This was the second year The Food Connection received a Neighbourhood Small Grant, and we couldn’t be happier with how much we learned and shared with the community! The Food Connection is an ongoing project, and it’s essentially a community of food-loving folks that meet for monthly potlucks and free food workshops at Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House.
Since the end of the last grant, a lot has happened. First, we partnered with Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House so we could run these events all year long and receive additional support and resources. We did community outreach at the Stone Soup Festival, Hawkers Market & Metamorfest, taught guest workshops at the Sustenance Festival, and gave a talk at The Feast Worldwide Vancouver. One of our goals this year was to encourage members to get involved beyond attending events, so they got to lead workshops, write blog posts for us, volunteer, help us plan events, and much more. We also invited community organizations to come run workshops, such as Hives For Humanity, a non-profit that came to teach us about bees & give us a taste of local honey.
Our first event started 2014 off with a bang as we hosted a highly attended cheesemaking workshop, and the momentum kept going throughout the months as we offered workshops such as: 

Gluten-free & Vegan Desserts
Spice Blending
Istanbul Cuisine
Bees & Honey
Herbal Foraging Walk

In September we wanted to celebrate the end of summer, so we threw a Harvest Feast and invited guests to bring seasonal ingredients and collaborate to make a communal meal with playful experimentation in mind. There were 4 food experimentation stations – soup, salad, flatbread & dessert (a delicious banana ‘ice cream’). Organized chaos was the style of the evening – imagine 60+ cooks in the kitchen! However, everyone worked together to pull it off, and we had a blast cooking up a storm, giving away prizes from local businesses & organizations, and connecting with neighbours over delicious seasonal food!
Next week marks our last event of the year, and after that we’ll be getting ready for 2015’s workshop line-up. As we move into the new year, we’d like to begin exploring some food barriers that vulnerable groups in Mt Pleasant face, and to see how we can reach out to people that may not know about our program or have much knowledge of food security. Recently we joined the Steering Committee for the Mount Pleasant Food Network, where we’ll be able to visit these questions on a more comprehensive level and increase The Food Connection’s capacity to be an inclusive and impactful community environment. We can’t wait!
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