The Power of Sharing

The Power of Sharing

Posted by Hain Celestial on Oct 23, 2013 | A Healthier Way of Life

Hain-Celestial Canada is proud to partner with Fresh Choice Kitchens, to empower people to nourish themselves by providing access to healthy food education and training.  Last year our funding helped purchase much needed equipment for the many programs run by Fresh Choice Kitchens.

Fresh Choice Kitchens is a Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society (GVFBS) program which provides training, equipment and informational support to community kitchens and their facilitators across BC.  In a community kitchen, all the participants are involved in the meal creation; including preparation, cooking, eating and cleanup. Participants have the opportunity to share and build upon their nutrition knowledge and existing cooking skills. Cooking with others creates teamwork and forges new friendships – providing its participants with new skills and social support.

This past year, Hain-Celestial Canada’s support of Fresh Choice Kitchens provided equipment for various programs across Greater Vancouver.

Vancouver School Network’s Kitchen Equipment Kits

Fresh Choice Kitchens teamed together with the Vancouver School Food Network (VFSN) to put together six bins of kitchen equipment. Each bin contained the necessary kitchen equipment for six stations of hands-on cooking in the classroom. The VSFN arranged the loan and distribution of these bins to schools in the Vancouver School Board (VSB). These kits have been used in over 20 classrooms across the VSB. They have been used in community-based experiential learning activities with over 100 undergraduate students in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and as part of teacher education with over 25 student teachers from the Faculty of Education. 

“The kits have been a great catalyst in getting more teachers thinking about how they might be able to cook with their students as part of curriculum-based learning activities. The 6 different stations help students to work together to create something that they can enjoy together. Overall they [the equipment kits] have been gratefully received by those who have used them. We are currently exploring a distribution and cleaning system with the Vancouver School Board in hopes of making a more efficient system that makes them available to even more classrooms of teachers and students.” Brent Mansfield, Vancouver School Food Network

Figure 1 - Equipment for the School Equipment Kits are laid out and ready to be packed into classroom kits

Kitchen Equipment for Community Kitchens Across Greater Vancouver

Fresh Choice Kitchens was able to provide much-needed good quality kitchen equipment to community kitchens across Greater Vancouver. This project was done in a 3-part approach based on the needs for various programs:

  1. Members of the Vancouver consortium, “Neighbourhood Food Networks” (which consists of neighbourhood houses and other community groups that run or support multiple community kitchens) including Hastings Seasons of Food, Downtown Eastside Neighborhood House, South Vancouver Neighborhood House, Renfrew Collingwood Food Security Institute, Grandview Woodlands Food Connection, Environmental Youth Alliance, and Westside Food Collaborative were provided such items as large capacity blenders, canning equipment, food processors, hot plates and good quality heavy bottom pots for their programs.  While these programs provide invaluable food and nutrition skills across the city, they are often underequipped and work with limited kitchen resources.  With the help of Hain-Celestial staff, Fresh Choice Kitchens delivered the equipment to seven of the organizations of the Neighbourhood Food Networks. 

    The community kitchen facilitators were most appreciative:

    Thank you so much [Hain-Celestial] for the kitchen supplies we received through Fresh Choice Kitchens.These supplies will be well used in our environmental programs, connecting people to the environment through healthy food enjoyed in the community. Julia, Environmental Youth Alliance.

    I would like to express our deepest appreciation for the donation of community kitchen equipment that we recently received from you [Hain-Celestial] through Fresh Choice Kitchens. It is really great to have some quality new equipment, which is not always easy to come by… Now with the new equipment we can prepare food more easily. The large soup stock pot and the quality blender are a joy to work with. We are also looking forward to making kale chips and fruit leather with the new dehydrator we have. Ian, Grandview Woodland Food Connection. 

    Figure 2 - Members from Renfrew Collingwood Food Security Institute display their new equipment with staff from Hain-Celestial Canada at Collingwood Neighbourhood House 

    Figure 3 - Julia from Environmental Youth Alliance receives canning equipment to teach workshops on preserving local produce

  2. GVFBS’ Downtown Eastside Community Kitchen Project (DECK), which runs and supports a number of community kitchens in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, was provided Level 1 first aid kits for their programs and facilitators.

  3. Fresh Choice Kitchens has a Kitchen Equipment Room, which consists of gently used or new kitchen equipment that has been donated to the GVFBS. The equipment in this Donation Room is accessible to community kitchen facilitators who need to stock their kitchen. Because this room relies on donations, it often does not have the equipment most needed by community kitchens such as good quality chef’s knives, large frying pans in good condition, and oversized stainless steel mixing bowls. This Kitchen Equipment Room has been stocked good quality equipment that community kitchens most need.