As we enter the holidays, we would like to acknowledge that 2020 has been a very challenging year for our participants. We know from Statistics Canada that food insecurity has unfortunately grown by nearly 40% this year across the country. In this season of giving, we ask you to spend some time learning about food insecurity, and signing your name in support of a basic income guarantee.
As always, our goal has been for everyone to be able to feed themselves and their families well and with dignity. That's why we’re so active in advocating for income-based policies. The pandemic has also forced us to become more creative. We transformed our JustFood program. Demands for our food boxes grew significantly and thanks to the support of donors, community partners and people committed to building a caring and welcoming community for all, we have been able to support greater access to healthy food. This is an on-going challenge though. We keep on having to adapt and grow. We were happy to expand our Curve Lake Market into a weekly and year-round program. This month, thanks to the support of the Curve Lake Health Centre and the Economic Development Department we moved indoors in a new structure that will allow the market to improve local food access through this winter.
Many other programs were interrupted and some moved online. We created virtual cooking opportunities, including the Cooped Up Cooking with Chef Amy show on YouTube, and Chef Amanda’s cooking classes over Zoom. We continued offering our growing workshops, but in an interactive online format, and successfully advocated for community gardens to be recognized as essential.
Plans for 2021 include:
- Our storytelling series, Our Stories Our Voices, which will build belonging between women who have experienced marginalization, and train them to share those experiences with the broader community.
- Our digital literacy series, Digital Smarts, which will provide media literacy skills and basic training on how to use smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
- Our revamped Peer Advocacy series, which will be longer in order to build deeper relationships, improve communication skills, and become more knowledgeable about community resources.
You can also expect more cooking and growing programming, though much of it will be done virtually. Regrettably, we cannot say when we will be able to resume community dinners. We know all too well how the pandemic has impacted social isolation among our participants, and we are working hard to figure out new ways to create belonging during this time.
We hope that all of our participants are able to safely find connection and togetherness during this holiday season, even if it must be at a distance.
All of us at Nourish wish you a happy holiday, and a new year full of progressive social policy change and meaningful connections through food!