For the past 9 months, St Andrew's United Church in Peterborough has been the site of a mouth-watering pilot project called A Taste of Nourish. Every other week until September and weekly since then, participants have been invited to enroll in cooking classes designed to grow access to healthy food and enhance food skills. Participants' feedback and a recently conducted evaluation have taught us that this initiative is having a positive impact.
When asked about what draws them to A Taste of Nourish activities participants tell us that the workshops give them an opportunity to learn new cooking skills and make meaningful connections within the community. They like our recipe and they want to taste it more often!
What is the culinary secret behind this success? It's a fairly simple one. As with all tasty offerings, our recipe rests on the quality of the ingredients we use: enthusiastic community members, passionate chefs and community cooks, dedicated volunteers and committed food security agency members. Stirred together in a welcoming community setting, all these ingredients create a delectable stew infused with a strong local flavour!
The menu of workshops varies with the seasons and the chefs available. In the course of the past few months, we have focused on broadening participants' basic knowledge. One recent session highlighted new ways of preparing comfort food while another one expanded people's chicken meal repertoire. We have also created opportunities for learning new techniques such as pressure canning or pasta making.
Due to popular demand, we repeat some of offerings. This is the case for instance with our "Cooking Out of the Box" workshops where participants learn easy-t0-make recipes using the ingredients provided in their YWCA JustFood produce box. We also facilitate regular canning workshops to illustrate the many ways people can preserve their harvest. Another standard offering during the growing season was our "Market Meal". In this workshop, participants met downtown and toured the farmers' market. They learned about local farms and the food they produce. The workshop facilitator would buy food at the market and then the group went to St Andrew's to cook a meal together, based on the ingredients they selected at the market. We look forward to resuming this particular workshop once the Peterborough Downtown Farmers' Market reopens.
A Taste of Nourish workshops are very participatory in nature and offer hands-on opportunities to learn new food skills and engage in conversations about food and our food system. This coming Wednesday (March 12th), to celebrate Nutrition Month, we will be facilitating a workshop on "meatless meals." Do you often wonder what to make with lentils, beans, chickpeas? If so, call Evan at 705-743-3526 to find out more information about the workshop and to register.