A Community Food Centre is a welcoming space in a low-income neighbourhood where people come together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for good food. Community Food Centres provide people with access to high-quality food in a dignified space. People learn cooking and gardening skills there, and kids get their hands dirty in the garden and kitchen in ways that expand their tastebuds and help them make healthier food choices. Community members can take action on the issues that affect them, and people find friends and support.
Community Food Centre Objectives.
Improve people’s ability to access healthy food in a dignified way;
Increase healthy food knowledge, skills, and behaviours;
Decrease social isolation and increase people’s connection to supports;
Create opportunities for people to take action on the issues that affect their lives,
Empower people to be volunteers and leaders.
The Food Centre project took root after community members in Eel Ground First Nation, a Mi'kmaq First Nation community of 977 people, came together to talk about how to address the serious issue of food insecurity, which affects 40 per cent of households in Eel Ground. With support from the Chief, Council, and community, and early funding from Canadian Feed the Children, they created a space in 2016 and started running programs focused on increasing food access, food skills, and education and engagement opportunities.
Natoaganeg Community Food Centre is a partner site of Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC), a national organization that’s driving the development of CFCs across the country. Along with other Community Food Centres in neighbourhoods across Canada, Natoaganeg CFC is increasing access to healthy food, empowering people to build food skills, and creating opportunities for people to become engaged in our community.
The partnership with Community Food Centres Canada will provide core funding and program support to the CFC to build up programming and further support community members' access to food, resources, and supports.
All our programs aim to create an environment of respect and community leadership. We meet people where they’re at and work with them toward the changes they want to make.
Healthy food access: Community meals, affordable produce markets, and healthy food distribution programs increase access to fresh and nutritious food in a welcoming space where people can get connected to other supports and resources.
Food skills: Community kitchens, gardens, and after-school programs help people build the skills, knowledge, and confidence to grow and prepare healthy food for themselves and their families. They also empower people to take control of their health and nutrition within the context of their circumstances, and make lasting and sustainable changes in their diets.
Education and engagement: Peer advocacy and support, community action training, social justice clubs and volunteer programs support people to get involved in the issues that matter to them, equip them with the tools they need to take action, and create opportunities for participants to be leaders in their communities and push for change.
When 15-year-old Sage started working at the Natoaganeg Community Food Centre as a summer student helping out in the garden, she didn't realize what a big impact the experience would have on her life. Helping to maintain the garden, she's learned a lot about what it takes to turn tiny seeds into rows upon rows of colourful, nutritious food. Her involvement with the centre began when she started serving as a youth advisor for the project. Since then, she's learned to cook, tried lots of new healthy foods, and felt more connected to the Eel Ground community she grew up in.
Bringing people together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for good food for all.