What is a Community Food Centre?

As I mentioned last week, the Nourish Project seeks to engage community members throughout Peterborough County in speaking about food, health and equity and in establishing a Community Food Centre in our region.  In November, I wrote a post about the Table Community Food Centre and later on, I uploaded a video about The Stop Community Food Centre.  While each one of these centres is unique, they both share core programs which characterize them as community food centres.  What are these?

The newly formed Community Food Centres Canada defines its centres as “thriving, welcoming space[s] where food builds health, skills and community” through the following types of activities:

Venn-diagram-large core programingThe 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.  In addition, as our video Nourish Peterborough movingly documents, food programs build belonging and through the engagement and education programs, participants are able to access a variety of supports and gain a better understanding of poverty and food system issues.  This enhanced knowledge often leads to new opportunities for effective action on systemic issues.

nourish project

The Community Food Centre model took root in Toronto and is still essentially metropolitan in its design.  How can this model be adapted to a region like ours which straddles both urban and rural landscapes? We do not yet know the answer to this question.  Early in our exploration, we designed the above graphics as a way to illustrate that we were committed to adopting an approach which provides all members of our Peterborough region with an opportunity to participate in the conversations, identify ways of working together to better meet our collective food needs and create a community food centre.

Currently, for instance, we are working in the County to assess whether there is some appetite there to join a Nourish Network and create an original model, inspired by the work initially launched by The Stop while responding to the unique needs of our urban and rural realities.

If you want to participate in making this exciting project come to fruition, contact us by commenting on this post or by emailing us at nourish@ywcapeterborough.org.  We will be happy to let you know how you can become involved.

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