Imagine a community with a vibrant food culture, a community where everyone is able to enjoy healthy and delicious food, where everyone has extensive food skills, skills that can lead them to employment, if they so desire. Imagine a community where everyone understands how the food system is driven by profit rather than human needs and where everyone is able to advocate for meaningful change. Imagine a community where food is a vehicle to meet one another, to connect in a meaningful way and to build compelling relationships across differences.
community food centre
The video that I posted on Monday presented a global perspective on economic inequity and its relationship to health. Today, I want to offer a Canadian perspective. York University researcher Dr. Dennis Raphael has done extensive work on these issues. For years, he has been tirelessly researching and documenting the ways in which our living conditions and particularly our income shapes our health.
I learned, early on, the rallying call of Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D'Artagan, "un pour tous, tous pour un." It shaped my sense of justice and solidarity. And lately it has been echoing in my mind as I wonder about loneliness and lack of connections between people.
The evaluation and impact assessments carried out by the national agency illustrate that through these activities, each community food centre provides greater access to healthy food among community members living on low-incomes as well as increased skills and knowledge about food which encourages behaviour change around healthy food.
Kitchen Literacy illustrates that our relationship with food has undergone radical changes in the past 150 years. Nothing is static... which means that everything can always change. Indeed, we are seeing lots of new changes taking place in the food system. By joining community gardens, shopping at farmers' markets, enrolling in CSAs or food box programs, people are starting to alter how they consume food or connect to it.
Nourish seeks to engage the whole community in talking about food, equity and ways we can rebuild our food system from the ground up. Ultimately we want to see that everyone is able to purchase nutritious foods, while producers/farmers get a fair share for their work. We are working to create food places in Peterborough City and County where everyone feels welcome and has the opportunity to learn about how to grow food and how to cook simple and healthy meals.
It all started rather innocuously. Pawlick wanted to make a very simple salad. He bought four attractive-looking tomatoes at the supermarket and discovered, once home, that they were too hard to slice. So he decided to place them on the counter, to let them ripen. They didn't. After several days, out of curiosity, he picked one tomato up, took it outside and threw it against a fence, to see how it would fare. "It bounced off, undamaged, like a not-very-springy, red tennis ball." (p.2) Why was it so? Pawlick was hooked on finding out how the answer.
The last post mentioned how The Table Community Food Centre is the first pilot site to replicate the model developed by The Stop in Toronto. Are you familiar with The Stop Community Food Centre? If not, the following video will give you a feel for the organization, its work and its philosophy. Our Nourish team visited The Stop in October 2009. We came back inspired and committed to the idea of adapting their model to our region.
An hour away from Ottawa, Perth is a small community of 6,000 which swells to a total of 20,000 when including the greater Perth area. Board members at the Food Bank were dissatisfied with their work. They were itching to try something new that would enable them to make a philosophical shift toward addressing the root causes of hunger and poverty. At the same time, The Stop was looking for a partner interested in joining its food revolution. The moment was ripe. In a very short period of time, a new community food centre took root.