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Canada’s Invisible Food Network

We need to radically change how we value people and how we understand food charity in this country.


Non-profits provide food to Canadians


More food charities than grocery stores in Canada

$33 Billion

Value of food provided by charities to individuals in Canada in 2020

A massive, invisible patchwork system supports vulnerable Canadians

The first research of its kind, Canada’s Invisible Food Network addresses an urgent question: we need to know who is helping provide food for the millions of Canadians struggling with food insecurity. 

The findings are shocking: there are four times more charitable food providers than grocery stores in Canada. 

There is a massive but unconnected patchwork of services trying to support 6.7 million Canadians while they themselves are still reeling from the impact of the pandemic on the charitable sector.

These unprecedented findings are the result of a nearly two-year-long research project undertaken by Second Harvest and Value Chain Management International, a leading public and industry voice in food waste.

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Our research shows that the charitable food system is a huge patchwork of vital but disconnected services. That’s not a sustainable model on which to build a resilient food system, especially for our most vulnerable populations. The research aims to bridge that gap by applying data to create effective strategies and solutions.

Lori Nikkel
CEO, Second Harvest

“The need will not go away after COVID, and programs like [Second Harvest’s] are needed to continue to create relationships between those with access to excess food and those organizations that can use it to address food insecurity.”

MetroWorks Employment Association

Thank you

This project was made possible by a generous grant from the Walmart Foundation.