Gratitude for Food, a hard working volunteer subcommittee of the local environmental organization ecoCaledon, has been meeting up on a monthly basis, chopping and sautéing their way to help reduce hunger in Caledon.
Since its inception in 2018, Gratitude for Food has been educating Caledon residents about the important role food can play in the fight against climate change. Anyone can have a positive impact on lowering greenhouse gases by eating as locally as possible, minimizing food waste, and choosing responsibly grown, plant-based foods as often as possible.
At first glance, Caledon wows visitors with its expansive green farmer’s fields, rolling hills, and its many charming villages. However, Caledon’s natural beauty disguises a sad reality facing all towns big and small – that some members of the community endure a daily struggle to access healthy, affordable food. Thankfully, Caledon Community Services operates a food support program at The Exchange on Healey Road in Bolton, which currently provides food to 827 Caledon residents living below the poverty line. (CCS 2021-2022 Community Impact Report)
Gratitude for Food members all adore food and love to cook! So they decided that a fun and fulfilling way to help reduce hunger in their community would be to go a step further than a donation to the food bank at The Exchange by getting together to cook and freeze complete meals. Enter Barb Imrie from the Palgrave United Community Kitchen who was able to help secure funding for the ingredients and a certified kitchen in which to safely prepare the meals.
The project’s aim is to provide visitors to The Exchange with access to healthy, plant-based meals that can be easily defrosted and served, to give families a much needed night off from cooking without having to spend money on a pricey take-out meal. To date the group has prepared and delivered over 100 meals including mushroom bolognese pasta sauce, Moroccan Red Lentil stew and root vegetable dahl. Ingredients are sourced from local retailers including Mount Wolfe Farm, a Caledon CSA that offers fresh, sustainably grown produce and other local foodstuffs.
To lower this project’s environmental footprint as much as possible, the members of Gratitude for Food have chosen to package their meals in reusable, returnable containers purchased from Friendlier, a company based in Southwestern Ontario, offering reusable containers for the food service industry. Visitors to The Exchange take home their meals in these containers, and simply rinse and return them to The Exchange on their next visit. Friendlier then collects the containers and returns them to their site where they are sanitized and resold.
Gratitude for Food hopes to continue its latest cooking project for as long as possible. If you’re interested in learning more about ecoCaledon or Gratitude for Food, please visit their website or email firstname.lastname@example.org. New members are always welcome!