Sustainable food. Food Security. Topics that in a rich and bountiful country such as ours are still a growing concern. Kingston non-profit organization, Loving Spoonful enhances access to healthy food through a variety of innovative programs.
Recently in Ontario, Local Food bill 130 has been reinvigorated to support the purchasing and growing of local food to assist with food access for everyone.
Loving Spoonful began through unwavering dedication from a small group of passionate individuals who wanted to ensure access and growth of food security in Kingston.
“Our purpose is to enhance access to fresh food in ways that are empowering, environmentally sustainable and inclusive – we do this in a variety of ways through education, maintenance of gardens and food reclamation,” Said Mara Shaw, Executive Director of Loving Spoonful.
What is food security? The World Health Organization defines it as “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. Commonly, the concept of food security is defined as including both physical and economic access to food that meets people’s dietary needs as well as their food preferences.
A recent KFL&A Public Health study suggests there is a lack of food skill and more education is required to teach basic food preparation, storage and growing skills. Loving Spoonful is delivering just that through insightful workshops such as: Gardening 101, Heirloom Seed harvesting and Food Preservation.
In March “Guilty Pleasures” was held at Olivea restaurant and supported by eight of Kingston’s top chefs, Clark Day, Stev George, Paul Miller, Derek Macgregor, John Saunders, Jay Legere, Meaghan Harris and Wendy Whitall. They all worked together under the theme of ‘guilty pleasures’. Guests enjoyed a sinful delight prepared by these chefs made out of their favorite items to eat post shift. Everything from delectable chips and dip, fried bologna and oyster Rockefeller to crème eggs. The event raised awareness and funds for the Loving Spoonful organization.
In addition to workshops we also assist with the promotion, maintenance and distribution of fresh food from twenty-three Kingston’s community gardens. “We have ten gardens with allotments, and a number of other gardens we convene.” Said Mara
The School GROW programs have five school gardens where grade 5’s plant and maintain then harvest in the fall. It teaches them about the importance of nutrients in fresh food, gets kids involved and teaches them this added skill.
The “Grow a Row” campaign has just kicked off and runs till October – good time to donate some of your own harvest to help those in need. Volunteers deliver it directly to shelters, hot meal programs, pantries and drop-in centres across Kingston. The overall goal is to receive over 6200 pounds of fresh food donations.
“Grow A Row is a great way to give back. We collect your healthy fresh food and then deliver it to community meal programs,” said Mara Shaw. “And, keep in mind that every tomato donated is used, in the community which you live.”
Drop off locations are as follows:
Kingston Public Market
Tues & Thurs 2:30 – 4:40 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Memorial Centre Farmers Market
Sunday Noon-2 p.m.
Sydenham Street United Church
82 Sydenham St.
Mon, Tues, Wed & Fri 9 a.m. – Noon & 7 – 8:30 p.m.
North: Kingston Standard Church – 1185 Sunnyside at Sydenham Rd.
Wed & Fri 10 a.m – noon
East: St. Marks Anglican Church – 268 Main St, Barriefield Village
Tues 3-4:40 p.m.
West: St. Paul the Apostle Church – 11 Taylor Kidd Blvd.
Tues 9 am – Noon
Since 2008, more than 95,000 pounds of fresh, healthy food has been collected and distributed by Loving Spoonful. Why not set aside some time to volunteer in the gardens, on a committee, in the kitchen, financially or by delivering food.