Using a Community of Practice Approach to Respond to Food Insecurity During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Edmonton, Alberta

  • Author / Creator
    Lavriv, Oleg
  • Hunger and food insecurity have a long history and prevalence, with the oldest food bank in Canada and hundreds of community agencies responding to food insecurity. This research began in partnership with the Community University Partnership (CUP) at The University of Alberta to support network building in this sector. As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, food insecurity increased and all levels of government responded with increased availability of funding for responding to food insecurity. This funding also allowed for new organizations to enter the food insecurity response sector in Edmonton. The City of Edmonton then responded to this change in the sector by hosting a table on the collaboration and coordination of food insecurity responses, involving several community agencies. The focus of this research shifted in partnership with what this research calls “The City Table” to support their network and community building process. This research asks: how can the experiences of community agencies, donors and funders inform the building of a collaborative response to food insecurity during crises? Qualitative interviews were used to gain a depth of understanding in this sector, which was then supplemented by the insights gained through participation at The City Table to create an iterative community based research process. Elven interviews were conducted with professionals representing community agencies, donors of food and funders, and were selected based on the depth and richness of their anticipated insights, as informed by the research’s active involvement with this sector in a “snowball” approach. Drawing from the literature on the formation of communities of practice, the themes of engagement, imagination and alignment were used to guide the analysis of the data collected. The research found that this sector has the beginnings of forming a community of practice as a learning community that may support collaboration on responses to food insecurity. However, competition between agencies for funding and donations, as well as unstandardized data collection in the sector were identified as obstacles to the community of practice process. Further research is recommended in bridging the learnings generated by other poverty response sectors in Edmonton, particularly the housing insecurity sector, to gain insights into supporting the community of practice process.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.