Winnipeg’s first community food centre—and just the fifth in Canada—opened its kitchen to the residents of the Inkster neighbourhood Friday.
The NorWest Co-op Community Food Centre offers free healthy lunches three days a week and run a number of programs intended to both increase access to healthy food and encourage healthy eating habits.
“Everyone’s welcome to walk through the door—if you need a healthy meal, come on in,” explained the centre’s director Kristina McMillan at a grand opening ceremony held at the Tyndall Avenue centre Friday morning. “Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to eat healthy.”
The centre runs 14 free programs, including a cooking class for men, a cooking group for people living with diabetes and a smoothie drop-in group for kids that sees smoothies mixed using pedal power on bikes attached to a blender.
The 4,000 square-foot centre also has community gardens, an outdoor pizza oven and space for residents to gather.
The idea is part of growing movement already happening in Ontario and came together through a partnership with Community Food Centre Canada (CFCC), a group working to spread the concept to cities across the country.
“(We) build community centres that are based on this idea that food is about health, it’s about justice, it’s about prevention and it’s about growing, cooking and sharing,” said CFCC president and CEO Nick Saul. “Food is never just food… if you eat with others you build relationships, you express love and through it you bring out different cultures.
“Over a good meal you can build a better community.”
NorWest Community Food Centre receives its core funding from the CFCC but is also funded through local government, private foundations and individual donors.
- By Shane Gibson