The Community Foundation of Ottawa launched the New Leaf Community Challenge (NLCC) in 2014 as an innovative way to identify and substantially support strategic approaches to pressing local issues. The NLCC signature event is a juried process that takes place in the fall to select a winning proposal for a special $125,000 grant.

In 2014 and 2015, the focus of the NLCC was on food security within a food systems context. The winning initiative in 2014 was MarketMobile, a traveling market that regularly brings affordable fruit and vegetables to Ottawa neighbourhoods with limited access to fresh produce. In 2015, the Challenge winner was the Deep Roots Food Hub, which is working to expand food systems and food security infrastructure in West Carleton.

In addition to the annual juried event and grant, the Foundation is committed to using other levers to continue to bring attention and support to NLCC areas of focus. The March 2016 Food Forum, which advanced understanding and multi-stakeholder engagement on four high leverage food systems opportunities, is one example.