It’s been almost exactly one year since I was hired by The Stop and The United Way of Perth Huron to coordinate the creation of a Community Food Centre here in Stratford. I remember last February very clearly: first learning that The Stop had selected Stratford as the site for its replication pilot; getting a link to the job posting in my inbox; calling all the people who I’d worked with on food projects to write me letters of recommendation; and compiling my portfolio and resume and thinking, “Hey, I might actually have a shot!” As the cliché goes, an opportunity like this comes up only once in a person’s lifetime (if they’re lucky). I was looking at the unparallelled opportunity to take my activism and passion for connecting my community with great local food to the next level: good food for all.
When The Local Community Food Centre opens its doors my story will take a back seat to the stories that will start flowing from our clients, staff and volunteers as they grow together in our community gardens and greenhouse, cook together in our community kitchen, eat together in our community dining room, advocate for one another through our activism programs, and create a new channel of access to healthy and delicious food via our Food Distribution Centre. But in case anyone wonders how my path and The Local Community Food Centre’s path became one and the same, I’d like to share a video of me speaking at Ignite Stratford 2.0 where I narrated (in just five minutes!) the story of my work leading up to this job and the visionary project led by Nick Saul and the folks at The Stop that’s validated my beliefs and commitment and given me the chance to make more of an impact than I’d ever imagined. Stratford is already known for great food, and now it is going to be known as a place where everyone is invited around the table to share it.