Meeting the Local Food System Entrepreneurs

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EndPovertyEdmonton’s Road Map action #32 is to “advance the development and stability of local food system providers through access to appropriate business skill training, mentoring, and capital sources.”

EndPovertyEdmonton and the Community University Partnership (CUP) joined forces to talk about it  with food businesses in Edmonton.

To start, we brought together food businesses that address food security, income, and other social issues in our community through

  • creating training and employment opportunities for Edmontonians in low income,

  •  serving new cultural markets,

  • innovating in food delivery and buying, and more.

We found that before we could determine what needed to be done, we needed to know what was happening. In 2018, we held a day of food systems mapping and then came back together to analyze our maps and look at what holds people back.

Some of the issues faced by food businesses include:

  • access to commercial food spaces,

  • need for lower cost facilities and opportunities to test and market products,

  • find ways to share or lower operational costs,

  • lower supply costs of sustainable or unique products (e.g. moose meat, culturally specific produce,)  

  • how to collectively promote social enterprises/socially minded businesses,

  • need for mentorship, connections, and collective learning from and between food enterprises,

  • ways to drive collaboration amongst food enterprises,

  • support for cultural and ethical foods to be in the market, and

  • ways for smaller enterprise to market test products.

We discussed ways that we could work together to meet some of these needs. The top idea identified was to explore sharing resources and facilities. As we started exploring what was available, we realized we needed a way to share the information we were finding more widely.

Fast forward and we’re hosting our first meet-up event on March 6.

We’ve designed the event for people thinking about starting, starting, or running food businesses to meet one another. We’ll also be learning about new facilities being built and opportunities to work with the City of Edmonton’s Food and Agri-Business Diversification Council Initiative.

Leanne Hedberg will set the scene by sharing her experience creating community networks for sustainable food systems and leveraging know-how and resources. Kirsta Franke of the Wild Heart Collective will tell us about the new kitchen and food business incubator The Public, that connects to the 124 Grand Market. Ashley Bouchard will share her work stewarding the development of the new Food4Good Community Centre.  Jocelyn Johnston will talk about emerging opportunities for involvement with the City of Edmonton’s Food and Agri-Business Diversification Council Initiative.

To find out more about this event or register to attend please see the EventBrite listing.