As the tag line on our blog states, the Nourish Project is all about food. Nourish seeks to engage, empower and support communities throughout Peterborough County and City who share a common desire to explore and create positive change around food.
Since May of last year, Nourish has been working in the County to map out the assortment of food programs available. Clearly, the most common programs are food banks and student nutrition programs. They are available in most county townships. A growing number of rural communities offer community meals and community gardens, while new collective kitchens and farmers' markets are also sprouting.
PCCHU's Come Cook With Us classes and collective kitchens are widely available throughout the county as is the YWCA's JustFood box program. Other key food service providers include Community Care, local churches and some rural Women's Institutes. Lakefield and Norwood high schools each have culinary programs whose activities extend into the community.
We spoke with over 100 individuals / families using food programs in the county and about 50 agency staff and volunteers to find out more about rural food programs.
Based on our travels and conversations, there are many opportunities to create positive change around food. The county has a solid base of successful programs and facilities upon which to build. Local food proponents express a desire to connect, collaborate and support each other. There is significant interest from budding gardeners and cooks to learn new food skills, grow their own food and cook together. There is also a desire to make locally grown food more broadly accessible and to connect more farmers to community food programs.
Our conversations also highlighted considerations to keep in mind such as the limited resources of many organizations (both financial and volunteer), the large geographically dispersed population base of the county and the unique characteristics of each township that may give rise to differing food priorities and future directions.
We are now ready to launch a series of Roundtables where interested food-related stakeholders from different sectors will come together to share what they would like to see take place in their own communities and ways in which Nourish might be able to support them. The first Roundtable will take place at the end of this month in Lakefield.
If you live in Peterborough County, are involved in the food movement and want to build health, equity and justice through food, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out when the roundtable is your community.