The Land and Food Justice Fund

Foodlands legacy and outreach advisor, Natasha van Bentum, was instrumental in the creation of a new grassroots “Land and Food Justice Fund” on the Unite for Change platform of CanadaHelps. Here Natasha gives us more detail about how the Fund was born.

Introduction

First, a bit of history:  back in the first few months of the pandemic in 2020, Canada Helps, (“Canada’s best destination for donating and fundraising online”) responded to the crisis by creating a number of “cause funds”. 

Among the original funds were the COVID-19 Healthcare and Hospital Response Fund, the COVID-19 Community Care Fund, and Black Solidarity Fund.

Research Showed Two Clear Trends

Research conducted by CanadaHelps showed two major trends:

  • Charitable donations are declining overall
  • Younger donors do not engage in charitable giving the same way older generations have. Boomers tend to identify with a charity or charities and become regular or even loyal supporters.
  • Today, younger generations are more likely to identify with the cause, not the organization.

In the words of Marina Glogovac, CEO of CanadaHelps, “Cause Funds aim to address these trends by providing an easy and convenient way to connect donors and charities around the causes they care about, while ensuring that critical funding reaches the groups that need it.

We see growing amounts of money going into platforms like crowdfunding where there is far less accountability and oversight around when the money is delivered, and how the money is spent.

Cause Funds provide greater transparency, authenticity, and trust throughout the giving process.”

Donations made to a cause fund are pooled and then distributed equally among the registered charities in the Fund, democratizing support for organizations by easily connecting Canadian donors to the causes they are passionate about while supporting groups of all sizes.

Enter the Land and Food Justice Fund

When the cause funds were first announced in September 2020, I welcomed their creation but quickly noticed there was nothing focused on food security or land access. 

So I contacted Canada Helps who to their credit, quickly indicated their interest in working together to create such a fund.

An important next step was the creation in 2021 by Canada Helps of a new giving platform called Unite for Change

Designed with a younger demographic in mind, Unite for Change is a new platform that “fuels the collective work of many charities all addressing the same cause, including some of the most pressing causes of our time.

Giving to these Cause Funds is an easy way to broaden your impact and contribute to change — plus, the site also provides opportunities to expand your knowledge of the issues and solutions charities are driving.

How Does it Work?

The Land and Food Justice Fund on the Unite for Change platform features over 40 organizations across the country working to increase food security, fight for food justice, and create equitable food systems.

The new fund supports leading organizations that are improving access to land and promoting ecological food systems. The Land and Food Justice Fund includes more than 40 charities across Canada (including our friends in BC, Young Agrarians, and Saskatchewan’s Farmland Legacies), that are substantially focused on land access, ecological food systems, and food justice.

(Included in the Fund are a handful of non-profit organizations who have an intermediary relationship with a registered charity.)

All the organizations in the Land and Food Justice Fund are connecting organizations, farmers, and community leaders across Canada to build resilient, equitable food systems.

These groups support access to healthy and culturally appropriate food, while preserving the ecological and cultural heritage of the land, enhancing health and well-being, and stimulating the local economy.  

The list of charities was curated by two fellow co-curators, Dr. Lauren Baker of the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, Leticia Ama Deawuo, ED of SeedChange, and myself.  

I’d like to thank the staff at Canada Helps for their enthusiasm and support in creating the Land and Food Justice Fund.

You’re invited to visit our page at Unite for Change, and to spread the word amongst friends and colleagues.