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Neighbourhood Food Week Recap and Thanks

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Food has a remarkable ability to bring people together, and we experienced this first hand during Neighbourhood Food Week this past September. With 17 engaging activities, 700 participants, 26 community partners and the dedication of over 60 volunteers, this week-long celebration of food and community left a lasting impression.

The festivities kicked off with a Potluck Picnic, where neighbours gathered to share delicious meals, painted rocks for the community garden, and enjoyed a friendly pickup soccer game in the green space. It was a heartwarming start to a week filled with culinary adventures and community experiences.

Up next was the Dyeing with Food Scraps workshop, hosted by Jamie Bowen of The General Bean (and BCA ARTS fame!) Participants learned how to create vibrant, eco friendly dyes from leftover food scraps, promoting sustainability and creativity in one fun session.

Following this was the Cooking Mexican for One workshop led by the talented Idalia Galindo. Attendees explored the flavours of Mexico while discovering the joys of cooking for oneself, a valuable skill in today’s fast paced world.

Kids got in on the action with a Bike-powered Smoothie Making workshop hosted by The Alex Community Food Centre. The event not only taught children about healthy eating but also showcased the power of teamwork, physical activity, and sustainability.

For those interested in the art of fermentation, The Light Cellar offered a Fermentation workshop. Participants learned the basics of preserving and enhancing flavours using fermentation techniques.

Nutrition on a Budget was the focus of another workshop hosted by Momentum Calgary. Attendees learned how to make nutritious choices without breaking the bank, empowering them to lead healthier lives.

A highlight of the week was the Seniors’ Breakfast by Leopold’s. The team from Leopold’s Tavern took over the BCA kitchen at the crack of dawn to prepare a breakfast buffet of epic proportions to build connection and show appreciation to seniors in our community. That evening, Melba Seto of Bowness Soapworks fame led a workshop in creating scratch-made cantonese wontons.

Food Insecurity was the topic at hand during the Let’s Taco ‘Bout Food Insecurity panel discussion featuring Julie Van Rosendaal and representatives from the Calgary Food Bank, Fresh Routes, and Community Kitchen. Attendees not only gained valuable insights but also savoured a taco bar courtesy of Bowness’s own Salt & Pepper Restaurant.

Elevenses Coffee Club has become a weekly ritual at the BCA, and it was a pleasure to welcome more guests for the special Food Week edition where we enjoyed a cozy setting to chat over coffee and snacks. Elevenses remains a perfect opportunity for neighbours to meet one another, catch up, and share stories.

 

The week also featured a sneak peek of Calgary’s Cooking with Community Kitchens Programs of Calgary. Guests were invited to watch the group in action as they worked together to tackle recipes and prepare affordable meals to take home. For those looking to make the most of their food budget, the Food Flyer Hustle workshop, also with Community Kitchens, gave tips to participants on the art of finding and maximizing food deals.

“Preserving Made Easy” was another popular workshop that took place at the Montgomery Community Association with Janet Melrose. Attendees learned the art of preserving food, a skill that not only reduces food and garden waste but also offers the opportunity of enjoying seasonal flavours year-round. While this workshop took place in Montgomery, more residents gathered for the Doc & Dine event at the Greenwood Village Dome. We filled our plates with an Italian feast and enjoyed fruitful discussions following the DESERTED documentary highlighting food deserts and insecurity in Canada.

The week concluded with the Food Fair grand finale which welcomed Fresh Routes, the City of Calgary’s Food Programs, and a wide array of local food vendors and resources to the BCA. Hundreds of residents came together to explore food-related initiatives, connect with one another, celebrate the winners of the Food Art and Bake-off contests, and enjoy a feast of bannock wrapped hotdogs and stew lovingly prepared by Simon House.

Neighbourhood Food Week was more than just a series of events; it was a testament to the power of food to unite a community. It provided a platform for neighbours to connect, share, and learn, all while celebrating and exploring food. As we look forward to future events and initiatives, we are grateful for all of the connections and experiences of Neighbouhood Food Week. 

Most importantly, we are grateful to each and every one of you who attended an event, volunteered, or got involved as a partner at any level. Neighbourhood Food Week was the product of an entire community coming together, and we look forward to 2024!

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Neighbourhood Food Week is made possible in part with support from the Community Hubs Initiative: A partnership between The City of Calgary and United Way of Calgary and Area, with Rotary as a founding partner, and the Arusha Centre Climate Action Grant.

Special thanks to the local organizations who partnered with Food Week at the Harvester level (mentioned in bold).

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