Community food resilience

North York Harvest Food Bank’s (NYHFB) mission includes providing dignified food assistance while working towards long-term food solutions. Since 2018, Groundswell has been supporting them to reimagine food banking that leads to a more just food system and builds community resilience. Starting with the organization itself, we helped build an internal business case towards establishing a purchasing, warehousing and delivery social enterprise that leverages the organization’s core capabilities. Their social enterprise offers other social service organizations reliable and cost-effective access to quality food through collective purchasing and is working towards service delivery partnerships with large-scale institutions. This initiative intervenes into the for-profit food system through an alternative supply chain with social purpose outcomes. 

Groundswell is currently supporting NYHFB to innovate food security solutions through exploring supermarket-style approaches and leveraging public infrastructure, specifically public libraries, to create community food spaces with food bank access with outcomes of building sustainable livelihoods for individuals, households and communities. This work includes supporting NYHFB to document and further develop adaptations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings will inform NYHFB ongoing operations and will be used to recommend community resilience and food justice perspectives to the City of Toronto.

North York Harvest has always had a positive experience working with Groundswell. They are able to provide us with expertise in areas that as a non profit we are not able to develop internally very easily or quickly. Knowledge base in business development, marketing and stakeholder engagement is very well developed and with a great understanding of the context of NFP and food security sectors as well as the political and funding environments.

Sahar Ghafouri
Director of Operations
North York Harvest Food Bank