Three years ago, the Roulant released its three-year strategic plan, an overarching document born out of months of discussions and consultations between staff, the board and all of our membership, to help guide the organization’s priorities in the years to come and orient its activities beyond the Roulant community to push for wider social and food systems change.
The power of networks
As part of our priority to contribute to the strengthening food systems outside of the Roulant, we are part of several networks, associations and discussion groups addressing different aspects of the complex issues that are food insecurity and social isolation. Networks like Food Secure Canada, la Table de Concertation sur la Faim, CAPÉ, COMACO, Alliance Troisième Âge and, as of this year, Community Food Centres Canada’s (CFCC) Good Food Organization network.
The benefits of joining organizations like these for the Roulant are many, such as knowledge sharing and collective mobilization to advocate for social and structural change. In general, the Roulant thrives at cultivating food and at creating engaging and transformational educational experiences, but continues to need the support of partners for outreach.
Though the Roulant works with government workers daily to best serve the needs of Montrealers, as for decision makers at the federal and provincial level in charge of critical policy implementation, our reach is limited. For example, the provincial government is the primary provider of home care, but when it comes to meal deliveries, they rely on the work of community-led Meals-on-Wheels services. Local CIUSSS workers refer clients in need to the Roulant or ensure they are being matched with another food security-centred service. Santropol Roulant partners with Food Secure Canada because, as a pan-Canadian advocacy organization, they are better equipped to defend the interests of food insecure people at the government level. In a similar vein, CFCC strives to keep food justice issues at the front of legislators’ minds by making informed policy recommendations and advocating for a swifter response to poverty and food insecurity across the country.
Becoming a Good Food Organization
We became a Good Food Organization (GFO) in 2022, which means becoming a member of the Canadian network of organizations that offer community food security services.
Many organizations in Montreal that are affiliated with CFCC offer services similar to those of Santropol Roulant, such as the Depot Community Food Centre and the Carrefour Alimentaire Centre-Sud. The main difference between the above organizations and the Roulant is our food distribution methods. As a common ground, we all believe in the interconnectedness of social services and social change and we complement each other’s work in the community.
Being a GFO gives the Roulant access to resources and workshops to help improve our operations, program management and outreach to marginalized communities. We are also able to share our strengths with other GFOs through this network, particularly concerning volunteer engagement. United under CFCC, we along with other food security organizations across the country are able to impact food systems justice on a wider scale through coordinated collective efforts.
We also have the pleasure of staying connected to Brooke, former Fundraising Director and internal consultant at the Roulant, who has brought her caring spirit and expert community building skills to CFCC as their National Network Coordinator.
Remaining the Roulant
We nevertheless want to stress our commitment to maintaining Santropol Roulant’s independence and unique identity, shaped by its community of members. We believe that connection to the distinct culture and reality of our community is a strength in itself, for any organization. It is what allows us to maintain a dialogue with everyone who comes into contact with the Roulant, stay engaged with our local situation and respond with flexibility to the specific needs of Montrealers. These same assets are crucial for keeping larger advocacy networks and elected officials well informed, connected and accountable to the needs on the ground.
Together for social change
If you’d like to learn more about food insecurity across the country and how to start a conversation with your elected officials about food insecurity, click the link below to read CFCC’s Beyond Hunger report:
As always, the Roulant team is more than happy to hear from you over email, by phone or in person to talk about food justice, social inclusion and social change and to get involved in your community!