018). A social network analysis of Canadian food insecurity policy actors. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, 79, 1-7.


University’s Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Food Systems (

Food Secure Canada (

York University’s Food Policy for Canada (

Meal Exchange (https://www.mealexchange.comLakehead)

Updated May 2018


Debbie Field 
Fiona Yeudall PhD
Amanda Jekums
Molly Fremes
Katelin Lasiuk


Project dates

January 2018 - December 2020