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Maple Leaf launches new food security organization

The new Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security is striving to work collaboratively to reduce food insecurity in Canada by 50 per cent by 2030


In an effort to address the important issue of food insecurity in Canada, Mississauga, Ont.-based Maple Leaf Foods has launched the Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security, a not-for-profit organization.

Maple Leaf expects to invest more than $10 million over the next five years to support the new centre’s activities, and will also make product donations exceeding $1.5 million annually.   

And along with the Maple Leaf corporate commitment, Maple Leaf’s president and CEO Michael McCain is making a personal pledge of $2.5 million to support an endowment fund to further advance the centre’s work on food security.

The centre will have three areas of focus: advocacy, innovation and learning. They plan to support, engage and advocate for important policies that advance sustainable food security. An innovation fund will also invest in innovative food security initiatives based on dignity, empowerment and skill building that can potentially be scaled to increase their impact.

According to a Maple Leaf press release, it’s estimated that one in six children and 4,000,000 Canadians face food insecurity, lacking stable access to affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food. “In a country of such wealth and abundance, it is a national shame that one out of every six children and four million people in Canada face food insecurity,” says McCain. “The centre is the culmination of several years of stakeholder engagement to understand this complex issue and where Maple Leaf should direct our resources – people, products and financial – to make the greatest difference. It reflects a significant, sustained commitment to lend our voice, to advocate for change, and to invest in innovation that results in demonstrable improvements.”

The Centre’s Board of Directors  includes:

  • Professor Evan Fraser, director of the University of Guelph Food Institute and the Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security
  • Ms. Beth Hunter, program director at the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, leading the Sustainable Food Systems initiative
  • Professor Mustafa Koç, Professor of Sociology at Ryerson University, one of the founders of the Centre for Studies in Food Security, Food Secure Canada, and the Canadian Association for Food Studies
  • Mr. Curtis Frank, SVP, Retail Sales, Maple Leaf
  • Ms. Lynda Kuhn, SVP, Sustainability and Public Affairs, Maple Leaf
  • Mr. Rory McAlpine, SVP, Government and Industry Relations, Maple Leaf
  • Mr. Michael H. McCain, president and CEO, Maple Leaf

The centre’s goal is to work collaboratively to reduce food insecurity in Canada by 50 per cent by 2030.  In 2016, the centre is supporting several community-based projects through its innovation fund including the McQuesten Urban Farm in Hamilton, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank – Community Food Hubs, and FoodShare, to support the implementation and evaluation of Good Food Markets in Toronto.

To increase public awareness of the issue of food insecurity in Canada, the centre has also launched a consumer social media awareness campaign entitled “4,000,000 Canadians.” The campaign features a short video, accessible on the centre’s website and through social media platforms including Facebook.com/FeedOpportunity, Twitter.com/FeedOpportunity and YouTube.

For more information about the centre, its programs and materials on food security, please visit www.FeedOpportunity.com.


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