Ottawa Just Food

Website:  http://www.justfood.ca/

Est. 2000

Background:

Just Food is formerly known as the Ottawa Food Security Council, an organization that grew out of discussions that took place during the summer of 1999; community members concerned about food security began talks with staff from several departments of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton on the role that local food initiatives can play in a greener, more inclusive city. The Ottawa Food Security Group (OFSG) was created in October of 2000, as a task force to conduct an inventory of food programs in the region. During 2001, the OFSG hosted some food events and engaged in stakeholder consultations; emerging from these discussions was the proposal to form an Ottawa Food Security Council (OFSC). By March of 2003, the Council was endorsed by City Council and was holding its inaugural meeting. The OFSC shifted its focus from policy work to projects development and building partnerships during 2004. In 2006, the OFSC officially changed its name to Just Food.

Membership:

Just Food is a grassroots, non-profit organization that includes staff, volunteers, community partners, members and funders. They seek direction from their broad number of partners and solicit feedback through their steering committees. All members are invited to meet formally once a year. Overall direction comes from the Board, with staff input. There are 6 board members and 6 staff, and its main funders include: City of Ottawa, Trillium Foundation, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and the Canadian Institute of Health Research.

Association with Government:

While all projects are community-based, Just Food is sponsored by the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, who helps subsidize overall infrastructure costs and provide research and project support.

Documents Created:

  • Ottawa Food Action Plan (2012) outlines Action Plan Proposals, which are community solutions based on research, and is a living document. It is intended to inform city-wide policies in Ottawa at the level of the municipality, school boards, businesses, and organizations.

Activities:

  • Coordinates farmer-to-farmer training workshops, delivers gardening workshops; publishes reports and policy recommendations
  • In 2009, Just Food, in collaboration with the City of Ottawa and members of the Community Gardening Network, began the Community Garden Development Fund which is used to start new community gardens and expand/enhance existing gardens within the city
  • Their Food for All Project, was a collaborative, community-based research and action project that took place between from 2009 to 2012.
  • As part of this project, they developed a Community Food Assessment Toolkit to guide community members through conducting research about food issues in their neighbourhood.
  • Created a Buy Local Food Guide Map that lists farms in the region, community gardens, as well as businesses that support local farmers.
  • Just Food hosts CSA training workshops for farmers every winter.
  • They established the Just Food Farm in 2012, which is a community food and sustainable agriculture hub that features programs like the Just Food Start-up Farm Program, and Green Energy Projects.