TORONTO—Roots Community Food Centre (RootsCFC), Executive Director Erin Beagle accepts the “Jack Layton Activism Award”, from the Institute for Change Leaders (ICL).
Held at the Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation, Beagle accepted the awards over ZOOM, live-cast in from of an in-person celebration in Toronto. This represented the 11th anniversary of Layton’s passing.
“Even in the most difficult times, there are so many people fighting every day to build a future of love, hope, and optimism,” says Olivia Chow. “The judges have 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.”
As a small rapidly growing organization Roots CFC continues to address both immediate community needs, while at the same time advocating for systemic changes. It is focused on building a sustainable organization of activists with a strong plan for future development and leadership. Its program are seen as “innovative and diverse,” often including education, employment and access to fresh foods, fruits and vegetables at reduced prices.
At the foundation of the 2022 Layton Activism Award winner is their advocacy work which continues to fight against the root causes of food insecurity. Roots CFC is also part of a national network of 14 other organizations who all believe in “good food for all”.
“Ryan’s Hope” an organization that provides breakfast as well as a sense of community and connection to Barrie’s homeless population, was awarded an Honourable Mention by the jury. The organization was born out of the tragic loss of Ryan Naylar, a young man in Barrie, Ontario, who died from overdose.
After a public call for nominations, awards organizers received over 100 submissions from all levels across the country, including efforts to end homelessness, address food insecurity, help women escape domestic violence, strengthen Reconciliation; and much more.
According to their news release, the winner was decided upon by an expert panel of judges from across the country with deep ties to Jack’s life and work: activist and former MP Libby Davies, former Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan member Yens Pedersen, community advocate Darnel Harris, former MP Helene LeBlance, and Jack’s former Chief of Staff Bob Gallagher.
The Layton Activism Award, part of the Layton Legacy project, carries on the late Jack Layton’s important work by recognizing and supporting activists who are powerful changemakers.