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First, our group extends our appreciation to Neighborhood Small Grants for allowing us this opportunity.
Last year, some friends gathered out of a desire to learn how to can their own jam. By the end of the canning process, they felt empowered to continue making their own preservatives and also felt more connected to each other. The group wanted to invite more people but felt financial resources were a barrier. By receiving a grant this year, an additional 5 people were able to learn how to can tomato sauce and salsa.
Our project included two canning workshops and concluded with a potluck for the workshop participants’ family and friends. The workshops were a supportive environment. Not only did we help each other with the process of canning tomato sauce and salsa, but we shared about our lives, both the challenges and victories. This environment was extended into the potluck. Those who were there introduced themselves to the group and shared what they would like to learn next about preparing food and what they would like to see more of in the community. Some shared they would like to preserve meat and fish and that they would like to see more community potlucks. It was heartwarming to see people of all ages and backgrounds gathered together at the potluck. Of the 25 people who came, many left the evening with new friendships. These conversations and relationships were a complimentary outcome to the skill of canning and of hosting a potluck.
Our next point on the horizon is to follow up on the requests from the potluck and see who else will arise to organize other gatherings so that more and more people share in the work of community building.