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North Shore food security project addresses hunger, sustainability

Central Algoma Food for Everyone (CAFFE) Project is just one of the initiatives undertaken by the North Channel Poverty Network from Echo Bay through Iron Bridge
The Second Annual Seedy Saturday at Central Algoma Secondary School on March 10, 2018. Donna Schell for SooToday

On Saturday, the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC), its Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN) division, along with the North Channel Poverty Network welcomed the public to the second annual Central Algoma Seedy Saturday event to announce community efforts to address food insecurity. Local MPP Michael Mantha was there to congratulate the efforts of this partnership and to learn about the impact of the Central Algoma Food for Everyone (CAFFE) Project.

“The people of Algoma-Manitoulin are known for their determined resourcefulness and outstanding creativity. I am delighted to hear that the OTF has granted funding to the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre,” said Michael Mantha, MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin. “This grant provides communities across the North Channel/Algoma region with the opportunity to develop programs to educate and promote food sustainability. This achievement will have a positive impact on business, job development, and the lives of more than 350 people. Thus, I congratulate SSMIC and their partners for realizing such an outstanding project.”

The CAFFE Project aims to proactively address hunger among low-income families and individuals while increasing opportunities for enterprise development and expansion. To date, CAFFE has engaged with Central Algoma communities through educational presentations, workshops focusing on food growing and preservation, agri-food development, and the completion of an Environmental Scan to understand the needs of rural food security initiatives. Thanks to OTF’s contribution of $75,000, the North Channel Poverty Network has an informed plan to move forward on initiatives to address rural food insecurity.

“I am always excited to support initiatives like the CAFFE Project, that seek to assist and educate individuals about important issues facing their community,” said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie. “I want to thank the SSMIC, their RAIN division, and the North Channel Poverty Network for their commitment to this initiative. I have every faith that this partnership will go a long way in helping to ensure families across Algoma never have to worry about having enough food to feed their families.”

The CAFFE Project is just one of the initiatives undertaken by the North Channel Poverty Network from Echo Bay through Iron Bridge. There are other working groups focused on more inclusive transportation options, essential (emergency) services and housing security. RAIN, as a division of SSMIC, is one of the partners in this initiative.

SSMIC is a non-profit organization established in 1999 to function as a catalyst for economic development and diversification in the information technology and science knowledge-based sectors in Sault Ste. Marie and the Algoma region. SSMIC’s mission is to drive business growth, facilitate research and commercialize innovation in globally significant areas of science and technology through partnerships, expert advice, community development, business incubation, youth outreach and sector development activities.

An agency of the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. With a budget of over $136 million, OTF awards grants to some 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.