“When I go there, I don’t feel judged. I can access the healthy food that I need.”
A place for kids to learn to cook and lead
13-year-old Azan first came to the Harmony Community Food Centre for a holiday family brunch with his parents and younger sister. It was the CFC’s first community event, and when staff spoke about a new Cooking and Growing after-school program, Azan’s ears perked up.
When Azan joined the program, he didn’t have much experience cooking, but he was curious and eager to learn.
Now, he feels more confident in the kitchen and often helps prepare meals at home with this family. He’s also using his newfound knowledge to help develop a CFC program for local youth called Mind Your Food. Azan has quickly become a part of the community.
A community centre built around good food
The Cooking and Growing after-school program is just one of the ways Harmony CFC brings people together through good food. Their roster of programs includes healthy drop-in meals, an outdoor affordable produce market, community kitchens, nutrition workshops, and gardening programs.
An innovative partnership
South Riverdale Community Health Centre (SRCHC) has been providing front line health services in Toronto’s east end for more than 40 years. This community faces higher than average rates of poverty and unemployment, and is home to many newcomer populations. SRCHC identified a need for better access to healthy, affordable food for vulnerable community members, especially seniors living alone and people living with physical disabilities.
In 2017, SRCHC joined CFCC’s Good Food Organization network, and in 2019, expanded the partnership by establishing a Community Food Centre.
As a leader in community health, SRCHC understood how food insecurity impacts a person’s physical, mental, and social well-being. In building a Community Food Centre, SRCHC was able to deepen support for their community to include empowering food programs grounded in SRCHC’s values of health equity, inclusion and respect.