Local Food and Farm Co-ops Request for Proposal
1. Summary and Background
The Local Food and Farm Co-ops is currently accepting proposals for a Central Northern Regional Coordinator based in Thunder Bay or nearby.
The CNRC will provide value chain coordination to develop opportunities in the Thunder Bay and First Nations communities that existing resources have not been able to meet. These include exciting new initiatives for infrastructure (food hub and online marketing through public health units and regional distributors, new aggregated buying through food co-ops or collectives, and educational opportunities to increase local food procuremenet and access in northern Ontario.
The Central Northern Regional Coordinator (CNRC) will work closely with the NWO Regional Coordinator and the NEO Regional Coordinator and will be supervised by the Project Manager. LFFC partners include the Rural Agri-Innovation Network in Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay Food Strategy, the Northern Food Distribution Network (coordinated by LFFC, including 16 organizations involved in food distribution, food security, and agriculture in northern Ontario), as well as our northern member co-ops such as Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op in Dryden, Black River Co-op in Matheson, Café Meteor in Temiskaming. Discussions have been undertaken about food hub initiatives with the Regional Distribution Centre leads, as well as Waubetek Business Development Corporation, KI, Red Lake and Sioux Lookout communities, Lac Seul community and NAN. The CNRC will work collaboratively with LFFC partners to help strengthen the regional food system in northern Ontario through these existing and new connections.
Eligibility and guidelines
This RFP is open to organizations or consultants with expertise in project development in their regional (northern Ontario) food and farming sector, and a network of contacts and partners in their region. Successful proposals will include access to a home or organization office for equipment and office costs. Knowledge of the food and farming sector is essential.
2. Organization description
The Local Food and Farm Co-operative (LFFC)
Mission: Fostering vibrant, resilient, connected and sustainable food and farm co-operatives
LFFC is an incorporated non-profit co-operative that has provided organizing and development support for food and farming co-operatives and enterprises in Ontario since 2009. LFFC catalyzed or supported the recent growth of local farms and new collaborations in northern Ontario, including the Northwest Beef Co-op, Black River Co-op, Cafe Meteor co-op development, the Northern Food Distribution Network, Mill Market redevelopment, Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op and Muskoka North Good Food Co-op. Local food and farm co-ops in Ontario have a significant impact on Ontario's economy, and have been a key tool for community economic development in northern Ontario's local food and agriculture sector, as new farmers enter the area and new markets are established. Ontario's food and farm co-ops provide stable markets for hundreds of regional producers and processors, and support thousands of jobs directly and indirectly. With two and three times multipliers in the local economy, community development through food and farm co-ops has an impact well beyond the co-ops' own revenues.
LFFC grew rapidly, and incorporated as a non-profit co-operative in 2017. In 2014, with Ontario Ministry of Agriculture support, LFFC managed the Regional Food Hub Project with business and feasibility planning for four co-op food hubs, two in the north. In 2017, LFFC launched the Co-op Field Schools (training and development for sector co-ops and enterprises), the Peer2Peer Mentoring program and the Trade Routes North Project to develop regional infrastructure for the local food sector in northern Ontario. The programs generated hundreds of online resources and supported enterprises across northern Ontario. LFFC has engaged women leaders, indigenous and marginalized groups in the sector; an above average number of women and marginalized groups are the owners and operators of new forms of co-operative farming, processing and markets. As new entrepreneurs, the support that LFFC offers through training, mentorship and exchanges among co-ops at different stages is invaluable to their success.
Through mentorships, regional forums, workshops, one on one meetings and planning sessions, the LFFC has also connected with northern communities in the development of a Regional Distribution Centre, including Sioux Lookout and KI. Discussions have been undertaken with Waubetek, NAN, and Red Lake. In 2018, discussions for a food distribution hub in the Aroland area, involving 14 communities, began.
Requests from new communities (remote, indigenous and Francophone) guided the current planning to expand the demographic and geographic reach of LFFC's successful programs. Since LFFC's work began, there has been increasing need for these activities in the north, sometimes stretching LFFC's current resources beyond capacity or forcing opportunities to be missed. In 2018, LFFC completed a "Keys to Success" report to help retail food co-ops manage increasing pressure in an intensely competitive environment, as transnationals compete for grocery share from Canadian grocery corporations, driving prices down, and online sales entice retail customers to armchair shopping. In 2018-2019, LFFC undertook research to track trends and challenges in the current food system, aggregating this material in a report and presentations at the winter Assembly entitled "The State of the Local Food System".
The research showed challenges across the industry as well as important innovations in a rapidly changing Canadian foodscape. LFFC's mandate provides the infrastructure to support local food and farm enterprises in preparing for and benefiting from these changes and opportunities. In addition, the need for specific collaborative solutions such as the Northern Food Distribution Network, support for new northern farm groups and co-ops, and flexible food hubs or depots for distribution outside urban centres was identified as a significant need, and an important collaborative solution to the various changes underway in the industry.
3. Project Activities
The activities involved are:
Please note that further outcomes may be requested or some changes may be necessary as the project develops.
5. Project Budget
Budget for this contract is in a range of $8000-10,000, allocated commensurate with experience. There is potential for extension in 2020 depending on funding.
6. Bidder Qualifications
The candidate will have:
Content of proposal
Submissions should provide the following items as part of their proposal for consideration:
7. Proposal Evaluation Criteria
LFFC will evaluate all proposals based on the following criteria. To ensure consideration for this Request for Proposal, your proposal should be complete and include all of the following criteria:
Each proposal must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:00 pm on July 31, 2019. Please no phone calls.
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Current status: Open/apply now. Date posted: Jul 11 2019 ID: 54159