THUNDER BAY —The Roots Community Food Centre in Thunder Bay has won the Jack Layton Activism Award.
The award was announced this week by the Institute for Change Leaders and the Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation.
Roots CFC executive director Erin Beagle accepted it over Zoom, live-cast in front of an in-person celebration in Toronto marking the 11th anniversary of the passing of the former national NDP leader.
His widow, Olivia Chow, said the judges had selected an incredible winner in Roots Community Food Centre.
"They are making a huge difference in addressing the roots of food insecurity, and I know they would have made Jack proud," Chow said.
She founded the Institute for Change Leaders in 2016 to teach organizers the skills to win social change.
On its website, the Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation states that its mission is to promote the principles of social democracy.
In announcing the award, the two organizations cited Roots CFC's focus on building a sustainable organization of activists, with solid plans for future development and strong leadership.
"Roots CFC uses food as a tool to connect people to one another and build belonging and dignity," they said.
They noted the Thunder Bay organization's innovative and diverse programs including education, employment, and access to fresh food, fruits and vegetables at reduced prices.
Roots CFC was also praised for its advocacy work, such as the Dignified Food Access Campaign which rallied organizations and individuals to tackle the root causes of food insecurity.