Originally launched in 2014, the NLCC is designed to inspire and support innovative, collaborative approaches that will lead to positive, systemic and sustainable change in our city. Since then, the OCF has granted more than a million dollars to support two critical issues in our community: food security and youth employment.
In the first and second year of the program, the NLCC asked for bold and feasible ideas to address food security.
In 2014, the winner of the challenge was MarketMobile, an initiative developed by the Poverty and Hunger Working Group (PHWG), a coalition of various community organizations, Ottawa Public Health and community members. MarketMobile is a grocery store on wheels that provides access to fresh affordable fruits and vegetables to low-income communities in Ottawa.
Based on the success of a pilot which used an OC Transpo bus lined with temporary shelves, MarketMobile was awarded NLCC funding. It was used – in part – to purchase a retrofitted trailer that now operates year round, visiting 10 Ottawa neighbourhoods weekly to sell fresh produce to residents. Through a partnership with Loblaws and Cibo food, an Ottawa wholesaler, MarketMobile carries a selection of over 30 different items each week and sells them at prices 40% lower than retail stores.
In 2015, the winner of the NLCC was the Deep Roots Food Hub, a passionate West Carleton not-for-profit that connects small-scale farmers, families and local food and works to create a secure, sustainable food system in West Carleton. Just a few generations ago, West Carleton was a self-sufficient community when it came to food, yet today – like most Ottawa communities – its population is dependent on major retail chains for the bulk of its food supply.
In order to reconnect with its historic self-sufficiency in food and local farming, Deep Roots is establishing a community root cellar in West Carleton where local, small-scale farmers can rent space to store their crops. The root cellar will also enable small-scale farmers to distribute their crops throughout the year.
Deep Roots is also working to make more locally grown, healthy food options available through West Carleton retail stores and restaurants, as well as conducting educational and outreach activities teaching gardening and small-scale farming, healthy cooking, canning and preserving, and other vital skills and expertise.
MarketMobile and the Deep Roots Food Hub are only two of the many organizations in Ottawa taking action to promote access to healthier food and food security in Ottawa.
If you would like to take action on food related issues, either by volunteering, donating or partnering to provide opportunities to make local healthy and affordable food accessible to everyone, please get in touch. We can help connect you to some passionate and very capable people who are making a difference here in Ottawa!
For more information:
Director, Grants and Community Knowledge
Ottawa Community Foundation
613-236-1616 ext. 222