Canada-based Maple Leaf Foods announced a long-term commitment to advance sustainable food security through the launch of the Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security, a not-for-profit organization. The company expects to invest over $10 million over the next five years to support the center’s activities.
The goal of the center is to work collaboratively to reduce food insecurity in Canada by 50% by 2030.
The Center has three areas of focus—advocacy, innovation and learning—to support, engage and advocate for important policies that advance sustainable food security. The Innovation Fund will invest in innovative food security initiatives based on dignity, empowerment and skill building that can potentially be scaled to increase their impact. The center will also share learning from its work and support networks, collaboration and research in the food security sector to build further understanding of the issues, approaches and enable knowledge transfer.
“In a country of such wealth and abundance, it is a national shame that one out of every six children and 4 million people in Canada face food insecurity,” says Michael McCain, president and CEO, Maple Leaf Foods and honorary chairman of the center. “The center 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 center’s board of directors will govern the center’s activities and contribute their expertise to achieve the center’s mandate and goals. The board includes:
- Professor Evan Fraser, director of the University of Guelph Food Institute and the Canada research chair in global food security
- 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
- Curtis Frank, senior vice president, retail sales, Maple Leaf
- Lynda Kuhn, senior vice president, sustainability and public affairs, Maple Leaf
- Rory McAlpine, senior vice president, government and industry relations, Maple Leaf
- Michael McCain, president and CEO, Maple Leaf
“The center will support the extraordinary work of many Canadians who are bringing innovation, research and community engagement to advancing progress and social justice,” says Kuhn, chairperson of the center. “We are passionate about breaking the silence and stigma associated with food insecurity, advancing sustainable solutions and advocating for important public policy changes.”