The Local CFC
The Local Community Food Centre launched in November, 2012, via a partnership between Community Food Centres Canada and the United Way of Perth-Huron. Community Food Centres Canada is working towards the goal of creating 15 networked sites from coast to coast, where food security is promoted through empowering, participative programs that promote health. The Local Community Food Centre was created as a pilot to help facilitate the roll-out of the other food centres across the country over the next several years.
Our multidimensional, integrated programs promote healthy eating among community members living on a low income in an attempt to change the relationship between decreased income and increased propensity for dietary related illnesses. Some of this problem is associated with lack of skills in the kitchen; we are addressing that through daily free cooking classes and education programs in our community kitchen, including programs for children.
Another issue is that people on a low income are marginalized and disconnected from their community; we harness the power of food to bring people together through three free community meals each week in our dining room, including a lunch specifically for seniors. Creating a passion and connection to healthy food is promoted through our on-site gardens and greenhouse, where people get the opportunity to grow food for themselves and to help us grow food for our programs and meals.
Healthy food access is a big problem that the existing food bank system has had challenges addressing due to issues of capacity. We created an on-site warehouse and distribution centre called The Storehouse where we take in large scale donations of healthy, fresh, local food to put out through Perth County’s food banks, student nutrition programs, community meals, and other not-for-profits such as group homes and shelters. Finally, we want to live in a society where people have enough income to access a healthy diet without having to go to food banks, so we coordinate a social justice club and a peer advocacy office to give people a voice to call for change and to empower community members to help one another transcend the problems they face.