13Muesli’s Young October

Written By: Ghita, Keren, Fatouma and Sarah

Included in Thirteen: A Social Enterprise’s grant t1his year from their anonymous donor was some money to help them to run 4 events to showcase other social enterprises and youth-run businesses. The 4 members of the 2015-2016 Thirteen team who stayed on to become youth mentors for the 2016-2017 team have become the organizers of these events.

Our first show called Young October took place at the Parkdale Food Centre on Oct 29 from 10 AM – 3PM. As youth mentors, we were responsible for advertising, inviting vendors, shopping for supplies & ingredients, and decorating. All of this on top of being the leaders for the departments that are run by our 9 new Muesli members! We were able to show off our leadership skills, organization skills, and learned how to budget for an event with help from our inspiring Team Leader, Sarah Stewart, as well as the awesome Eliza Von Baeyer from the widely-popular local holiday event ‘Craftalicious’.

The opportunity to run our own show was something the 2015 – 2016 team was interested in, but the opportunity did not rise until now. We are thrilled to be able to present these events!

Young October had multiple goals:

1. To give exposure to young entrepreneurs and social enterprises from the Ottawa area (who are all amazing!)

2. To get some of the Muesli parents involved in the program

3. To prove that youth are responsible and capable of running their own show

4. And finally to raise funds and awareness to the Parkdale Food Centre who we are under the umbrella of and who has provided us with a space to work plus endless support.

Our awesome vendor line-up included:

Spoonlickers Vegan Bakery: This social enterprise is run by two spunky elementary school3 aged girls who love animals. They sell delicious vegan cookies that they bake with their parents. Proceeds from their cookie sales go to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. We love the initiative that is taken by these two young ladies. It’s a work of art to see them work together and interact with their customers.

Our show was their very first show and they BLEW US AWAAAAAAAAAAY!!

SuraiTea: This new local company presents Syrian refugees with the opportunimg_2534-1ity to make and sell loose-leaf tea. Their goal is to create positive social change for new refugees by giving them the chance to be part of a growing business, acquire experience, business knowledge, and enter the Canadian work force. The jobs are offered to those who need it most, plus their tea is an amazing quality product! SuraiTea is also the 2016 winner of the Ottawa Social Impact Award (in the Social Enterprise Catergory) and we could not be happier for them!

5Cake Lab: There wouldn’t be muesli without Jo-Ann Laverty, the owner of Cake Lab! Jo-Ann has supported us from the very beginning of our project with her savvy business skills, patience and job- skills training and has been a regular volunteer mentor. She is also a huge supporter and volunteer for the Parkdale Food Centre. Her company Cake Lab makes sourdough cakes in a jar that are mouth-watering. We didn’t think twice about inviting her to be part of our first show!

Culture Kombucha: Wentsi Yeung is another one of our business friends. Her company 4makes delicious raw and organic sparkling probiotic tea brewed locally in small batches. She is a regular volunteer with Thirteen Muesli who has helped us streamline our production and packaging as well as helped Parkdale

Food Centre in so many other ways!

Food & Finance: This is another program that runs under the umbrella of the Parkdale Food Centre that is the brainchild of the awesome Karen Secord. It allows youth in schools and community centres to discover the food and finance world thanks to plants that are grown with the Tower Garden.

A Tower Garden is a hydroponic tower that grows fruits and vegetables. At our show, the harvested greens that were sold were grown with these Tower Gardens! The project is run by Sue Hall who is THE BEST HUMAN EVER. Sue Hall is a holistic nutritionist who is on the Parkdale Food Centre Board of Directors. She also works with the Thirteen team as a very committed volunteer mentor. She has been there for us since the beginning of muesli time. She has supported us, volunteered countless hours, mentored us and keeps us on our feet (and away from unnecessary sugar!).

Saralynimg_2531 Lichty Knitting: Saralyn is a regular volunteer at the Parkdale Food Centre. Not only that but a huge supporter of our program! She went as far as donating 50% of her sales at our show directly to the food centre. Her products are adorable! We can really tell she likes what she’s doing and that is awesome and inspiring for us to see!

The Muesli Moms: OUR 2MOMS ARE THE OGs. The moms of the 4 youth mentor team members were able to show the community their amazing cooking skills in what we called the ‘Muesli Mom Café’. We loved to see our mothers working together in the kitchen and help each other prep their different meals and plate them together for their customers. Our mothers volunteer together on a regular basis at the Parkdale Food Centre, and so our show was the cherry on top of their foodie friendship. WE LOVE YOU MOMS!

We can’t wait to host our next event Young February (more details to come!). Be sure to check it out and support some more fantastic young entrepreneurs and social enterprises!

A New Approach for an Experienced Social Worker

Hello! My name is Christine and I have been a BSW (Bachelor of Social Work) placement student with the Parkdale Food Centre since the beginning of September 2016.

profile-picIt became clear to me on my first day of working at PFC that, in the words of Dorothy; “Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore”!  The Food Centre broke the mold I was comfortable working in.  You see, I came to this placement with more than a decade of experience working in the field of social services, most recently food security.  Although I was very comfortable working from a person-centred approach, I never have been in a place where the volunteers, staff and clients are blended so well that you can’t tell who is who on most days.  Yes, there are name tags for volunteers but neighbours (clients) are also volunteers, so it is normal to see them in leadership roles.  Though this approach to service was new to me, I have adapted and can comfortably say I wouldn’t work in food security with any other approach than the one used here at PFC.  Simply, the people receiving the services need to be involved in the creation and running of them.  No one knows what they and their families need better than the person coming to the Food Centre for services. It makes sense that they are the ones in the kitchen helping to cook and clean and they are the ones stocking the shelves and helping their neighbours shop for their monthly allotment of groceries.

In my short stint at Parkdale, I think my heart has been opened as well as my mind.  I look at things from a glass half full perspective now as this is how I see the team’s (neighbours, volunteers and staff) approach is here.  No one is alone when they walk through Parkdale’s doors.  There is a team waiting to meet you where you are at and get you to where you want to go, all the while helping you to have a full belly of healthy food that always has an extra serving of love added to it.

To donate to the Parkdale Food Centre, please click here.

4th Annual Parkdale Food Centre Community BBQ

It all started  on Monday the same week. The excitement could be sensed in everyone’s words, and actions. The question that was trending was, “ are you coming to the barbecue?” or even “ do you know about the barbecue happening this Wednesday?” And that was only when they were talking because they were all busy working on something. From getting the barbecues ready to tidying up the place, without mentioning any of the kitchen duties, they were at it, they had to make it happen and it had to be done properly. Responsibilities were shared. Phone calls were being answered, orders picked up, cupboard checked twice, hamburger patties made, drinks made or bought, nothing was missing.

Then came the big day, Wednesday, July 13th. One would have thought that people were stressed but no, they were as casual as they can ever be. Knowing what they had to do and filling in on other tasks when need be.

As early as 9 am, they had started setting up already, and as soon as the set up was done, the fire was set up to the grills and the good smell of deliciousness paired with the live music were invading the whole neighborhood.

Just as last year, a section of the road was closed. This not only made it safe for people to dance and seat on the street, but it also attracted groups of passer-by putting an emphasis on PFC and it’s impact on the community.

The weather was great with a high of 32 and a low of 20. Funny how it started raining right when we were taking down the last tent ( proof that the weather was collaborative).

This year’s BBQ was generously supported by the Resurrection Church, which enabled us to buy all of the necessary items, including all of the hamburger and hotdog buns, watermelon, and salad ingredients. With these funds, we were also able to pay the wonderful band! The church also brought over their blue Imagination Blocks which the kids absolutely loved.

Just as well, we could not go without thanking the stores that generously donated their products. We find in this category Absinthe and Saslove meat shop, for their amazing burgers, Holland’s cake and shake for the giant cake they provided us with, and the Merry Dairy for their variety of ice cream. One can surely say that this year’s barbecue was a success, and all that, of course, would not be possible without the support of our community, and the hard work of the volunteers.

Blog post by Thiena Corlie Gapfasoni ~ Photos by Nancy 


Proposed New By-Laws

At our Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, the PFC membership will vote on the acceptance of new by-laws for the organization. We suggest you download the proposed new by-laws (pdf document) and read through them.

If you have any questions, please send them to our Board (board@parkdalefoodcentre.org).

PFC Proposed By-Laws April 16, 2016


PFC Board

PFC Coordinator Job Description

If  you are interested in this role, please submit resume and cover letter to us at  work@parkdalefoodcentre.org before end of day Wednesday December 9, 2015

As the PFC Coordinator, you will support the work of the Manager, providing administrative and coordination assistance. You will be responsible for coordinating required activities to ensure smooth and efficient operation of the Centres’ programs, including the emergency food program. This will include volunteer coordination as well as reviewing office procedures and implementation of new ones.

Operations, Logistics & Coordination 

  • Coordinates required activities to ensure smooth and efficient operation of the Centres’ programs, including the emergency food program.This could include but is not limited to:
    • Ordering and ensuring deliveries of food from the Ottawa Food Bank
    • Coordinating the distribution of food
    • Coordinating the logistics required for cooking workshops, or special events and activities (such as Hidden Harvest or Farm Gleaning)

Program Coordination

  • Conduct analyses and oversee administrative operations related to specific Centre programs which may include budgeting, contracting and project planning and management processes

Volunteer Coordination

  • Provide an open, friendly, welcoming and warm environment for all PFC volunteers
  • Coordinates volunteer program, including identifying volunteer requirements, training volunteers, scheduling volunteers, problem solving volunteer issues, supervising volunteers as required

Financial & Fundraising Support

  • Ensures all financial receipts are entered into financial management systems in a timely and efficient manner
  • Coordinates outgoing payments
  • Liaises with Board Treasurer
  • Assists with fundraising efforts, including events or funding proposals


  • Oversees collection and input of all Centre data – including volunteer, client and other. Ensure data is being collected appropriately, efficiently and in a timely manner.
  • Oversees and co-ordinates office administrative procedures and review, evaluate and implement new procedures
  • Assemble data and prepare periodic and special reports, manuals and correspondence
  • Maintains accessible materials outlining Centre procedures, such as a binder of kitchen procedures
  • When asked, records minutes of meetings and distributes minutes appropriately
  • Answers incoming correspondence (phone calls, mail, emails) on the office main line
  • Ensures that the Centre is kept neat and tidy

Specific Qualifications:

  • Require a Secondary School Diploma and a Post-secondary college or university degree is preferred or equivalent experience
  • Proficient in Microsoft Outlook, Excel and Word
  • Familiarity with Google products – Gmail, Docs and Drive is preferred
  • This is a detail-oriented role, requiring patience and perseverance. Strong prioritization, planning and organization skills
  • Ability to work in a confidential environment
  • Availability to work a flexible schedule
  • Must have a valid drivers licence and be approved for driving the PFC Van. Otherwise, access to a car is required.
  • Must be a good communicator. Ability to communicate verbally and in writing experiences, needs, and suggestions.
  • Must have a good understanding of the challenges faced by vulnerable populations and/or those living in poverty and a desire to work with them.

Working Conditions:

  • Part-time work. Minimum of 17 hours per week. Will require more hours during the month of February when the Manager is away.
  • The exact hours of work will be determined in consultation with the Manager
  • Some evening and weekend work may be required.
  • Rate of $16.21/hr
  • The contract will be from January 2016 to December 1, 2016. There is a possibility of renewal at the end of the contract.

Please submit resume and cover letter to us at work@parkdalefoodcentre.org before end of day Wednesday December 9, 2015.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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