Ideas Lab


The Ideas Lab for Food Systems Transformation aims to establish collaborative projects among multi-sectoral food stakeholders across Northern BC. Public Health Association of BC (PHABC) and Food Banks BC (FBBC) have partnered to host this program, with support from the BC Government and the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. The Ideas Lab boosts connection, alignment, and innovation for regional food security solutions. Project groups will work together over 18-months to co-develop and propose innovative, community-driven solutions for redesigning regional food systems to be more equitable and resilient. The Ideas Lab program will facilitate the development and coordination of these projects, and will provide seed funding to selected projects.

To establish these projects, regional roundtables in the North Central, North West and North East regions of BC will be convened through virtual meetings and in-person regional and global (Northern BC-wide) networking events. Participants can join from food access organizations, Indigenous communities, key stakeholders, governmental champions, food producers, workers from the natural resource sector, youth groups, and funders.

Information Session: Wednesday, May 29, 2024 12pm-1pm

Who Can Participate?

Do you have an innovative idea that you have been trying to resource or collaborate on? Come to the ideas lab to innovate with organizations from across the region.

Organizations and individuals across Northern BC (North East, North West and North Central) with an interest in collaborating with diverse actors in the food system to implement projects that improve regional food security are invited to the ideas lab including:

  • Food Access Organizations and Food Banks
  • Health Authority Representatives
  • Policy Makers and government champions
  • Indigenous Communities
  • Food Producers
  • Researchers
  • Students and Youth Groups
  • Community Service Organizations
  • Funders

If participation is a barrier for you, subsidies can be made available on a limited basis. Please reach out directly to to make arrangements.


Projects will be implemented regionally, across North West, North East, and North Central.

What to Expect:

  1. Network and collaborate with amongst fellow food advocates and actors in your region both virtually and in person
  2. Ideate and influence collaborative, multi-sectoral project design and innovation to address food security in Northern BC
  3. Gain access to an online community of practice to share resources, ideas, and knowledge
  4. Join a project team and propose an innovative food systems project for seed funding. Successful projects will receive PHABC support and funding to implement.
  5. Programming from May 2024 – November 2025: 6 months of connection/skill building and 12 months of implementation.


  • 1 Representative (minimum) from each participating organization
  • Lab Time: 15-20 Hours of virtual engagement and 2 in-person events from May 2024 – November 2025.
  • Project Time: Self-directed collaboration to develop proposal and implement project outside of lab times.
  • Events: 1 Regional and 1 Northern-Wide in-person event (subsidized by PHABC)

Project Examples:

Projects should support regional food security, and promote multi-sectoral collaboration. The Ideas Lab provides an opportunity to identify and solve regional issues together, using design-thinking, social innovation principles, and theories of systems change. Examples could include (but are not limited to)

  • Policy Development– The creation of a regional food charter or food policy council
  • Development of a transportation corridor or distribution node (i.e. A route, staffing, a vehicle, etc)
  • Food Sourcing Support – the development of sustainable Farmer contracts / bulk purchasing
  • Holistic food access models – coop shopping models, subsidized food markets, etc.

Whatever is produced in this program is property of the commons intended for community sharing.

Program Timeline

Please click the timeline graphic to download a higher resolution, or you can download it here.



Rebekah Erickson (she/her)
Project Management Office and Quality Assurance Manager
Public Health Association of BC