I enjoy gardening for lots of reasons. One of them is seeing how powerful a small item, such as a seed, can be. Kale seeds, for instance, are really small, yet they have the power to yield such nutritious meals, beauty, conversations and community. Why conversations and community? Because I plant most of my kale in my front yard. As a result kids in my neighbourhood and some of their parents ask me about those strange vegetables that grow in my yard. I also get lots of questions about how to cook kale.
In the past few weeks I've been reflecting on the power of a simple, small idea; how, given the right context, it can flourish and bring about significant change.
Several years ago, during a municipal election, Linda Slavin, a Peterborough City mayoral candidate, proposed the idea that it was time to address poverty in a more systematic fashion. While Ms Slavin was not elected, her idea was endorsed by the incumbent who was re-elected, Paul Ayotte. In the course of his mandate, Mr. Ayotte established what came to be known as the Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network (PPRN).
Fast forward seven years later, PPRN and its sub-committees have grown strong roots in our community and have become the catalysts for engaging the community at large in finding innovative and meaningful ways to address poverty. The Community Food Network, which gave birth to the Nourish Project is one of the sub-committees created as part of this poverty reduction initiative. It has brought together people on low income, representatives of city and county food programs, members of the faith community and market farmers to address food security.
CFN supported the creation of the Peterborough Community Garden Network. It has been very instrumental in ensuring that community meals are offered every day of the year. The Network is now exploring ways to support people living on low income so that they can shop at local farmers' markets. And all these inititiaves can be traced back to one single idea and a single individual with a strong vision of justice and equity... amazing indeed!