Beyond the street (2017 Campaign)

 

 

Have you ever noticed how the businesses along Wellington and Holland get approached all the time for help & donations?  It’s easy for people to walk in and start a conversation.  We have been trying to figure out how to reach out to the 2nd floor professional businesses in our neighbourhood.  Thanks to KWC Architectswe are starting a new challenge.  They are going to help us reach out to fellow “above” the street businesses in our neighbourhood.  

To start us off, they have donated an amazing $5,000 to help us reduce our current $40,000 2017 operational shortfall.  

They have been involved with us for several years including helping us layout our space when we first moved in to 30 Rosemount. KWC Architects “believes in the value of strong and diverse neighbourhoods and communities. The Parkdale Food Centre is a vibrant hub that engages and supports all members of our community through their wide range of services and opportunities. As a local business we believe in the value that PFC brings to the health and well-being of our neighbourhood. We encourage other local businesses to support PFC so we can continue to have this amazing resource!”

Could your business support us this holiday season and help us balance our books by the end of December.  Contact us if you have an idea or want information on how other businesses have helped.  

Could you engage your employees or customers to help you make a contribution?  We’d love to have your business added to our PFC Patrons wall for all contributions above $3000.

Our neighbourhood is lucky that we have so many professionals that call it home and a great place to work.  Help us help your neighbours.

Why I long for December 31st

It’s not what you think.

It’s not New Year’s Eve.  It’s the daywhen I know, as Chair of PFC’s Fundraising Committee, if we’ve made our budget for the year.  Last year was the best and we knew a bit before the 31st that we’d “made it”.

Like most charities, we get most of our donations in the month of December. It’s understandable since many folks only get around to looking at tax-eligible donations at year-end.  I get it, it’s just stressful! Our fundraising committee (which is an awesome and eclectic group including a farmer, a pastor, a retired nurse, an events planner, a lawyer, and a mortgage broker amongst others) has been dreaming up for the last 2 years how we can convert more people to being monthly donors.  This gives us a way to feel comfortable we will achieve our budget, without waiting for December 31 st each year.

Then it came to us.

What could be a stronger visual than 100 of our neighbours joining together to help 100 of our neighbours receive amazing fresh food, a welcoming place to visit, and wonderful programs put on by a kick butt group of staff and volunteers?

Our #100NEIGHBOURSSTRONG campaign was born.

We sent off our ideas to the amazing Jennifer Kwong who volunteers her time as our graphic designer. (Follow her on Instagram).  When we asked some of our regular local business supporters to help by putting up red balloons and a poster and giving out postcards, each and every one of them said yes.

If you’ve never visited the Parkdale Food Centre, there are times when it’s so busy I have to step around folks to drop off whatever I’m popping in to get from the office or dropping off.  I often say hello and recognize faces.  I’ve been lucky enough to learn many names.  The resilience and ability of every visitor to PFC, to share a smile, keeps us never stopping in our quest to do more.

Whenever you visit PFC you can’t help but feel something.  It’s warmth and hope and there is usually some amazing smell coming out of the Don Flynn Community Kitchen.  Our talented chefs arrive each day not knowing what they will be cooking.  It might be a load of Hidden Harvest apples or Chef Pat Garland from Absinthe might have just dropped off a huge amount of ground beef.  No matter the ingredients, their talent and creativity always culminate in a beautifully plated delicious meal.

Whenever I waver about asking my friends to donate more or worry we are asking too much of our community, I  remember one boy.  He was about the same age as my son.  He was shy at first but we spent a bit of time as I went around shopping with him and his mom and sisters on a Food Bank day
when Karen wanted me to actually learn what it was like to use the Food Bank program.  He was helping his mom load their bags carefully so the heavy items weren’t all in one bag.  He knew he’d be helping to carry it home.  He was also helping to keep his boisterous little sisters in order since they were having fun (as kids should be!).  He was so polite.  I really wanted to ask for a hug at the end since I felt such a connection with him.  I was too shy to ask.

I am not too shy to ask you to consider becoming a monthly donor.  We currently have all types of monthly donors.  One is a new grad who donates 2 cartons of eggs on our Shopify Reverse Food Truck, for $8/month.  One is my friend’s parent who gives $100 per month.  Each and every one is unique.

For anyone on the fence and wondering about where the money is going:

It’s going to food.

We spend on average $10,000 a month in groceries on top of the truck-load of donations we get each Tuesday fr

om the Ottawa Food Bank and our neighbourhood retailers.

It’s going to staff.

A dedicated small group of compassionate individuals committed everyday to
helping provide not only food, but a smile and a set of ears to listen to how people are doing. I’ve got to go and turn my monthly donation back on, I’d “paused” it while I was on a work hiatus – but now it’s time to turn it back on. This community has it in them to be #100NEIGHBOURSSTRONG.

Join us and help us get to be #100NEIGHBOURSSTRONG by December 31st.

Learn more about our #100NEIGHBOURSSTRONG campaign here.

Kind Regards,

Hilary

Dovercourt WAVE Program runs their own Growing Futures Franchise

One of the projects of the Parkdale Food Centre is Growing Futures, a social enterprise that uses innovative growing systems to produce, market and sell fresh produce.

One of the participants is the Dovercourt WAVE Program, an autism program for adults. They have been running a franchise for the last seven months and here is what they have to say:

My favourite part about working the plants thus far, has been watching the group gain ownership of something that they have become passionate about. They really enjoy watering the plants and making sure the PH levels are good so that the plants are getting the right nutrients. They really enjoy when it is time to harvest- Weighing the lettuce, sorting through the good lettuce and the bad lettuce and then selling them at Dovercourt mostly to the Gold Club Members has been the highlight. They have made meaningful relationships with some of the clients and we now have returning clients every week who look forward to seeing us!
– Kelsey Saunderson, Supervisor

“I liked giving them water and watching them grow”
– Gabriel, Participant
“I worked with the plants and found it very relaxing. It was good to work with other apprentices”
-Jessie, Participant

Annual BBQ!

Written by: Kristen (Algonquin College Business Student)

The Friday before last, Food Centre hosted their annual summertime barbecue. As a first-time PFC barbecue-goer, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was greeted with pleasant surprises. It turns out that` everyone associated with the PFC is somehow friendlier than the last, and the burgers have so many condiment options, that I definitely shared some relish with my shirt.

I quickly learned that the BBQ was hardly about the food, though—people from all over Ottawa came together to connect, and some brave souls (I’m looking at you, Karen!) also danced together to the sound of De Jazz Guys. In case dancing and food weren’t enough to bring people together, there was also a play area for the kids—complete with foam building blocksthat were also kind of fun for us adults, too.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention Merry Dairy dropped by to grace us all with free soft cones and I’m pretty sure some of us snuck seconds. The sunshine cooperated and there was a special appearance by the Shoe Bank, who had an impressive selection of runners, boots, and other footwear.

All in all, my take-away from the PFC BBQ was that it’s so much more than a barbecue. It was a place for community to grow and connect with each other. If you have the chance, drop by PFC or Somerset West to see all the great things they do.

Note from Food Centre: “Throughout the year we have dozens of requests from students who are eager to have a volunteer experience. We welcome this! It is a wonderful opportunity to engage them in conversations about food charity and a system that often promotes, rather challenges, growing economic inequality. This guest blog was written by an Algonquin College business student. We hope that Kristen and her classmates came away with a better understanding of the important role compassion and advocacy play in the work we do.”

4th Annual Gala Wrap-up!

On Thursday June 1st, we hosted our fourth annual Gala –at the GCTC.   We loved welcoming donors, foodies, volunteers, Board Members, community supporters and some neighbours were thrilled to attend thanks to some tickets that were donated.  Our goal was to raise $20,000 which would pay for two months of our summer grocery bills.

We were thrilled with the generosity of everyone who attended and are very excited to announce that we raised $23,000! Our shelves will be stocked over the summer months when we typically struggle to keep up with demand when many of our donors are away on summer vacations.

We couldn’t put on the event without the amazing generosity of our food providers.  Food was graciously donated by Absinthe, Allium, Bar Laurel, DISH, Holland’s Cake & Shake, Supply and Demand, Stella Luna Gelato, Thyme & Again, and Urban Element. Folks were raving about the food all night and loved interacting with the chefs at the various stations.

Thanks to Beyond the Pale for donating the beer and Jeff Hill from BMO Nesbitt Burns for being our wine sponsor. A special thanks to Sheila Whyte for donating a crew of amazing servers from Thyme & Again which kept the evening flowing perfectly.

The Peptides blew us away with their energy and amazing music. People enjoyed hitting the dance floor and partying to welcome summer!

The Silent Auction tables upstairs and downstairs were busy with amazing prizes. Bidding was fierce!  We were thrilled with the generosity of local business owners who provided great prizes to help us meet our fundraising target.  The hottest prize of the night went to the custom designed barn-board dining table which was so popular we sold it twice!  Other great prizes included donations from Thyme & Again, Uproar Paint and Paper, and Oresta Organics were just a few of the generous donors who provided prizes for the auction.  We had many happy prize winners at the end of the night and a few folks regretting they hadn’t placed that last bid in time! We’ve been requested to have an airhorn for next year to warn people when the final bids need to be in!

13: A Social Enterprise, youth entrepreneurs were sharing samples of their new spice mixes. This year’s cohort is close to wrapping up their year and we were bursting with pride to see their confidence in sharing with folks what the program has meant to them. Our community helpers from Fisher Park Summit were there to greet folks at the door and share their experiences with our Growing Futures program and making pesto which some lucky guests got as a Thank you gift.  These helpers volunteer regularly at our Centre and truly understand the various programs we offer our neighbours.

This is our largest fundraiser of the year. The supporters are many but the need remains.  We feel the community support.  Thanks to all of you for letting us raise the funds we need to support your neighbours.

Until next year!

Photos by JR Photography

Music, Dancing and Food Security

 

Photo Credit: Valerie Keeler

The PepTides are thrilled to be playing music in support of the Parkdale Food Centre at the Great Canadian Theatre Company on June 1.

One sunny afternoon, we stopped in at Parkdale to say a neighbourly hello. Instantly we felt right at home—and not just because manager Karen Secord was sporting a shock of saucy green hair (if you’ve seen The PepTides’ coifs, you’ll understand!). Every person working in the space had a clear sense ofpurpose and exuded friendliness.

Karen proceeded to explain that “we are a food bank that doesn’t believe in food banks.” Wait, what? What she meant, as we discovered, was that collecting canned beans in a food drive, while a laudable gesture, doesn’t really get at the root causes of why people in need can’t feed themselves in the first place.

Within the space of a few minutes, we saw people cooking their own food, growing their own food, sourcing their own food—even planning how they could make a business selling lettuce to local restaurants and teaching basic business skills to teenagers. Those teenagers, equipped with those basic business skills, will be much better able to feed themselves in their 20s and 30s than they would if they had simply opened a can of beans for lunch.

We found ourselves remembering an old quotation: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” This is powerful stuff. And light years ahead of what we were expecting.

Our field trip to the Parkdale Food Centre also struck home for another reason: food insecurity is a reality for many artists. A report from the Canadian Independent Music Association speaks of how indie artists (like ourselves) spend 29 hours a week on music and bring in just $7,228 per year. This four-figure salary leaves our colleagues vulnerable in countless ways.

For a stretch of several months in 2015, PepTides founder Claude MarQuis relied on a food bank just to get enough calories to make it through the day. “Food insecurity can affect anyone, but don’t ever be ashamed,” he says. “More than a trillion dollars a year is spent globally on military expenditures. That’s astronomically crazy. Food banks are the humane necessity where the current system has let humanity down. Poverty is not necessarily self-induced. It takes a village to create poverty. And to fix it.”

If the work of the Parkdale Food Centre makes you want to dance, that’s exactly what you should do.

Come to the gala on June 1 and join the circle.

Congratulations to the Parkdale Food Centre Team!

written by Jocelyn Campbell

Dear Karen, Sue and Alissa,

I just wanted to thank you for inviting me to the launchpad for Growing Futures. I call it a launchpad because I believe it truly is an initiative that has the sky as its limits! 150 tower gardens is just the beginning.

What a great job the PFC team did to bring it all together yesterday at the Innovation Centre! I enjoyed myself tremendously. What a wonderful turnout! The energy in the hall was contagious.

Connaught P.S. students at the Growing Futures LaunchI enjoyed talking to and visiting the different businesses operated by the students. The children had boundless enthusiasm! So nice to see. I asked one of the children if he planned on having his own business some day, and without any hesitation, he said, “For sure!” I am certain there were many like him in attendance yesterday.

It is obvious that a lot of work and time went into making this day possible. The event was super well-organized.

The fancy drinks (nice touch), the speeches (so much enthusiasm!), the excellent video, the letters written by the students to promote the towers “Buy a tower NOW!”, (I almost bought one on the spot!😉) the great food offerings, the Ottawa U photos… all contributed to make the launching of Growing Futures a huge success.

The children are learning so much. This initiative will indeed make life more equal for many of them thanks to their own efforts, initiative and commitment. What a wonderful gift you have given to the children! You are making a lasting impact on their lives.

Congratulations!

Pasta 101 with Chef Patrick of Absinthe

Pasta, Wine, Good Friends and a Great Cause

Sunday, March 26, 2017 from 10am to 2pm at Absinthe

Can you think of a better Sunday brunch than one in which, under the guidance of one of Ottawa’s great chefs and his “lovable” sous chef for the day, you make your own stuffed pasta , then along with some great wine and a lot of new friends sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labour? I cannot think of a better Sunday brunch. AAbsinthend to make the day perfect, all monies raised go to support the many innovative programmes here at the Parkdale Food Centre.

 

 

With Absinthe’s chef Owner Partick Garland as your chef and teacher, you and 29 of your new best friends will start the morning off at 10am with coffee/tea and cookies. Nothing like a little sugar and caffeine to get everyone going.  Chef Patrick will lead everyone through a kitchen and cooking orientationottawafoodie2012pastamaker2 session and his sous chef for the day, rock star city councillor Jeff Leiper will be there to help out. We’ll warm up with a simple and universal pasta dough making exercise and then get into the fun part of the day, moving on to pasta rolling and stuffing activities. Here’s where you get to see and hopefully learn the magic of great pasta. We’ll wrap up the kitchen work with how to store and cook the pasta once it’s been made.

 

 

And then comes your reward. You get to sit down and enjoy a three course meal which includes the pasta you have just made. You start absintheinside2with Absinthe’s delicious Rosemary Focaccia followed by a  Tortellini Stuffed with Ricotta and Spinach in a Chunky Vegetable and Herb Ragu Romano appetizer and then the main course, Cannelloni Filled with Mushroom, Goat Cheese and Rosemary, Smoked Tomato Coulis Mozzarella. Dessert is Nona’s Tiramisu. And of course, there’s great wine to match the meal.

We hope you will be able to join us. To purchase tickets and reserve your spot, go to our Pasta 101 Page.

 

 

 

The ‘Growing Futures’ project at Connaught Public School

My wife, Joan, and I had high expectations when we went to observe a grade 4-5 class learn and work on their Growing Futures project that was already underway.  Nevertheless, we came away from the experience two hours later astounded by what we had witnessed.  The centrepiece in the classroom was the project’s ‘food tower’ which was lush with lettuce and herbs growing out of pockets on its sides.IMG_0833

The Project Manager and cheerleader for the project in this and other Ottawa schools is Sue Hall.  She has already successfully introduced the Growing Futures in two Connaught School classes, and in other Ottawa schools, with more to come.  She does not hide her excitement.

The teacher of the class of about 20 kids, was Michele Richardson.  Joan and I had grown up in the days when teachers’ lectured, with students only lightly engaged.  Here, virtually all 20 students participated with questions and suggestions, and excitement – they clearly loved this class.  The nature of the project was key to this, but so was Ms. Richardson, who gently controlled the proceedings.  On this day there was another central person, Wentsi Yeung, owner of Culture Kombucha which produces and wholesales a healthy drink that is sold in local stores.  The kids listened closely to the description of her operations, including how she soIMG_0836ld product, the production process, and a lot more.  Questions and suggestions flowed from the kids (“how much do you pay your staff”; “why don’t you use a food truck”).  The kids were clearly learning a lot about how to grow food, nutrition values, keeping financial records, and how to work as a group, etc.  Next they will be learning about marketing.  Significantly, Wentsi Yeung is also the class’s business partner.  As this class closed she bought all the food tower’s herbs, while the kids cut off the lettuce for use in their lunches that day.  New plants will be introduced into the tower the next class.

This experience will make a small but enduring difference in the development of these children.  Joan and I were grateful to observe a part of that experience.

What Public Relations Students learned at the Parkdale Food Centre

PFcABOUT US

Our journey with the Parkdale Food Centre started in late September 2016. Myself and six of my amazing Algonquin College public relations (ACPR) colleagues were put to the test to find a local charity who we would be representing for the purpose of our term-long charity pitch assignment.

While choosing a charity to represent may seem like no easy feat, we as a team were set on working alongside an organization that continually strives for a better future with less poverty, hunger, and illness in our communities. We all firmly believe in and value the importance of food but even more, we understand healthy food as being an essential part to living free of significant stress and sickness. Food is a powerful common denominator that unites us all as people. What is fascinating (and unfortunate) about this, is that despite the fact that food is a very basic necessity to us all, not everyone is fortunate enough to have consistent access to nutritional food. So, our group quickly reached out to Parkdale, a charity who we felt understood this struggle more than most.

WHAT PARKDALE HAS TAUGHT US

Parkdale is about more than just food. While providing healthy food to neighbours in need is certainly the foundation of this charity, they are about so much more. Under one roof, Parkdale combines a warm and inviting sense of community and support for all neighbours in need. They work each day to provide skills that educate and empower their neighbours to be able to provide fresh and wholesome meals for themselves and their families. They continuously strive to create and maintain this community, encouraging everyone to work together to create nutritious meals that can be shared and enjoyed amongst neighbours from all walks of life.