Congratulations to the top three project submissions to the 2014 New Leaf Community Challenge. The following are brief summaries of their proposals:

Food Hub – Rolling Out Good Food
Organization(s): Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre; Just Food; Natural Gourmet

This project is collaborative with the goal of developing a value-chain relationship among city wide organizations involved in serving citizens who are food insecure and work with a food wholesale partner to establish a long term social enterprise. This will ensure fresh nutritious food is delivered across various food programs and will coordinate the buying, storage and delivery of these foods.

This proposal involves several food initiatives, community partners and organizations, from school lunch programs to meals on wheels. These various partners identified a need to access food at the volumes they require, without high costs or high human resource needs – the aim is long-term sustainability by positively linking wholesalers with a collaborative group of partners involved in delivering food to the most food insecure people in Ottawa. The goal of reducing costs and enabling long-term sustainability will be achieved through reducing inefficiencies and gaining the saved costs of streamlining distribution.

Organization(s): Rideau-Rockliffe Community Resource Centre and the Poverty and Hunger Working Group

MarketMobile is an initiative developed by the Poverty and Hunger Working Group (PHWG), a coalition of various community organizations, Ottawa Public Health and community members. This project builds on the success of the Good Food Markets, local pop-up markets that sell food at cost in areas with low access to affordable, healthy food. This project was based on alleviating dependencies on food banks, chronic child hunger, and the inability of some families to access fresh food. A key aspect is involving the communities themselves as partners, volunteers and coordinators. This collaborative aspect is educational and brings communities together around food and food security issues.

MarketMobile takes this program further by using wholesalers and partners to bring at-cost food directly into specific low-income communities using a vehicle so that markets can be set up in any community with higher populations of citizens who struggle with access to food. The pilot using a leased OC Transpo bus has proven successful in a limited number of neighbourhoods. The proposal going forward is to buy a trailer and vehicle and outfit it for long-term use. With this grant, Marketmobile would expand to 4 new sites, hire a full-time coordinator, purchase the vehicle and trailer and begin to operate year-round in January 2015.

reFRESH Ottawa
Organization(s): Ottawa Food Bank and Ottawa Community Housing Foundation

The reFRESH Ottawa Program will increase access to food in neighbourhoods with low access by equipping 10 community houses to store and distribute fresh food and increase the amount of fresh and nutritious foods grown and donated year-round through using this grant to expand their capacity. These two main goals will be rolled out in two phases. A coordinator will be hired to identify the priority community houses, coordinate volunteers, set up education programs and manage the project overall. The community houses will then be outfitted with refrigeration units and shelving, other necessary equipment and signage.

Phase two will involve the purchasing of additional equipment for the Food Bank’s rural farming projects and the development of an ongoing community education project around the need to donate fresh foods, and on community growing of fresh food for donation. Throughout phase two a focus will be on ensuring increased delivery of fresh foods to community houses.