Food Security Action Challenge

Priority Area: Food Action

Dates: Oct. 2022 - Dec. 2022

Status: Completed

The Halifax Innovation Outpost, in collaboration with JustFood and HalifACT, issued an open call in September 2022 for ideas that could strengthen food security within Halifax Regional Municipality. All applicants had to be affiliated with a Canadian business, organization, or community group. Applications closed October 7, 2022. Winners were announced in November 2022.

Winning teams received:

  • Learning and mentorship in rapid-action prototyping
  • Support to sharpen and test their ideas with potential customers/users and/or partners.
  • Funding of up to $5000 for project costs (including supplies, marketing, purchases, human resources, fees, and/or any other costs).
  • Participation in a pitch event with an opportunity to showcase ideas and receive feedback and support from advisors in their sector.
  • Connection to larger grants to scale up promising solutions.


Eight startups and community organizations were awarded $5,000 each and supported in developing their ideas and prototypes.

  1. Organization - Veith House
    Profile - Veith House is an inclusive community hub with a vision for a North End that is a healthy, vibrant community that supports and empowers children and adults to achieve greater well-being and better mental health. They offer support, build resilience, create a welcoming space, and link with other services.
    Project Objective: The Veith House farming area is small (approximately ⅕ of an acre) with a significant section being taken up by a greenhouse (25x50ft). The greenhouse was originally constructed for seedling production and has been well utilized. In 2022, Veith House donated approximately two thousand seedlings and sold a further 2,385, estimated to result in thousands of pounds of produce. As of October, Veith House had grown and distributed over 120 pounds of harvested produce with a goal to significantly increase this amount.
    Project Objective: The challenge supported Veith House in prototyping a food security action project aimed at expanding the growing potential within the greenhouse, continuing seedling distribution, and significantly increasing their produce yields. This had the potential to more than double their growing area and result in up to 1,000 lbs of produce in the 2023 season.

  2. Organization - Common Roots
    Profile - Common Roots uses gardening to promote physical, mental, and environmental health in a welcoming community atmosphere. They have a community garden where individuals or groups can grow food for themselves and their community; a market garden where they grow vegetables, herbs, greens, and flowers for sale and donation; and common plots, which are open for tasting, learning about, and exploring plants. Throughout the growing season, they offer workshops, skill-building, and community events, as well as a beautiful place to sit and enjoy the view.
    Project Objective - In 2021, Common Roots Woodside piloted an incubator market garden (960 square feet) as part of their urban farm. This incubator was run by two women originally from the Congo and Burundi who had experience farming in their home countries. The two women had a successful first season, selling over $5,000 of produce to their communities, primarily African eggplant and lenga lenga (amaranth leaf). These are foods that were central to their diets in Africa and are difficult to find in Canada. There was strong market demand for their produce, and they have had requests for shipments to New Brunswick, Quebec, and the United States. The challenge supported Common Roots’ project to extend business into the winter months and to continue to provide cultural food for their communities.

  3. Organization - Old School Community Gathering Place
    Profile - The Old School Community Gathering Place is a hub for the arts, culture, community wellness and innovation in Musquodoboit Harbour.
    Project Objective - The Old School Community Gathering Place’s project aimed to build capacity among those who use the Old School's Food Pantry (a Food Bank). They offered workshops on growing and preserving food to current (135+) and future users of the Food Pantry, helping individuals and families become more independent and self-reliant.

  4. Organization - The Chebucto Family Centre
    Profile - The Chebucto Family Centre in Spryfield provides free services and supports to families and community members including advocacy and support, health and wellness programs, prenatal and parenting classes, and children and youth programming.
    Project Objective - A member of the Food Action Network of Spryfield, Chebucto Family Centre has a longstanding history of providing venues where people can attend and share a nutrient-dense meal. This includes their Spry Cafe every second Wednesday of the month (September to June) where they serve over 400 people, and breakfast in December. They also hold summer BBQs where they can serve up to 300 people. The organization would like to offer an additional breakfast on Christmas Day and one over March Break, serving up to 120 people. Chebucto Family Centre’s project aimed to help them offer a year of existing and new services which will increase opportunities to provide barrier-free access to healthy food and resources, foster important connections for well-being, and promote a sense of belonging in the community.

  5. Organization - PieceMeal Food Provisions
    Profile - PieceMeal Food Provisions is a locally sourced meal kit designed to help alleviate various aspects of food insecurity within Halifax and the broader Nova Scotia community.
    Project Objective - PieceMeal Food Provisions’ project aimed to double their monthly food box subscription by investing in a comprehensive social media plan and video campaign.

  6. Organization - Edible Earth Farm
    Profile: Edible Earth Farm is a small market garden on multiple properties along Prospect Road, south of Halifax, with a focus on growing quick crops with bio-intensive organic methods. Un-certified organic local produce is available from spring until fall.
    Project Objective - Edible Earth Farm’s project aimed to develop a permanent passive solar greenhouse. This would allow them to extend the season at their farm into the winter months, start plants in the spring, and teach workshops to schools and community groups and members.

  7. Organization - SchoolsPlus
    Profile - SchoolsPlus promotes the use of school facilities by students, families, and the community through social work, health, justice, recreation, and mental health services offered at school sites, early-years centres, family resource centres, and youth health centres located within Nova Scotia schools.
    Project Objective - SchoolsPlus’ project aimed to provide culturally appropriate Halal food items to newcomer families. They partner with the Farmer's Market Association, local farmers, vendors, and parent resource centres to provide families in need with food or money for perishable items. However, their partners did not offer Halal items, leaving a gap in their ability to equitably support culturally diverse and newcomer families.

  8. Organization - Spencer House Senior Centre
    Profile - Spencer House is a community drop-in centre for the 50+ crowd. Their programs offer daily homemade lunches, social activities, health and wellness programs, and educational workshops of interest to older adults.
    Project Objective - With rising grocery prices, it is becoming increasingly difficult for seniors to access healthy, whole foods. In addition, seniors living independently may face challenges when cooking at home. As a result, many choose an unhealthy meal option or opt out of a breakfast meal entirely.

    Spencer House’s project aimed to expand a breakfast program serving aging adults (55+). The program welcomed all senior members of the community, including non-members of Spencer House, to enjoy a breakfast meal with the added opportunity for socialization at their center.

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