We’re hiring! Food Rescue Coordinator

Do you believe that healthy food is a human right, and that food can be a powerful tool for creating resilient, connected people and neighbourhoods? Parkdale Food Centre is looking for a dynamic team member to lead the onboarding of food donors and social service agencies to expand Foodrescue.ca throughout Ottawa, in partnership with Second Harvest.

The Food Rescue Coordinator will be responsible for engaging food donors (including retailers, restaurants and other food service businesses) and social service organisations that require food (this could range from emergency food service providers to organisations that simply want to supplement snacks) within the City of Ottawa in recovering food utilizing the Foodrescue.ca platform. The Coordinator will also train donor and receiving agency employees and volunteers on best practice use of Foodrescue.ca. We are looking for a candidate with an outgoing personality, able to communicate clearly and enthusiastically with a wide variety of people to gain support for food rescue.

Responsibilities:

  • Cultivate, nurture, and build positive relationships with food businesses and social service agencies in order to solicit participation in the Food Rescue Program
  • Visit participating donors and recipients to provide technical support, onboarding, training and problem-solving
  • Support the planning and coordination of activities for this new program
  • Collect and maintain accurate records of activities and submit monthly reports
  • Identify and evaluate risks associated with program activities and take appropriate action
  • Build ongoing relationships with agencies to further expand food rescue

Experience, skills and qualifications:

  • Experience with program management and implementation (2+ years)
  • Experience working with community social service agencies or in the non-profit sector
  • Experience building and maintaining relationships across a large cross-section of partners
  • Experience with monthly and quarterly reporting and excellent record keeping; the preferred candidate will be able to demonstrate a professional history of having done similar work.
  • Demonstration of volunteer management
  • Knowledge of Ottawa’s food, farming and restaurant community
  • Outstanding ability to work independently
  • Aptitude for technology with willingness to patiently educate others on functionality
  • Skills in providing training
  • Valid Class G driver’s license with access to vehicle that can be used for frequent travel (mileage compensated)
  • As passion for food justice and environmentalism

The following would be an asset for this position:

  • Bilingualism
  • Sales experience within the food industry
  • Safe Food Handling Certification

This position is a full-time, 8-month contract with funding until 31 December 2019. The nature of work means that the Coordinator must be able to work some flexible hours, including evenings and weekends as required. The person should be ready to start ASAP.

Compensation: $39,000 – $40,000 annually commensurate with experience

Closing Date:

Interested applicants may forward their resume and cover letter in confidence no later than Friday March 29, 2019 to work@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Parkdale Food Centre is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We thank all applicants for their interest in this position. Only applicants considered for an interview will be contacted.

Fork Off! February 2019

Article written by Deb Abbott. Thank you to Sarah Stewart for the photos!

Have you ever tried to prepare a meal just using ingredients from a Food Bank? That’s the challenge that two of Ottawa’s finest chefs faced when they participated in the Parkdale Food Centre’s ‘Fork Off!’ Competition.  Knowing that Parkdale Food Centre stocks food from Canada’s Food Guide is helpful and means there will be fresh ingredients including fresh protein. But still –  preparing a three course restaurant style meal for judges can be pretty intimidating, especially when you normally have a fully stocked kitchen with fancy equipment and all the pots and pans that you would ever need.

Almost three  weeks ago Chef Patrick Garland from Absinthe was defending his title against Chef Tim Stock from Thyme and Again – Chef Garland had won the Fork Off twice before and was defending his title.  Both Chefs arrived early to check out the contents of the Food Bank at Parkdale Food Centre only to find meagre offerings – after a busy week of helping neighbours the shelves were low.  There were canned sardines, canned salmon, canned legumes, lentils, rice, canned tomatoes, peanut butter, baby food, and dried pasta. And in the fridge there was some fresh chicken, fish and ground beef as well an assortment of fresh fruit and vegetables plus three challenge vegetables that if they could incorporate into their dishes, they would receive bonus points. Do you know what Chinese Okra, Lila Malanga or Opal Squash are?  Not your run of the mill ingredients you find in a restaurant kitchen but ingredients that Parkdale Food Centre receives regularly from Produce Depot donations and Chef Simon from our kitchen must come up with some inventive ways to prepare.

The Chefs also  each brought along a sous chef, Chef Garland had his young nephew while Chef Stock recruited his wife who by day is a kindergarten teacher.  Each Chef had ten minutes to shop and then an hour to prepare at least three courses.  The tension was high in the kitchen as the guests crowded around to watch; imagine being less than ten feet away and watching the battle unfold. If you were at a restaurant you would pay well over $100 a person to attend such an event.  But tickets for this event go for a low price of $40 per person. And the entertainment value can’t be beaten.  Plus, before the event began  there was  amazing selection of appetizers and sweets from Thyme & Again, Urban Element, Marcie’s Cafe, Chef Simon Bell, Sarah Stewart, and Deb Abbott. Dominion City provided a wonderful selection of beer.

 

 

The judges and guests were treated to delicious dishes from both Chefs – dishes like butter chicken with pear baby food, served over sautéed kale in Opal Squash boats and Pakoras fried up just perfectly with rice flour.  Chicken stuffed with a mixture that included butternut squash baby food.  Most dishes used the Thirteen Social Enterprise spice blends adding a delicious warmth and depth of flavour.   And we received a generous donation of beautiful Olive Oil from the local Hintonburg business Aurelius Food to enhance each of the dishes.  The competition was stiff between the two Chefs but in the end Chef Stock won by a margin of just two points. What a night!

If you are looking for a great evening out, where you can eat amazing food, enjoy lots of entertainment with battling Chefs, and want to support the Parkdale Food Centre boy do we have a deal for you.  And all the money raised for this event goes towards kitchen programs. Watch out on the the Parkdale Food Centre web site and on our social media pages for the date of the next event. You won’t be disappointed!

Thanks to Deb for this article and to Sarah Stewart for the pictures below.

An epic battle between Absinthe's Pat Garland and Thyme and Again's Tim Stock

Posted by Parkdale Food Centre on Sunday, February 24, 2019

 

An international love story for the Parkdale Food Centre

I came to Canada from Australia for love in July 2014 and was getting to know my local area in the weeks after I arrived. As I was reading local news, I came across articles about this local firebrand, Karen Secord, who was saying that we shouldn’t be giving out Kraft Dinner to people because their health was worth more than that. I turned to my (then) boyfriend and said: “What is Kraft Dinner?” and the response was “It’s one lab accident away from being plastic; you don’t want to eat that!”

With that comment, I thought, I’d like to get to know this Karen Secord. I traipsed down to the old location at 89 Stonehurst and the woman with the red hair that I had seen on CTV greeted me with a huge smile. As I was being shown around, there were some people cooking in the small church kitchen. At that point, Karen was distracted (as is often the case!) and took one of the kitchen volunteers with her. I washed my hands and continued chopping onions where the other person had left off – and the rest is history.

Lunch made by Susan at 89 Stonehurst on 25 November 2014

For three months, every Tuesday and Thursday myself and two other volunteers made lunch. Soups, stews, muffins, whatever we had to work with that day – we turned it into something healthy and nutritious for the neighbours. When the time came for PFC’s big move to Rosemount Ave, Karen and (still) boyfriend and I stayed up until midnight the day after Halloween, blaring Michael Jackson and painting the walls that lovely yellow which is officially called “Harvest Gold”.

Sarah Stewart, Louise Fortier and Susan at 89 Stonehurst on 27 November, 2014

Unexpectedly, (now) husband and I moved to Washington D.C in July 2015 and I spent three years working at the Embassy of Canada. During this time, we continued to be monthly donors to PFC, and I thought about the centre a lot, especially when observing the homeless who sleep rough outside the Embassy. I thought a lot about how the services that existed for them in DC were not adequate, and how amazing it would be if they had a place like PFC.

I often look at the neighbours at PFC and think of my own parents who made the journey to Australia in the 1980s. While they have become the definition of a success story – the early years were hard. If a place like PFC had existed, perhaps it would have made it a little easier for them: somewhere where they would have been welcomed, could have shared their food and stories and become more of a part of a community. Parkdale Food Centre has been described as a ‘miracle’ by our neighbours. I don’t think that is hyperbole.

The kitchen on 2 December 2014, 4 days before move in day. What a change!

I’m now very proud to be an employee of PFC, as the Ottawa Food Network Coordinator, helping the 8 other organisations in our network bring the same joy to their communities, as we bring to ours. Together we are collaboratively supporting our members to increase the provision of fresh, healthy food, to bolster local donations to their cause, to change the notion that food-banking should be normal.

My story is an international story of love for PFC but it’s also an illustration of how a person can be at once a volunteer, a donor and an employee. Parkdale Food Centre is a place where we don’t have to fit into a box and where involvement is not tied only to one role.

Today, December 6th 2018, is the 4th year anniversary of that fateful move to Rosemount Ave, and on this occasion, I encourage those in our community to come in and visit! Stop by, have a coffee and talk to your neighbours. I also encourage you to please donate to our cause. We are only as strong as the incredible community of people who support us. At the end of each year it is always challenging to know whether we have enough to keep the lights on. Becoming a monthly donor helps us know what our cash-flow is throughout the year and empowers us to keep on doing the work we’re doing to make our community stronger and healthier, together.