Frequently Asked Questions
How does The Alex CFC impact the community? How do you measure that?
The Community Food Centre is a neighbourhood-focused response to the issues that arise from poor health, social isolation and an inequitable food system. We are working to bring people together to build social connections and community capacity, increase access to healthy food and food skills, and elevate the voice of the community members to address the root causes of the issues that affect them.
We believe that food is a powerful way to bring the community together to address food as a basic human right, fundamental to good health. The outcomes are increased access to healthy food in a respectful and dignified manner, increased healthy food knowledge and skills, increased social capital, civic engagement and strengthening our local food economy so that everyone has access to a sustainable and healthy food system.
Long term impacts also include improved physical and mental health and more inclusive and resilient communities.
The CFC model has been running nationally since 2012, with evaluation tools and logic models that capture the effectiveness of the programs. Community Food Centres Canada measures impacts in five key areas: reducing hunger & increasing access to healthy food; improving health; building social capital; increasing civic engagement; and strengthening our local food economy.
The Alex CFC will provide its own data to Community Food Centres Canada (our national partner) to measure both our local impact and our contribution on a national scale.
Why do we need a CFC? How is a CFC different from a food bank or a community kitchen?
With 1 in 10 Calgarians living in poverty (United Way, 2015) we know food banks and community kitchen programs play a vital role in providing emergency food access for our most vulnerable.
We also know that many people face barriers to accessing support, such as low-income cut-offs (LICOs) or limitations on the number of visits per year, and as the gap continues to widen between income and living costs so does the need for new approaches to food security.
The Community Food Centre is a bright and welcoming space that puts healthy food within everyone’s reach, at any time. The CFC is more than a hand-out; it provides a space for community members to come together, learn about nutrition, growing food, and preparing food in an empowering environment. A CFC fosters the foundation for strong and resilient individuals, families and communities.
Intrinsically we know there is a direct link between poor eating and poor health – at The Alex CFC we are addressing just this. Closing the gap on accessibility to healthy food is just one step to creating whole health for all.
Is The Alex CFC just for the residents of Forest Lawn? How will people access it from outside the neighbourhood?
The CFC is on a neighbourhood scale with a city-wide approach. All are welcome! The Alex CFC is on International Avenue in the heart of Forest Lawn, with easy access from the #1 bus, one of Calgary Transit’s longest bus routes. The Alex is known for meeting the needs of Calgarians in their community and our approach to the CFC programming will be with the same spirit we have addressed healthcare in our city since inception; working hard to establish ways to move programming beyond the community boundaries to those who need it the most when they need it most.
What happens inside The Alex CFC? What types of programs and services are offered?
While programming is still being developed through community consultations, CFCs generally provide innovative and responsive programming in three key areas:
Food access programs, which provide access to healthy food to those in need in a respectful and dignified manner. The programs can include healthy community meals shared at a table where people can meet their neighbours, good food markets, and make-and-take programs where a group of people come together to cook large-batch meals that can be taken home and shared with family members.
Food skills programs, which encourage healthy food behaviours and skills, primarily in the areas of gardening and cooking. The programs can include a community garden, community cooking classes, and after-school programs for youth.
Education and engagement programs, which work to give individuals and communities voice and agency on issues that matter to them. They include peer advocacy, public education workshops and events.
Where will the food come from?
The Alex CFC is working with local farmers and producers to provide fresh and healthy ingredients for our meals and cooking classes, and we are developing partnerships with other local organizations committed to food equity to collaborate on food sourcing.
What can I do to help?
Visit our Invest page and see how you can help bring The Alex Community Food Centre to life!