With several community partners, the GBBR was granted funds in 2014 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to pilot a program that would invite those interested in building cooking skills and making healthy meals together to cook once a week. It is an initiative that is open to all members of the Parry Sound community including lower income individuals and families, vulnerable young adults and adults with disabilities.
For 2019, Community Kitchens is being offered at the Mary Street Centre at St. James United Church, in partnership with Community Living Parry Sound. Mary Street Centre has been a Biosphere Member since 2017.
The program helps to provide access to healthy food in two meaningful ways: through meals and through food skills education. The program also increases food security for participants and offers them the opportunity to overcome social isolation. A number of participants have had their lives transformed by the program.
A typical session is four hours long and group sizes for this program are 10-18 participants per session. Recipes are shared, food is prepared, meals are eaten together, and leftovers are available to take home. Participants suggest meal ideas, the coordinator designs healthy meal plans on a budget, and everyone is encouraged to contribute $2 per session. This program has been successful in helping to build and strengthen the community in Parry Sound. Donations directly to St. James United Church are always welcome! View the Mary Street Centre Facebook page for program updates and schedules.