Converging Around Collaborative Projects

On Friday, October 20th, the Nourish cohort is hosting a webinar to share and discuss its five collaborative projects around the future of food in health care. Register here

One wicked, persistent problem in Canadian health care connects the twenty-five Nourish Innovators: the disconnect between food and health. The problem is a wicked one for the many ways it manifests, evolves, and refuses to go away, despite the common sense that nourishment is needed to be well and to heal.

The Nourish cohort spent the first months of the program unraveling the problem, reflecting on how it manifests at their respective organizations, in their supply chains, and across the Indigenous, French, and English populations they serve. They detailed their visions for the future of food in their organizations, and set out goals on the path to get there. Then over the summer, the cohort converged around a suite of collaborative, national projects to undertake across their organizations. This suite of complementary projects address some of the key barriers and points of leverage in the food and health systems. 

The Process  

The process was a dynamic, iterative one; an experiment in remote, virtual collaboration. $100,000 of funding was on the table for the cohort to decide how to use.The twenty-five Innovators internally generated fourteen project ideas, selected seven to develop, and pitched five. The cohort, advisors, and mentors provided feedback and recommendations that led to a refinement of the project ideas. A decision about how to allocate funding to the suite of projects was just confirmed, and the cohort will be sharing the announcement on an October 20th webinar to invite engagement with their work.

Nourish collaborative project process_Lapalme

To borrow the reaction of one of our cohort members, "I am impressed with the group working together, with different objectives, to arrive at some unified goals." It was impressive. I watched the teams negotiate their own project scopes to guarantee funding for other teams. I got shivers. Special thanks go to our friends at MaRS and at Health Care Without Harm for acting as provocateurs in the early audience, and to all the mentors and advisors who are supporting the teams and helping to frame the big picture.

The Projects

Each of the five project teams will be approaching a different dimension of the disconnect between food in health care. The composition of the teams represents multiple provinces and territories, and the teams aspire to put in motion work that will be felt nationally. They are undertaking work to better understand the patient experience of food in health, and to address barriers to sustainable, local, and traditional food that supports health and healing. Specifically, their work relates to:

  • Increasing the sector's ability to deliver Traditional & Country Food Programs for Indigenous patients and residents
  • Developing a Sustainable Menu Guide to help the sector decrease its ecological impact and support social and economic wellbeing
  • Creating a more enabling policy environment for a Food is Health approach in health care
  • Developing National RFP Models for values-based healthcare food purchasing
  • Researching strategies for benchmarking National Patient Satisfaction/Experience with Food Services

These collaborative projects fit into the broader work of Nourish to transform how we value and engage with food in care. They are ambitious, and provide an entry point for any fence-sitters who have been wondering - or waiting for! - a moment to jump in with Nourish. 

We invite you to join us online on on Friday, October 20th at 1pm ET for the public kickoff of the projects. In addition to sharing their work, each team will share their invitation for feedback, and offer ways to engage with and support their projects.

We hope you will join us!