Strategies for Addressing Food Insecurity

Principle Investigator: Maria Mayan, CUP
Research TeamMaira Quintanilha, Morgan Allen, Bethan Kingsley, Kirstyn Morley, Oleg Lavriv
Partners: Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative, Leftovers Foundation, Fresh Routes
Funding: Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions, Edmonton Community Foundation, Engagement Scholarship Consortium, SSHRC
Duration: 2016-Present

The Grocery Run Program was created to respond to the severe food insecurity experienced by migrant families. Through a partnership between the University of Alberta's ENRICH Research Program (2013-2019) and the Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative, the program was established to connect migrant women with healthy, culturally appropriate food. Using a food rescue model, food that would normally go to waste is collected from local businesses and distributed to families weekly.

In 2018, a partnership with the Leftovers Foundation, Western Canada's largest food rescue charity, allowed us to expand food distribution to other service organizations within Edmonton. What began as a small-scale, emergency food program with four local businesses supporting one organization has now grown into a city-wide food rescue network of 15 business supporting eight service organizations. This work is organized through our community resource coordinator, Morgan Allen, who coordinates the pick-up and distribution of rescued food by volunteers.

Working with the Leftovers Foundation and their off-shoot social enterprise, Fresh Routes, we launched Edmonton's first community mobile food market in late 2019. This year-round, community-driven "grocery store on wheels" provides healthy and affordable foods at below market prices to Edmonton communities in need, focusing on communities with high numbers of low-income or single-parent families, newcomers, students, and seniors. The mobile food market aims to improve access to healthy food by removing physical and financial barriers, while maintaining choice and dignity.

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