Stratford, Ontario, is truly a food lovin’ city, where farmers markets, restaurants, culinary festivals, community gardens, and artisans all thrive.
Stratford is also a centre for food education.
Many of the brightest lights cooking in Canada’s most successful restaurants today learned their chops at the Stratford Chefs School.
The high school Culinary Arts class taught by Paul Finkelstein at the ‘alternative cafeteria’ known as the Screaming Avocado Café serves as a model for educators around the world who want to connect kids with the food they eat.
Yet in the midst of Stratford’s enviable bounty of food, learning, and community, there lies a disturbing paradox:
People in our city, including children, still go to bed hungry.
Community drop-in meals have line-ups out onto the street, and food banks find it difficult to keep up with an ever-growing demand. The ever-increasing cost of food further contributes to this problem, as nearly 8 percent of Perth County residents have been found to be “food insecure” (a term that basically means they cannot afford to put the kind of good food on their tables they would like to).
The Local Community Food Centre’s vision is to build access and skills so that everyone in our community can enjoy nutritious, quality food to lead a healthy life!
The fact is: Every community should have a Community Food Centre!
The establishment of The Local Community Food Centre in Stratford has evolved out of a collaboration between local agencies – The United Way Perth-Huron and the multisector members of the Perth County Food Security Coalition – and Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC). The Local Community Food Centre is being initiated as a partner site of CFCC and a Division of the United Way of Perth-Huron, who have recognized poverty reduction, and in particular reducing food insecurity, as one of the organization’s primary strategic goals.