Thirteen Muesli Auditions for CBC’s Dragons’ Den

13 Muesli Dragons Den audition

Dragon's Den auditions today!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhh! #dragonsden #dragonsdenauditions #13muesli #thirteenmuesli

A photo posted by Thirteen: A Social Enterprise (@13muesli) on

Parkdale Food Centre’s social enterprise, 13 Muesli, recently auditioned for CBC’s popular Dragons’ Den program.

“It was a big opportunity for Thirteen Muesli that we have never experienced before.”—Glodie Iragi

The thirteen high schoolers started their business last year with $2800 and were asking the Dragons for funding to help grow their business and  access the Dragons’ savvy as mentors.

Bhavana Gopinath at the Kitchissippi Times talked to 13 Muesli about their business, audition, and goals for 2016. Read the entire article at The Kitchissippi Times.

The Nature of Giving

Nature was the prominent theme as Cindy Scott and Roger Bryanton hosted their second annual ‘pop up’ Art Show and Sale in support of the Parkdale Food Centre. Once again, local artists Christopher Griffin and Nicole Allen donated 15% of the evening’s sales to support PFC’s “good food” programs for neighbours in need.

Nicole’s brilliant florals, dramatic landscapes, and cheeky birds were a popular choice as guests got a head start on their holiday shopping. Two ‘big birds’- “Old Soul” and “The Optimist”- kept a close eye on the action as buyers snapped up Nicole’s blooming vases, rugged nature scenes, and feisty feathered friends.

Fresh from completing two major installations at the new Glebe Mobility Hub and Pomeroy House restaurant, Christopher offered art lovers an array of haunting nudes, original cement etchings and an eclectic selection of vibrant street scenes and animal life inspired by recent travels to Cuba, Panama, and locales closer to home, like Patterson Creek and Brown’s Inlet.

The evening included first time art buyers (and newlyweds!), avid collectors, holiday shoppers and those who simply wanted to appreciate the talent and creativity of two very dedicated and generous artists.

The event raised over $2000 in just over 4 hours – funds that will make a big difference over the holiday season and as Parkdale Food Centre plans its programs for 2016.

Thanks to Cindy, Roger, Christopher and Nicole for demonstrating the true nature of giving.

Learn more about Nicole Allen: Website | Facebook 

Learn more about Christopher Griffin: Website | Facebook


Nicole Allen and Christopher Griffin


First time art buyers – and newlyweds!



First time art buyers – and newlyweds!


Cindy Scott, Nicole Allen & Virginia Vince of Bloomfields Flowers


PFC at Ottawa’s Spur Festival

Last weekend, the PFC’s Karen Secord moderated a panel at the Spur festival held in Ottawa. The panel, called “From Hunger to Health in the Nation’s Capital” brought together a group to talk about food security that included Kaitrin Doll, an Anti-Poverty Community Engagement Worker at the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres, Pierre Desrochers, a Professor of Geography, U of T Mississauga Campus, and Elaine Power Professor of Sociocultural Studies, Queens University.

The group discussed why the responsibility to feed and the right to food are about more than just basic nutrition, and centered around the seventy-five thousand residents in Ottawa that are unable to access nutritious food, along with the 12 percent increase in food bank users that has occurred over the last three years.

For a majority of panellists at the discussion From Hunger to Health in the Nation’s Capital, food was only the starting point of the discussion. The main issue was poverty.

Some great coverage and opportunities to have further discussion resulted:

For more information about the Spur Festival, visit their website at

All About Food – A Community Walkathon!

A great new event is happening in our community! The All About Food Community Walkathon is taking place on Sunday, October 18, 2015. Join your family, friends, neighbours, and a number of great organizations for a 2.5km walk in our community to help fund various food programs at the participating organizations.

All proceeds from this Walkathon will help fund the various food programs at these participating organizations:

Cash donations at this multi-agency event will be divided equally between the organizations, or donations can be made by cheque to a specific organization from the list above. A tax receipt will be issued for all donations of $20.00 or more. Thank you!

Sunday, October 18th, 2015. Rain or shine!

  • 12:30 PM – Registration & Pledge Form Drop Off @ St-Luke’s Table
  • 1:00 PM – Depart from St Luke’s Table (760 Somerset Street West)
  • Pit Stop – Parkdale Food Centre at 30 Rosemount Avenue
  • Final Stop (3:00PM) – Parkdale United Church at 429 Parkdale Avenue

Maps will be provided at the starting point, and volunteers will guide you along the way if needed. Agency information and tours will be provided so you can learn more about the important work that we do. Information about the Dalhousie Food Cupboard will be available at St Luke’s Table. Refreshments will be provided!

Interested in participating? Download the pledge form, collect pledges, and mark your calendars!

“Awesome” news!

We’re excited to share the news that the PFC’s Karen Secord has been selected as the recipient of September’s Awesome Ottawa award. This $1000 no strings attached grant from the Ottawa chapter of the Awesome Foundation, an ever-growing worldwide network of people devoted to forwarding the interest of awesome in the universe.

“I run a food bank in an area of Ottawa that is fast becoming gentrified,” explains Karen. “But the 14 rooming houses, transition house, mental health housing, family shelter, and Ottawa Community Housing buildings tell a different story. I want to put a community fridge on a street corner in Hintonburg. ”

To read the full story, visit:


Cube for Food — Thursday September 24th


Please join us for a fun Party hosted by the Cube Gallery, on Thursday September 24th!

Join us from 7:00-9:30pm at Cube Gallery, 1285 Wellington St. W. for:

  • Funky (danceable) music by Bumpin Binary
  • Nibbles from Canvas, Supply & Demand, Thyme & Again, and Wellington Gastropub
  • Cash bar hosted by Petit Bill’s, with beer courtesy of Beyond the Pale

Grab some friends and join us for an evening of art, music, fun and a special “food cubed” silent auction. Tickets are $25, and can be purchased online via eventbrite at

Our 2015 Summer BBQ & Street Party

We could not have asked for anything better. Great weather, food, all our neighbours and music came together to make this year’s Parkdale Food Centre BBQ and now, street party a success.

A team of volunteers worked tirelessly for  three days to prepare 900 burgers, 100 hot dogs, 20kg of pulled pork, halal chicken, 6 dozen sausages, many bowls of salads and endless plates of condiments. Early in the morning on the day of the BBQ, the team was back again in the kitchen putting everything in order.

IMG_20150715_103644 IMG_20150715_103707 IMG_20150715_104157 IMG_20150715_104218

And then there was the team on the street. Tables, chairs, tents and signs all needed to be found and set up for the party. Luckily, we had lots of help that day from our volunteers, neighbours and a few last minute volunteers who were very good at printing.

IMG_5588 IMG_5577 IMG_5571 IMG_5590

If there’s a microphone and a crowd, you know Karen will be there in a flash! At 11am sharp, Karen declared the party on and soon the smell of burgers on the grill, music and children’s laughter filled the street.

IMG_5623 IMG_5606 IMG_5649 IMG_5604


And our neighbours had a great time. There was  a balloon lady who was very popular. Hoola hoops. Music and of course, just time to sit down, chat and enjoy the day.

IMG_5655 IMG_5660 IMG_5686 IMG_5694

Of course, with a BBQ you need a burgers, BBQ and  grill chefs. Our Chair along with, Ben Jolliffe from the Resurrection Church whose congregation sponsored all the condiments and salads and Tom from Hintonburger who’s been at every BBQ event we’ve had stepped in to grill up the burgers. By all accounts, given how few burgers and sausages were left, they did a fantastic job. All the meat was purchased thanks to a very generous donation from PSAC.  And to go with those burgers were pulled pork, salads and condiments.

IMG_5734Don IMG_5806 IMG_5932 IMG_5771 IMG_5768 IMG_5766IMG_5769IMG_5774

We had lots of visitors that day including our neighbours, people just new to area, some very young visitors, local police, the construction workers, the postal woman and whoever else was attracted by the laughter and smells. We estimate that we had 500 people visit us that day.

IMG_5876 IMG_5836 IMG_5832 IMG_5831 IMG_5869 IMG_5935

Of course, a Parkdale Food Centre BBQ wouldn’t be complete without ice cream and Marlene Haley from the Merry Dairy stepped up with free ice cream which was an instant hit. I’m pretty sure we emptied their ice cream truck in record time. Marlene is another long time support who’s been at every BBQ event we’ve had.

IMG_5918 IMG_5896 IMG_5880 IMG_5948

And to finish the day in style, the Cake Shop provided a beach-themed cake that went so well with the hot day and fun.

IMG_5920 IMG_5819

Then the dancing started. And we all know that Karen cannot resist an open mike or a dance floor. And she soon had lots of company.

IMG_5930 IMG_5907 IMG_5903 IMG_5901

And that was our 2015 BBQ and Street Party, the first one at our new location and a tradition that we plan to continue for a long time.

IMG_5827 IMG_5859 IMG_5858 IMG_5748Karen IMG_5713 IMG_5810

(Photos by Nancy Mooney, you can find her on Twitter @NancyfromCanada)


Sprouting Community Gala — Sold out, $15K raised, and a surprise award all in the same evening!

On May 7th, the Parkdale Food Centre was the venue for our 2nd Annual “Sprouting Community Gala”. We were thrilled to open our new space to many folks who hadn’t yet had a chance to tour it.

It was a lovely warm evening and the party even spilled out onto the back deck! (People were curious to see how our Community Garden was coming along). We transformed the Centre with Brussel Sprout-filled mason jars, twinkle lights and Brussel Sprout centerpieces. (We also learned that Brussel Sprouts confined in mason jars and a warm location for a long time sweat quite a bit!) After the Gala the mason jars were put away until our fall canning workshops and the Brussel Sprouts were fried up to make a delicious snack for our neighbours – we waste nothing!

IMG_3944  IMG_4057

We also had a huge surprise — just as we were about to thank everyone for attending and pull the lucky ticket winner for 2 tickets anywhere Porter Airlines flies — to be greeted by Rabbi Bulka. On behalf of the United Way, he presented our organization with a Community Builder award. We had absolutely no idea he was coming! His amused smile as we scrambled to re-jig our agenda was quite funny!


We then made him pose with our Board Chair, Treasurer, Director and Jeff Leiper outside in front of our Reverse Food truck. Watch for this truck hitting the streets over the next few weeks!


A spirit of warmth and friendship infused the evening as our volunteers, PFC Patrons, and neighbours came together to help raise funds to support the Centre’s mounting grocery bills over the summer. Terry Owen from Buzztone Productions entertained the crowd, wandering around with his jazz saxophone. Thank you to Edelweiss for their donation of some of the rentals.

Throughout the evening, our  “gala goers” were treated to some memorable morsels from our friends at The Urban Element, Dish Catering, Absinthe, and Supply & Demand. Desserts were on hand from Holland Cake & Shake and The Merry Dairy cart, which our volunteer Ben wheeled around — chased by fans of the Merry Dairy!

IMG_3974  IMG_4014
IMG_4050  IMG_3978
IMG_3958  IMG_3949

Beyond the Pale generously provided an array of delicious local brews and guests also enjoyed a special sangria from Dish Catering!

IMG_3990  IMG_3952

Guests also had a chance to bid on a fantastic lineup of Silent Auction prizes. The generosity of local business owners who provided great prizes to help us meet our fundraising target was incredible, and the silent auction included: Twiss & Weber, Historic Building Co, Saslove’s, Beyond the Pale, Gallery 3, Agave, Uproar, Kitchenalia, Merge, and the GCTC. The bidding was brisk & competitive.  We had many happy prize winners and many of the items went over value!

IMG_4044 IMG_3956

It was a fantastic evening. Thanks to everyone’s generosity we were able to meet our fundraising goal and raise $15,000 in a single night!  These funds will help us stock our shelves over the summer months, when we typically struggle to keep up with demand during a time when many of our donors are away on summer vacation. Our monthly grocery bills have mounted to over $9,000 in recent months, due to an increase in the number of neighbours we help and an increase in the number of programs we run. We couldn’t continue to run all of our programs without such a giving Community.

This was our first foray into a hosting a large-scale event in our new space and we were thrilled to show it off. A special thanks to many of our neighbours who came to give it a good cleaning in advance, since they are so proud of the space and wanted it to gleam. Also a special thanks to the extended gang from Dish Catering, who donated their time to help us be able to run our event smoothly! Thanks also to the Fundraising Committee for all the work ahead of time and on the day of. You guys were amazing!

We hope to see you at next year’s Gala! We’re already counting down the days.

The Wellington Record Club

The lights are dimmed, candles are lit, cell phones are switched off, and the unmistakable sound of a needle hitting a groove means another meeting of the Wellington Record Club is underway.

Photo Credit: Rob Riendeau

I first took the idea of a record listening club to Shane at the Wellington Gastropub about three years ago, based on a BBC article about similar groups in the UK. I knew that Shane loved music, and had similar tastes to me, and I felt the pub’s White Room would be a suitable venue. Shane took my simple idea and created something far better than I had ever envisaged, partnering with a local speaker manufacturer, breweries and record stores to provide monthly meetings that quickly became popular amongst the city’s music lovers for the high-quality listening experience. Notably, all proceeds from the meetings are donated to the Parkdale Food Centre – between $400 and $500 each month.

The idea behind the Record Club is to actively sit and listen to an entire album (or two) on vinyl, with no distractions – something unusual for many of us in an age where we have thousands of songs on our phones but often play music without really listening, it’s just background while driving, working or being otherwise occupied. To help promote focused listening, we have a few light-hearted ‘rules’ for the duration of each record – mainly that cell phones should be switched off and no talking until the music is over, at which time lively discussions about what we just heard usually arise.

The high-quality listening experience is provided by a pair of amazing Tetra Speakers, developed and built right here in Ottawa by Adrian Butts. They have to be heard to be believed, but the most frequent comment we hear is along the lines of “I’ve listened to that album countless times but tonight I heard things I’ve never heard before”.

The records we play are sourced either from our own collections, or from stores such as Compact Music and Hintonburg’s The Record Centre. The 23 meetings held to date have leaned heavily towards Shane and my tastes – English indie/alternative/classic rock, with Radiohead, the Beatles and the Clash amongst the early selections, and the most recent being a pair of meetings a week apart during which we listened to Led Zeppelin’s first four albums. We are looking to diversify the offerings and each meeting a sheet is passed around for attendees to suggest music for future evenings.

Before the music starts, the folks at the meeting enjoy delicious canapés provided by the Gastropub, and beer donated by Beaus or occasionally another brewery. The venue, food and beer are all provided by the Gastropub and kind supporters, enabling 100% of the requested $25 donation from each person to be passed directly on to the Parkdale Food Centre.

The only problem with Record Club is that there is so much music that we all want to listen to, that one meeting a month never seems like enough!

If you would be interested in attending a future meeting and helping to raise funds for the Parkdale Food Centre, follow @thegastroub on Twitter, or check the pub’s website at

Thanks to PFC supporter (and Wellington Record Club regular Ian Brown) for this guest post, and to Rob Riendeau for the photo, above! 

Sprouting our Garden

Several keen volunteers braved the blowing snow and wind on Friday to help launch Parkdale Food Centre’s backyard garden.


Using newspaper and soil donated from Home Hardware, we planted 75 tomato seeds into small pots. Once the seeds grow into seedlings, some will be planted in the garden and others will be shared with neighbours for their home gardens.


Tom, a master gardener who is also one of the Centre’s cooking workshop leaders, stands in front of the space of our future vegetable garden.


Over the next few weeks and months the site will be transformed into a thriving garden with raised beds, trellises, pots and benches. The garden will be a demonstration site for growing food, and a place to gather to share ideas, inspiration and experience.