History

We were initially established in 2002 by the Richmond Poverty Response Committee as the Food Security Task Force, which grew to become an independent society in 2009. Over the years, several key documents have informed our work:

  • the Richmond Food System Assessment Report, which explored options to develop a food policy for Richmond. A food action plan based on this report was presented to the City Planning Committee in 2006.
  • the Foodland Asset Report, which identified lands available for food production in Richmond in 2012.
  • the Richmond Food Charter, which outlined the Richmond community’s collective values and right to adequate food. It was unanimously endorsed by the Richmond City Council in 2016.
  • New Constitution

Within the community, our programs have sprouted passionate youth leaders, budding young cooks from low-asset backgrounds, happy gardeners, local seeds, and surplus fruit for those in need.

Throughout the years, we have hosted a number of fun events that inspire, educate, and connect fellow gardeners and locavores. One of our biggest annual events, the World Food Day celebration, has set a festive stage for food security advocacy and dialogue since 2005. In 2008, we organized the Food for All Dialogue, a food security conference that featured 28 speakers and sparked fruitful community conversations among 200 people, from experts to ordinary citizens. Since 2010, we have been hosting Seedy Saturday, an annual celebration dedicated to nurturing the tradition of growing from local seeds. Over the years, we have also held a variety of organic gardening, cooking, and canning workshops in our efforts to increase food literacy.

Our staff team is governed by a board of directors and supported by many volunteers

Past Annual Reports and Financial Statements

The following vision, mission, guiding principles, priorities, and strategies were adopted by the Board of Directors in 2020 and will guide our work until 2023.

Societal Vision

Healthy people, community, and environment.

Mission

Engaging a resilient local food system through education, advocacy, and community-building initiatives.

We live by our values:

  • Authenticity
  • Impactful 
  • Sustainable
  • Collaborative
  • Tree Shakers 

Priority 1

Grow an ENGAGED Food Literate Community

Increase access to our high-quality educational programming and events to millennial and immigrant audiences.

Strategy

  • Increasing resources for programming staff
  • Reaching a greater audience (including millennial and immigrant/cultural groups) through increased touch points/interactions

Priority 2

Nurture Urban Food Production

Expand and enhance our programs that promote urban food production for Richmond residents

Strategy

  • Increase in requests for community gardens
  • More people connected to seed saving program
  • Increase in poundage harvested through fruit gleaning

Priority 3.1

Enrich Organizational Foundation

Develop information, data, and technology systems to meet the continued and future needs of the organization

Strategy

  • Using current IT systems – updating/migrating old systems
  • Moving towards G-suite
  • Improving payment options for community gardens
  • Create a comprehensive information gathering system from our stakeholders

Priority 3.2

Enhance board capacity through Board development and strategic recruitment

Strategy

  • Re-established Board Development Committee
  • Identified Board Skills Matrix and use in the recruitment activities
  • Succession plan identified
  • Enhance Board role in Board recruitment activities 

Priority 4.1

Identify and understand the NEEDS of the diverse audiences that we serve, through community engagement

Strategy

  • Develop tools to identify our audience
  • Develop methods to identify potential needs in our community
  • Inclusion with partners in related endeavours
  • Representation of our diverse community in programming
  • Feedback from the community – feel that RFSS is listening
  • Hosting a townhall in specific communities (ex. Hamilton)

Priority 4.2

Develop processes to focus on areas and opportunities to advocate

Strategy

  • Project Charter to develop process boundaries, partnerships, and potential grants to flush out advocacy
  • Determine position on advocacy areas
  • Consider climate change and urban food production as potential areas for advocacy
  • Impact local government and bylaws
  • Board engagement on advocacy issues

Priority 4.3

Develop a strong brand to make our role in the community known

Strategy

  • Increased awareness of RFSS in Richmond through meaningful and creative ways
  • Develop marketing expertise/resource and a plan to expand community reach
  • A cohesive social media plan