Community Liaison | Blog
Collaborating for Change
Thoughts On Collective Impact in the Food Insecurity Sector
All Calgary Food Bank operations and activities are underlined by our strategic priorities: Feed, Lead, Connect. These three priorities speak to our focus on fighting hunger now, our role as a catalyst in inspiring, engaging, and empowering community, as well as working to strengthen our network to address root causes of food insecurity.
The ‘Connect’ priority refers to the work that we do with our partner organizations to tackle root causes of food insecurity. Food insecurity is a complex social problem that no organization or individual can solve alone. We know that food banks are not a solution to food insecurity, but through sharing data and building community partnerships, we can help paint the picture about how we, as Calgary’s social sector, can effectively tackle food insecurity. We say help paint a picture because we all have a role to play painting a future without food insecurity.
By integrating community services
we build the collective impact and capacity of our network.
At the Calgary Food Bank, we have quantitative data to tell stories. Our partners have their unique data sets, and people experiencing food insecurity have lived experiences of accessing the systems set up to provide food and tackle root causes of food insecurity. Only they can tell us, the sector, what is working and what is not. Organizations operating food programs understand the gaps that exist in the system and can amplify the voices who experience first-hand, the impact that food insecurity has. Between us, we have a colorful palette to start painting together.
In 2021 three major reports were released: Connecting Upstream and Downstream Approaches to Food Security in Calgary by the Institute for Community Prosperity, Examining Calgary’s Emergency Food Assistance System by Enough for All, and COVID-19 Impact on the Calgary Food Bank by the Calgary Food Bank. They documented the impact of COVID-19 on food insecurity and the successes and failures of how people get food in Calgary. Yet all these reports are viewed and digested in isolation – imagine if we had sat down to create one comprehensive report. If we had collectively integrated our findings and research methods, and we have coordinated our recommendations to produce a cohesive action plan for the sector.
It is our responsibility as a community to collectively
select our paint color, coordinate our brushstrokes, and paint together
with the intention of influencing decision makers.
We will use ‘Spill the Beans’, our partner network newsletter, as an opportunity to showcase the events, programs, research, and projects that organizations across the network have underway. Only through collaboration and continuous learning can we catalyze action on the decisions and measures that will address food insecurity and its root causes. If you have something that you’d like to distribute to increase transparency and collaboration for the food insecurity sector, please email Laura Harrisson at firstname.lastname@example.org