Drop-in Community Kitchen: Weekly Food Demos

Every Friday after the affordable Good Food Market & Cafe, community members are invited to stay and participate in a food demonstration, a drop-in program where they can watch a new recipe take shape from start to finish.

Last week supporters from Medavie came and helped with the Food Demo. Medavie has generously supported the Dartmouth Family Centre/Dartmouth North Community Food Centre since 2016 and just announced a further $120,000 in funding for Dartmouth Family Centre/Dartmouth North Community Food Centre over the next three years.

Last week supporters from Medavie came and helped with the Food Demo. Medavie has generously supported the Dartmouth Family Centre/Dartmouth North Community Food Centre since 2016 and just announced a further $120,000 in funding for Dartmouth Family Centre/Dartmouth North Community Food Centre over the next three years.

Every week Food Skills Coordinator Melissa Rankin prepares a new recipe like chickpea hummus or homemade sauerkraut and walks through making the dish step-by-step. The recipes usually contain an in-season vegetable or ingredient, often from the market or the Community Food Centre’s very own on-site community farm. At the end of the food demo, everyone gets a sample of the dish to taste.

While it sounds simple, the food demos have a profound impact, because of their accessibility. Because 83% of participants at the Food Centre are living below the poverty line and 76% have one or more chronic illnesses, there isn’t always an opportunity to learn positive food skills.

And the food demos are not only a spectator experience. Participants are able to ask all kinds of questions as the disk is being prepared. “People ask about adapting the recipe, clarification on how to do something, ideas on substitutions, and nutrition information,” says Melissa. And so, the food demos go a long way to helping people build food literacy.

“People might have access to a recipe, but if they don’t know how to interpret it, or what it means to do things like ‘dice an onion’, then they will get stuck,” explains Melissa Rankin. “Through the food demos, I can explain what certain words mean, why certains steps are really important in a recipe, people can ask questions, and these things that are really important for building people’s food skills.”

And food demos can be a stepping stone to so much more, acting as an important entry point for other programming at the Food Centre, or reaching out to volunteers and staff. Each food demo is accessible and low-impact for people who are shy or have social anxiety. In 2018, the Food Centre saw almost 2,000 visits to community kitchen programs, with food demos often being the first that new participants attend.

 “Melissa [the program coordinator] is so kind, and she is good at explaining things,” said one participant. Another said that they “really enjoy the Food Demos, and always try the recipe at home.”

“The food demos help people try new foods.” explains Deborah Dickey, Community Food Centre manager, “If you don’t have a lot of money, why would you take the risk to buy something new that you or kids might not like or know how to cook? But it is really important that people try new things, because having a diversity of foods in your diet is key for overall health.”

Interested in attending a food demo? Drop into the Community Food Centre at 12:15pm on Fridays after the Good Food Market & Cafe. Check out the monthly calendar for more info on scheduling.

 

 

 

 

McInnes Cooper completes five-year pledge to Atlantic Canada’s first Community Food Centre

Members from McInnes Cooper were on hand today to celebrate the impact the in the firm is making in Dartmouth North and a founding sponsor of the Community Food Centre.

The firm presented the final cheque of its $25,000 commitment to help get Atlantic Canada’s first Community Food Centre up and running.

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McInnes Cooper was the first corporate partner to join the capital campaign organized by the Dartmouth Family Centre and Community Food Centres Canada as they prepared to open the Community Food Centre.

Ray Adlington, former Managing Partner and CEO and current President of the Canadian Bar Association, sat on the fundraising committee.

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“Our Board knew the Community Food Centre could have a tremendous impact,” said Wendy Fraser, newly appointed Executive Director of Dartmouth Family Centre/Dartmouth North Community Food Centre. “They needed corporate partners who believed in our vision, and McInnes Cooper was there for the organization at a critical time.”

In one year alone, McInnes Cooper’s support made it possible for the Family Centre and Community Food Centre to:

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•          Serve 20,100 meals and snacks

•          Log 8,500 visits to our drop in

•          Offer 315 program sessions

•          Engage more than 146 volunteers, who contributed 7,400 hours

McInnes Cooper members also volunteered to help ‘Farmer Rob’ in  the Community Farm, which grew more than 3,000 lbs of food this past season.

“Our partnership with the Dartmouth Community Food Centre is a welcome addition to our Collective Social Responsibility Program because it provides an opportunity to advance our priorities of food access and community building,” said Andrea Hewitt, CSR Coordinator for McInnes Cooper. “It’s also been rewarding to see our members volunteer at the Centre and deepen their appreciation for the impact our support is having on the community.”

Community Food Centres build health, belonging, and social justice through the power of food. There are a total of 10 similar centres across Canada.

Good Food Matters Campaign raises $51,673!

What a Happy New Year thanks to you!!

Our Good Food Matters Matching campaign wrapped up Dec. 31st and your generosity made it an incredible success.

Your support is bringing $51,673 into parenting support, child development, cooking programs, meal programs - you name it and your gifts are supporting it!

See you contribution at work: join us for this month's screening of Six Primrose on Wed. Jan. 30th at the Community Food Centre. Get your free tickets now.

Thank you to all who make Dartmouth North Community Food Centre an amazing place to be!

Thank you to all who make Dartmouth North Community Food Centre an amazing place to be!

Wendy Fraser named Executive Director of Dartmouth Family Centre/Dartmouth North Community Food Centre

Wendy Fraser, Executive Director, Dartmouth Family Centre/Dartmouth North Community Food Centre

Wendy Fraser, Executive Director, Dartmouth Family Centre/Dartmouth North Community Food Centre

The Board of Directors of the Dartmouth Family Centre/Dartmouth North Community Food Centre is pleased to announce that Wendy Fraser will be joining the organization as its new Executive Director effective immediately.

Wendy is a seasoned leader in Nova Scotia’s non profit sector with more than 25 years of experience. She led the development of Nova Scotia’s first residential palliative care hospice as the first CEO of Hospice Halifax, was the Executive Director of Supportive Housing for Young Mothers (SHYM), and a program director at Phoenix Centre for Youth and YWCA Halifax. Read Wendy Fraser's bio here.

"Wendy is a great fit for our mission, our team and the evolution of our organization," said Board Chair Anne Cogdon. "She is going to bring so much experience to our work."

Fraser takes over as the organization prepares to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Dartmouth Family Centre, a well-respected community hub for young families in Dartmouth North and the organization that opened the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre in 2015.

“Our organization has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past three years,” said Cogdon. “We’ve opened another site, doubled our programming, and reached out to more of the community than ever before; Wendy’s experience will be a great fit for us.”

Cogdon also thanked Acting Executive Director Cararlee McDaniel and the team at both sites for managing the organization so professionally during the search for a new leader.

“The past four months have been a testament to our incredible team,” said Cogdon.”

About the Dartmouth Family Centre/Dartmouth North Community Food Centre

The Dartmouth Family Centre and Dartmouth North Community Food Centre are two community hubs situated in the heart of Dartmouth North.

The Family Centre has served young families with children aged 0 to 6 for almost 25 years. It offers programs for parents and parents-to-be, operates a full range of child development programs for kids and their families, and runs home visiting programs for parents in the community.

The Dartmouth North Community Food Centre is a program of the Dartmouth Family Centre, where community members of all ages can come together to grow, cook, share and advocate for good food. It is one of 10 Community Food Centres created in partnership with Community Food Centres Canada.