Community Development

Funding level: $50,000 to $100,000


Help us create a good food oasis in Dartmouth North! In a community where 93% of those surveyed said they struggle to eat just one healthy meal a day, our Good Food Market & Café has the power to change lives. With the Aviva Community Fund's help, we can take this brand new idea even further.

Together we can:
• increase access to low-cost, fresh, local produce at our Good Food Market;
• create weekly opportunities to introduce new foods and meal options with demonstrations and hands-on learning;
• offer a variety of free, healthy snacks at our Good Food Café such as quinoa and other salads, quiche, hummus and pita chips and much more;
• provide a welcoming and dignified space for the community to gather, meet neighbours, and make friends, reducing social isolation and improving overall wellbeing;
• support emerging volunteer leaders in Dartmouth North by giving them tools, training and support to assist in delivering this vital community program; and
• capture this story as it unfolds so others across the country can share in what we’ve learned and experienced.

With the Aviva Community Fund’s help, the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre can do all this – and more. Under the leadership of the Dartmouth Family Centre, we opened our doors one year ago in response to the food insecurity being experienced in Dartmouth North, a community of 13,000 people, many of whom are single-parent families and seniors living on low incomes.

During our food centre community engagement process, 75% of residents surveyed said creating a low-cost produce market was a priority. In September 2015, we became the first Community Food Centre in Canada to launch a market and café run by, and for, the community. The initial impact has been incredible. The market distributed more than 25,000 lbs of produce in its first nine months. Quotes from our first survey include: “It allows me to eat better, every day.” “I eat a whole lot more fruit and vegetables.” "It allows people an opportunity to meet other people…it’s like a little sanctuary.” “I’d be lost if this place was ever gone.”

Our Aviva grant would support and build on our early success, allowing our small staff and robust group of volunteers to run the market - purchasing fresh, local produce every week and selling it at cost. The funding would facilitate bringing the community together around healthy nutritious snacks in a welcoming and friendly atmosphere and would allow us to add important new program features, focused on long-term food skills and healthier eating, as requested by the community.

More food demonstrations that show residents how to use a variety of vegetables and prepare recipes with a high protein option, like quinoa, are in high demand. Funding would allow us to pay for staff, volunteer honouraria, and equipment for these demonstrations.

Funding would also allow us to support and recognize the role that our volunteer Market Leaders are playing in the vision and implementation of this work. Every week, these skilled community residents, many of whom are food insecure, mobilize other volunteers, pick up and unload produce, package it into smaller portions, price it, and help sell it at the market. At the same time, another group of volunteers prepares the snacks for our Café. Funding would allow us to provide training opportunities for these groups of volunteers in areas like food safety, mental health first aid and other capacity-building workshops. It would also allow us to purchase shirts and aprons for the group and offer a small honorarium for their contribution.

Finally, we would partner with a well-known, local filmmaker who has produced countless videos for us on a pro bono basis. Our shared dream is a documentary, premiering in our own kitchen, demonstrating the impact that this resident-led Good Food Market & Café is having on individuals and families in Dartmouth North. We hope you’ll support our Market for Change!

Broker supported

Dartmouth North Community Food Centre

Location: Dartmouth

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