Better Access to Better Food

by | POSTED: May 09, 2012

In 2005, a small group of agencies providing meals and food supplied in Edmonton’s inner city established the T5H Network to discuss ways to better address food insecurity and effectively use food resources. They chose the title T5H because the postal code encompassed four neighborhoods in the inner city:   Boyle, McCauley, Queen Mary Heights and Central MacDougall.

The group met periodically from 2005-2010 to share information about each of their activities and discuss different approaches to improve food security. In 2006, for example, the group released a paper Living without Food, which was published by the Bissell Centre.

In 2007, several T5H network members attended a workshop on “social analysis systems” (SAS2), a set of methods designed to assist collaborative approaches to complex social issues.  After the workshop, Peter Faid, from Community Services Consulting Ltd, facilitated a number of conversations to explore how SAS2 might be used by to explore how to improve access to nutritious food for vulnerable residents in the inner city.

The ebb and flow of the leadership of the T5H network meant that the idea for the project was put on hold. In late 2010, Bissell Center secured resources from Family and Community Support Services program of the City of Edmonton to support the inquiry.   Jane Hirst, then interim Executive Director of Bissell Center, asked Mark Cabaj, with the support of Peter Faid and Jim Klingle, to facilitate an SAS2 guided inquiry entitled Better Access to Better Food in the T5H neighborhoods.  

The project has continued, with numerous meetings and considerable research undertaken. At this writing the City of Edmonton funded project has come to an end and the work and findings to date are represented in a “Final Report.” There are quotes around “final report” because we are continuing on without funding in place. Mark Cabaj has agreed to provide some volunteer facilitation and Peter Faid and Jim Klingle will lend a hand no doubt when asked! Bissell Centre has agreed to serve as project administrator. Part of that work includes creating and managing a wiki site (located here) at which all the proceedings are documented and which can be used to solicit more involvement from area organizations and groups.

I encourage you to take a look at the report and share it with others. If you want to join us in work, you can send your interest to me personally at mholmgren@bissellcentre.org