Prescott-Russell Community Food Forum
L'ORIGINAL, Ontario, July 12th, 2022 - Stakeholders across Prescott-Russell came together to form the Prescott-Russell Community Food Forum. The Forum held its inaugural meeting on June 14th 2022. The Forum is a collaboration network whose mission is to ensure that everyone has access to the food they need and thus contribute to the general well-being of the population of Prescott-Russell.
During recent sector consultations aimed at addressing food insecurity, cross-sector collaboration emerged as the leading opportunity to improve the sector’s capacity to respond to food crises. The Forum intends to facilitate and coordinate communication, capacity building, and collaboration among the food relief providers and various stakeholders.
Prescott-Russell Community Services (PRCS) and the Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network (EOAN) spearheaded a successful funding effort to obtain emergency food resources and put a Forum coordination resource in place at the EOAN. On one hand, funding was received from Second Harvest, supported by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on behalf of the Government of Canada. Secondly, funding was received from Phase 5 of Ontario’s Social Services Relief Fund which was delivered through the United Counties of Prescott-Russell.
The inaugural meeting of the Forum on June 14th saw the creation of a steering committee led by Forum co-chairs from PRCS and United Way East Ontario, along with the Forum secretary from the EOAN. The Forum’s next steps include the establishment of terms of reference, newsletter communications among the 60+ stakeholders, a website, and a program of meetings and capacity development activities for the fall.
According to Sylvie Lefebvre, Executive Director of PRCS, “PRCS is an active player during the pandemic by providing food relief, home delivery, and transportation. We cherish the collaboration opportunities with other food relief providers and stakeholders in order to improve our collective impact, responsiveness, and efficiency.”
Tom Manley, Executive Director of the EOAN, explains “This sector coordination function fits the mission of the EOAN in supporting local food production and consumption by connecting growers and consumers, including food relief providers.”
Prescott-Russell Community Services, based in Hawkesbury, is involved in the community for the past 35 years. PRCS aims to provide services to individuals and groups who need help in coping with financial stress and maintaining a healthy lifestyle within their community. PRCS is a registered charity and operates with donations and government funding programs.
The Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network was created in 2010 and primarily serves a territory comprising Akwesasne, the City of Cornwall, the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and the United Counties of Prescott and Russell. Its bi-weekly newsletter is sent out to over 1,100 recipients, including farmers, food producers, institutions, agri-food experts, and consumers. The EOAN receives core funding from the United Counties of PR, the United Counties of SDG, and the City of Cornwall.
Tom Manley, Executive Director, EOAN