EnviroCentre Edition - Spring 2016
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Catherine Mageau-Walker (SustainLowertown Coordinator), Annie Mercier (LCRC Community Developper), Mathieu Fleury and Angela Palma Herriot at a Good Food Market in Lowertown.
Photo courtesy of SustainLowertown
Good Food Markets in Lowertown
Catherine Mageau-Walker, Program Coordinator, Sustain Lowertown
There is an old saying that says we are what we eat. But what happens if you can’t access healthy food?
Angela Palma Herriot (former Lowertown Good Food Market Assistant in the red apron) with volunteer, customer and Lowertown resident Patrick Cassidy at the first indoor GFM in the common room in 160 Charlotte. Photo courtesy of SustainLowertown
The Good Food Markets hope to alleviate this problem of access. An initiative of the Poverty and Hunger Working Group through the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres (Anti-Poverty Project) and their community partners, Good Food Markets are pop-up non-profit markets that address barriers to food at the neighbourhood level by selling high quality produce and dry goods in communities at great value.
Over the last two years, Lowertown offered eight Good Food Markets in MacDonald Gardens Park with one happening each of the summer months. The markets offered fresh produce and because of a partnership with the Good Food Pantry, dry goods as well. They were not only a source of nourishment for the body, but also for the community with live music from such local artists as Gabriel Bouchard, Tariq Anwar, Moonfuits and Greggio, as well as face painting and soccer playing for children (or interested adults) and information on community offerings.
Catherine Mageau-Walker, former Lowertown Good Food Market Coordinator, states, “The point of a Good Food Market is not exclusively to provide affordable fresh food to residents, it is also a community strengthening tool – a way to bring community residents together. If you have ever come to a market, you would witness first-hand how this happens: between the chatting amongst the volunteers, the interactions between the market attendees, the collective enjoyment of the music or complaining of the weather. The markets act as a vehicle for creating that community togetherness with the added benefit of providing and assisting people in making healthy food purchases possible.”
To ensure these markets continue, MarketMobile, Good Food Market and their passionate supporters are always looking for creative solutions and alternate funding streams to continue offering healthy food to communities that need it. In the interim, in Lowertown, the Lowertown Community Resource Centre and SustainLowertown, a partner community in EnviroCentre`s Sustain Your Community project, have formed a partnership to bridge the fresh food accessibility (both physical and financial) gap by holding indoor markets. At this time, two markets have been held in the resident’s lounge of an Ottawa Community Housing building, once again offering affordably priced fresh local food to the seniors living there. And as with other markets, the live music, creating an ambiance of either a Parisian café or a campfire sing-along, has made many of the market attendees smile – or many a volunteer stomp their feet in tune.
With the rising prices of fresh produce, making healthy food accessible and affordable will continue to be a challenge – but through the Good Food Markets we can continue to strive to provide nutritious food at the best possible price, so that everyone can be a true reflection of “we are what we eat”.
PERC thanks the above organizations for their support.
Thank you to Envirocentre for sponsoring the Spring 2016 edition of the PEN.