How do you get kids in daycares and afterschool programs to choose fruits and veggies over junk food? How do you help residents access healthy and affordable food when there’s no grocery store nearby? How do you support enterprising community members develop an ethnic catering business? Find out all this, and more, at the Manitoba Food Security Network Gathering Monday, June 17.
It’s your chance to learn about the food security activities happening in different parts of Manitoba, to discover ways you can implement similar activities in your home, work or community, and to develop opportunities for collaboration. The free event is open to all and runs 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Knox United Church. It will feature five minute ‘appetizer’ presentations about nine programs involving food security activities.
“I have heard of many occasions where groups were working on a project but didn’t realize that there were others doing very similar work in Manitoba – and the Gathering gives them an opportunity to meet and share with each other,” says Food Matters Manitoba’s executive director Stefan Epp Koop.
It’s also a great opportunity for those just starting to learn about food security – and according to Epp Koop, that’s a lot of people.
Things like food deserts (lack of access to grocery stores), rising food prices, and supporting local farmers are increasingly in the news, he explains.
“I’ve been doing this type of work for five years now and it seems like there is substantially more interest and awareness than there was even five years ago.”
Although food security is an increasingly prevalent topic, if you’re a bit confused about the term’s meaning you’re not alone.
“A fairly academic answer would be a food secure community is one where everyone has access to healthy, nutritious and culturally appropriate foods – and where those that produce food can earn an adequate livelihood,” Epp Koop says. “I’d also say that all people deserve access to the food they need to lead a healthy life. Food is an important part of vibrant, healthy communities – it is an integral part of our economy, environment and culture.”
The ‘appetizer’ presentations will be broken into three sections: Neighborhood Action, Daycares and Schools, and Social and Community Enterprises.
Tracy McIsaac from On the Move, a pre-school and school-age daycare, will discuss how she developed and implemented hugely popular cooking and gardening clubs at the facility.
Presentations about downtown food access, Knox United Church’s Community Enterprise Kitchen, the Nor’West Community Food Centre, the Gillis School Salad Bar, and others are also slated.
Food Matters Manitoba and The Winnipeg Foundation are partnering to present this event.
The newest round of Nourishing Potential grant recipients and their grant amounts will be announced over lunch. Nourishing Potential is an endowment fund held at The Winnipeg Foundation that provides grants to organizations that serve kids and youth through afterschool programs. The grants support access to healthy food, nutrition education and cooking skills.
“You can’t talk about feeding kids without talking about food security,” says Richard Frost, CEO of The Winnipeg Foundation. “Nourishing Potential was developed in response to needs identified by our community. But you can’t just feed kids – you need to get them involved. Teach them why it is important to eat from all food groups, learn skills to prepare a meal, show young people where their food comes from – these opportunities all have to do with food security.”
The lunch will be the inaugural meal catered by Knox United’s Community Enterprise Kitchen, which is available to various community caterers to rent, providing a commercial space from which to operate.
The Manitoba Food Security Network Gathering is Monday, June 17 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Knox United Church, 400 Edmonton Street. The free event includes lunch, but space is limited. For more information or to RSVP, please check out the Facebook event, or contact Carolyn at 204-943-0822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.