Food and Social Connectivity Report

The Centre Wellington Social Justice Group is developing a food & social connectivity strategy to reduce food insecurity and increase social cohesion in our community.

The purpose of this strategy is increase the number of Centre Wellington residents who have physical and economic access to adequate amounts of nutritious, safe and culturally acceptable food in a socially just manner, and that people are able to make informed decisions about their food choices.

In addition, we know that food is often associated with social gatherings and we have included social connectivity to understand how these two are working in the region and how we can build social connectivity while increasing food security.

Our Centre Wellington Food & Social Connectivity Report presents results from a food and social connectivity community scan commissioned by the Centre Wellington Social Justice Group.

The community scan was designed to provide a listing of local food and social connectivity initiatives, as well as a review of the literature. Building on the local work and best practices, the report makes tangible recommendations on how to increase food security and connectivity for Centre Wellington residents.

Next steps

With just over a full year of experience with the Women’s Community Lunch program (previously known as “Ladies Who Lunch”), and with our Centre Wellington Food & Social Connectivity Report to guide us, we are making plans for our next projects.

We intend to continue to operate the weekly women’s program, and are looking for funding and partners to expand in different ways. Over the course of two years, we want to launch three new meal-centred programs, with goals similar to the goals for the women’s lunch program:

(1) a weekly gathering for men (with a focus on specifically including men who are socially isolated and are precariously housed);
(2) a weekly gathering for working-age men and women who have one of two characteristics: either they are unemployed or underemployed, or they are employed and willing to provide mentoring to others to gain access to the labour market and maintain employment; and
(3) a weekly gathering for youth in the community after school (3-6 pm).

For the women’s program, we have already received generous support from a variety of sources:
• St. James Anglican Church, Fergus
• Centre Wellington Food Bank
• St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Fergus
• Saint Vincent de Paul Society of Fergus
• Knights of Columbus, Fergus
• St. Joseph’s Catholic Women’s League
• Anglican Diocese of Niagara Hands Across Niagara grant program.

If you – or an organization you are affiliated with – would like to know more about the women’s program to support it, or any of the new programs, please let us know: [email protected].