Everybody’s gotta eat, but not everybody can afford to eat well. Eating healthy, locally produced food is trending across the county, but eating well doesn’t have to be limited to the summer gardening months. Despite our long winters there are many organizations around Winnipeg working to promote local food production and sharing year-round.
From community gardens like the South Osborne Orchard, to organizations like Food Matters Manitoba, sharing and learning about healthy, local food is happening all over the place, throughout the year - and it’s pretty awesome.
Damien Gangé, coordinator at The Good Food Club (GFC), says that knowing where your food is coming from and what to do with it is important, but can be difficult, especially for folks living on a low or fixed-income. The GFC (part of the Winnipeg Food Share Co-op) partners with local farmers to make locally produced food like potatoes, chicken and dairy available year round and at an affordable price. They then focus on teaching folks what to do with their food in group programs.
“[If] you have limited funds and no oven, you’re gonna go buy a slice of pizza…[people] want to know, like, if I got a big bag of vegetables and I got a big summer squash – what do I do with that?” Gangé says.
Getting folks together to learn and share about locally produced food is also a key aspect in the operations of Food Matters Manitoba.
“I think people are really wanting to connect to where their food’s coming from - who’s producing it and how it’s being processed,” Kreesta Doucette, executive director of Food Matters, says. “We just did a workshop responding to that demand - it was called ‘Pork Chop’ and we had participants learning how to take apart a side of pork and learning how to break it down into bacon and pork chops...people were really excited about that.”
Other organizations, like the Knox Community Kitchen, are there for folks who have food they want to share with the community but can’t afford to produce it.
The Knox Community Kitchen provides commercial kitchen space to help low-income individuals to get their food or catering business off the ground. Located in the basement of Knox United Church in Central Park, the kitchen is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week and costs just $10 an hour to rent.
Sebastien De Lazzer moved to Winnipeg from Belgium just over two years ago and emphasizes how the kitchen and its shared collective has helped him to get his business off the ground.
“The price, of course [is] a big, big help because it’s affordable and they have a network and they help us grow through that network and that’s amazing,” De Lazzer says. In fact, the collective helped connect De Lazzer with Tallest Poppy Owner Talia Syrie.
“I’m cooking for the Tallest Poppy, mainly, so if you go there and you order chicken and waffles the waffles are mine”.
The Knox Community Kitchen also hosts a weekly market in the basement of the church where people can buy local food, locally made crafts and hot meals at an affordable price.
“The indoor market helps the community in the sense that there isn’t anything in that part of the town…its indoor and we serve hot food too,” De Lazzer says. “It’s not very busy, not a lot of people are attending but...if people just want to be curious and just show up there its great, the concept is great”.
To become a member of the GFC visit their website, westbroadway.mb.ca/good-food-club or drop by 608 Broadway. Check out the next Knox Indoor Market at the Knox Community Kitchen on March 27 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Visit foodmattersmanitoba.ca for information on upcoming events and markets around the city.