What is the Northern Food Distribution Network?
In the fall of 2016, the Greenbelt Fund and local food leaders working in food distribution from across the North started to gather to develop a strategy to address distribution challenges and collaborate on improving the efficiency, resilience and accessibility of northern Ontario food value chains. After extensive consultation, the creation of the Northern Food Distribution Network (NFDN) was established. The initial year of meetings allowed the group to bring together more people involved in improving Northern food distribution and to start looking at what strategies would address the key challenges.
To formalize the structure of the network and through a re-alignment of our existing partnership with Local Food and Farm Co-ops (LFFC), LFFC assumed the leadership role of the NFDN with the Greenbelt Fund providing financial and intellectual support as a Committee Member.
The result was two in-person workshops held in Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie in June 2018 that brought together more than 60 key stakeholders across the North to develop a 2019-2020 Action Plan to address the key food distribution challenges. The purpose of the action plan is to plot out the projects and activities that were identified and prioritized through the in-person consultations and follow-up discussions of the steering committee. Following the consultations, feasibility assessment meetings were held to review the top prioritized projects. Of these 8 projects, 6 were selected to execute based on criteria of scope, capacity and alignment of the project with the goals of the NFDN. Read the workshop summaries and final report.
The NFDN then developed a governance and planning document to outline the NFDN Terms of Reference of the network, with the overarching objective to continue to work in collaboration with communities across northern Ontario to improve the efficiency, resilience and accessibility of northern Ontario food value chains.
As an unincorporated network that brings together leaders and food system actors across northern Ontario, representing the cultural and geographic diversity of this region, the NFDN plans to continue to work together on identified actions and projects to improve the conditions of food distribution in Northern Ontario.
For more information and to become a Community Advisor and/or a Collaborative Committee Member in the NFDN, please visit northernfooddistribution.blogspot.com