Urban Proposals

Please feel free to leave constructive comments and suggestions regarding potential partnerships or programs and information that might be beneficial to the proposed projects. When leaving a comment below, please mention the title of the project along with the comment.  These project descriptions will be available for viewing until February 10th, 2012, when we will begin the grant decision making meetings to choose which projects will be funded in each region.

Sisler’s Sustainable Home Economics Classroom

Sisler High School
Right now there is a sustainable cooking classroom at Sislerand, but there is also concern that it costs too much and that it is not feasible on a larger scale.  I want to use my classroom as a test to see if it could be possible for a school, a division, who knows maybe all school divisions in MB to run a fair foods room.  For one school year I would try to use local, organic, sustainable, or Fair Trade products for all my cooking labs.  I would track which items were not available, or more difficult to find so that there would be a better list so producers could see where there are wholes in the food supply chain.  I would keep track of which farmers I dealt with on a one-to-one basis.  I would like to use Fresh Options Food Delivery as my main food distributor as they are able to make contact with more farmers as well as organic and Fair Trade producers.  I would track all my spending so that at the end of the year I knew how much money it actually cost to run a classroom this way.  I would ask Fresh and my farmers to see how their sales improved and by how much with a larger dedication from me.


Outcomes of Community Based Good Food Box Programs:Learnings from Winnipeg

Winnipeg Regional Health Authority 
In this study we will investigate outcomes of Good Food Box programs operating in Winnipeg.

The four main study questions are:

1) How well do Good Food Boxes improve access to healthy food?

2) How do Good Food Boxes impact on participants’’ food behaviour, food attitudes, grocery shopping habits, and other perceptions/behaviours (self-reported)?

3) How do participants perceive and experience Good Food Boxes?

4) How might Good Food Box programs be improved?

In addition to analyzing program data and stakeholder perspectives from Winnipeg’’s Good Food Box programs, we will systematically review the literature and undertake a pan-Canadian scan of lessons learned from implementing Good Food Box programs.


The Food Label Movement

The Food Label Movement
We aim to assist consumers in making healthy food choices, improve their food literacy and facilitate dialogue about food security by hosting one or more workshops (funding permitting) on understanding food labels. These workshops will be educational sessions hosted at a local restaurant. At each event, consumers will be provided with hands-on and interactive learning sessions about how to read food labels and make healthy choices when shopping for food. While dining, they will also discuss and provide feedback on what they would like to see on food labels to assist them with making healthier food choices. The restaurant will provide meals highlighting healthier Manitoba food, and there will be food labels for the meals offered that evening. Documented feedback will be taken from both the consumer and the restaurant perspectives.

Chalmers Community Food Cafes

Sam’s Place
Chalmers Community Food Cafes will bring together residents of the Elmwood neighbourhood to talk about food in their community as well as learn practical skills to support food security.  This series of food cafes will be held at Sam’s Place, a social enterprise located in the Chalmers neighbourhood, that has an emphasis on serving local and just food as well as engaging in community programming.  The goal of these cafes will be to identify particular community concerns regarding food as well as ways that community members hope to address these challenges.

Each food café will also feature a food-skills related activity – most likely a cooking activity, but potentially also a gardening related activity.  These hands on activities will ensure that the project combines both immediate, practical measures to support community food security along with longer term planning that will emerge as part of the food cafes.

These food cafes will be facilitated conversations about food priorities and opportunities for the Chalmers neighbourhood.  The findings of these cafes will be supported by additional background research.  Findings will be made available to organizations that work in Chalmers, levels of government, and the general public to raise awareness about food concerns in Chalmers as well as publicizing a plan to address food security based on the ideas and feedback expressed in the community cafes.

This project will have two main opportunities.  First, it will provide practical food skills to neighbourhood residents (identified as one of the top concerns in the Chalmers Community Consultation).  Secondly, it will focus on food, a major issue identified in the Chalmers Community Consultation, and enable community members to find solutions to a significant community challenge.

Eating Locally and In Season with Mary Jane’s Cooking School

Mary Jane’s Cooking School 
The project will take the form of four half-day workshops that will include films, speakers and cooking classes at Mary Jane’s Cooking School.

The first workshop will be offered in the springtime (May-June) and will focus on early season crops.  The class will begin with an introduction to local-food.  Participants will be shown a short film on local food followed by a short panel discussion attended by a local farmer, a local food advocate and an organizer from a local food-buying club.

The second workshop will offer a cooking class that will include locally sourced ingredients.

The third and fourth workshops will be offered in the fall (September-October) and will focus on late-season crops and preservation (canning).  The workshops include an informational component on the basics of canning and food preservation.  Participants can take home what they preserve.

Due to space restrictions, each class will be limited to 10 participants. Several participant groups will be targeted in order to create diversity within the group. Mary Jane’s Cooking School continues to successfully partner with several organizations that work with marginalized groups in Winnipeg.  The course will be advertised to these groups. The courses will also be advertised to the general public with at least half of the spots reserved for individuals from past partner organizations.


Fruit Share – Self-Sufficiency/Financial Sustainability Research

Fruit Share 
Our goal is to greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the need to seek and apply for funding ach year. We plan to establish a viable community based alternative food system.

Fruit Share will research options for financial stability. As a group of volunteers, we have a number of revenue generating ideas to investigate. In addition, we wish to determine the appropriate organizational structure for successful long-term operations. This may take shape as a Non-Profit, Co-operative, ethical business or Social Enterprise model.

Fruit Share believes that with thorough research and creative engagement of our various stakeholders (i.e. tree owners, local fruit eaters, farmers markets, urban farmers, locally inspired chefs) we can establish a self-sufficient model.


Newcomer Greening Initiative 

IRCOM’s Greening Program has been active since 2007. An extremely popular and dynamic initiative, the Greening Program manages and shares growing spaces with interested newcomer growers both at Dufferin School and at IRCOM House. We currently have around 15 families growing with us between the months of April and October. Growers are given a portion of land / balcony space based on their productivity, interests and the resources available. They are given support along the way in terms of physical assets (i.e. seeds, soil, lumber, tools, irrigation systems if needed, etc.) and technical knowledge if it is needed. They are also fully supported and valued as they grow food stuffs that may be unfamiliar to many Canadians and first language is used for communication whenever possible. A remarkably stable and grassroots program, 2012 will see IRCOM’s Greening Program continue to evolve and embrace a new focus as a result of lessons learned and experience gained.

It is obvious now that while many newcomers may come from an economically “poor” background, they tend to have a lot of wisdom related to diet. As an example, many newcomers place a strong emphasis on the consumption of copious greens. These greens, in many cases brassicas and amaranths, are very high in vitamins and minerals. The IRCOM Greening program would like to have this high consumption of greens, which are easily grown in the inner city, encouraged in and transferred to established Canadians. The primary challenge we are now facing is how to introduce these healthy practices to the “Canadian” diet. Experience has shown that inner city adults are very resistant to eating vegetables, especially greens. Their children, however, are not. As a result, attempts are being made in the coming year to introduce the growing and consumption of greens, on a very small scale, into the Dufferin School Curriculum. Our philosophy, at the advice of the Dufferin School principal and others, will be not to try anything major but rather to gradually introduce little activities on an experimental basis (see: Legal Things that Kids Can Grow in Schools for one concrete example)

Over the last two years, it has also become evident to IRCOM that the difference between tropical and temperate climate agriculture and a general low level of technical skills are significant barriers to expanding the growing efforts of newcomers. Thus, there will be an attempt to give small classes in horticulture as part of an EAL classroom. It is hoped that these classes will generate interest among newcomer participants and help IRCOM to overcome some of these gaps in newcomers’ knowledge. In connection with these barriers, it is also hoped that the purchase and use of a high intensity light will be a good focal point for teaching things like the dynamics of artificial light and the cost of energy in a concrete, practical way.

On a physical level the IRCOM Greening Program will also be expanding this year to include growing space at Sister MacNamara School. Recently designated a Community School, Sister MacNamara School has allocated IRCOM 11 raised beds. This will increase our space significantly and allow us to collaborate with an additional community partner. Just ten minutes walk from IRCOM it is expected that Sister MacNamara will contribute significantly to our 2012 Greening Program.

Finally, through our experiences we have determined that another attempt needs to be made to encourage growers to become more independent from IRCOM. Thus, 2012 will see IRCOM working towards having growers start and tend bedding plants for their own use and the Greening Coordinator taking a step back from supplying and managing growers.

Manitoba Permablitz Pilot

A loose collection of Manitoba Permaculturalists
Our project will establish two to three Permaculture demonstration sites throughout Winnipeg on residential and public yards. The site designs will be done by Permaculture Design Certificate graduates who will benefit from the real-world opportunity of seeing their project through from start to finish. The design installations will be done by Permablitz, and will provide an opportunity for interested members of the community to come and participate in the design installation, which will include free skill sharing, learning about Permaculture, and a shared meal. The Permablitzs held through this project will help to catalyze an economic trading system where participants will have the opportunity to host a Permablitz providing they’ve shared in these installations.


Project Glow’s Children’s Garden

Winnipeg Housing Rehabilitation Corporation-Project Glow
The goal of the project is to expand on an existing project and educate children.  Project Glow has a garden located one of our apartment buildings.  The garden has provided many wonderful opportunities for the adults of the building to get to know one another and to provide their families with food.  In the fall of 2011, the children at the building expressed the desire to be involved in the garden and grow their own vegetables.  The goal is to provide the children with the opportunity to be educated on how to grow their own produce and learn from other urban and rural producers.

Project Glows hopes to see a number of things.  The first is to provide the children of the building with a fun, summer activity that is educational.  The second goal is to bring the residents of the building together.  Currently many of the parents are concerned about bullying within the community and they are afraid to send their children outside to play.  The hope is the garden would create a safe space outside for children to play and to learn and that the building would come together against bullying.  Thirdly, Project Glow would desire to see children more involved in food choices and food security for their families.  By providing children with the opportunity to learn, long term change is possible within the community.

Root Cellar Project
It is my main objective to create the connection to a preserving community through ‘food swaps’. These exchanges will happen four times a year, once in September, October, November, and again in December. Much like the food buying clubs these exchanges will happen once a month at a given ‘station’ and will allow discussion and community to build.

Over the summer it is my goal to provide four preserving workshops in order to educate and promote this amazing opportunity to grow and exchange our own local food. Each workshop will be covering a variety of methods of preservation such as jamming, pickling and fermenting. These workshops will be untaken by four local restaurants that offer a preserved item on their menu; building bonds between chefs, growers and eaters in hopes to excite and connect people.

The use of a blog as well as advertising will be another method in which a community forum will build. It will serve as Q and A, provide schedules of workshops and food swaps, educate about preservation and inform where and how to access/ grow food in Winnipeg.


South Osborne Intergenerational Garden Project

South Osborne Community Cooperative
This second phase and season is the result of two years of infrastructure development and relationship-building, and will see an expansion of educational opportunities for the participants (workshops, field trips, and more hands-on learning opportunities) as well as increased volunteer and participant involvement. Fully reaching the long-term potential of this project requires a coordinator to develop a long-term plan that the project can carry on without staff-funding into the future. We have secured funding for the more formal educational aspects of the project, but this project is in significant need of resources to hire a skilled coordinator who would be able to devote a dedicated portion of time to ensuring that the ‘gardening’ aspect of the project is a success – with particular emphasis on developing strategies to make this project sustainable in the future without funding for a coordinator. This year will be a pivotal one. We need to ensure that we build community ownership and commitment to this collective resource so that reaches its full potential. We are also requesting funding ($2000.00) to help with the evaluation and video documentation of the project. The evaluation plan was developed in partnership with Dr. Laura Funk (Department of Sociology, University of Manitoba ␣ specialization in aging and mental health), who will consult with folks conducting the evaluation (project coordinator, community leaders and any students available to help through MAFRA). The video documentation of the project will involve students, local film makers and artists in producing a short film.


The Community Kitchen Series

Family Food Group
The family food group wishes to celebrate and honor the skills and knowledge of our community members by inviting them to share with others, through hands on workshops or storytelling, that which they have to offer regarding the history of whole foods, their roles in cultural traditions including recipes and methods of preparation.

 Through informal discussion involving community members of diverse backgrounds. This is the evolution of a community kitchen that ran for over a year and my interest in finding a project that will engage the community, empower it’s members from all backgrounds, value whole foods and the principles of slow food and provide healthy, free, positive community based activites that are provided by and for community members.

Hopefully it will encourage participants to value whole foods, to learn skills that they can then share with family and friends. By valueing the skills and knowlege of our community members, especially those with marganalized identities, together we can shape a more inclusive, egalatarian community.

Ingredients will be sourced from local farmers or small independent businesses. Organic, fair trade ingredients will be a priority.

Presenters will be community members with a demonstrated knowlege through hands on experience and/or professional merit.

Workshops will be free of charge and childcare will be provided.


The Oven Keepers Pilot Training

North Point Douglas Women’s Center
The Pilot Oven Keeper Training project consists of carrying out two, six-session blocks of free training in order to train community members to safely and effectively operate the community oven. Within this application we are also requesting funding to support Norquay Community Center to upgrade their kitchen to certified community kitchen standards for use in this and other oven programming (This kitchen is the closest to the oven).

It was our initial plan to offer six workshops in the fall of 2011 in order to train community members for this purpose. As the first phase of the overall oven project progressed and we were able to gather more information regarding oven operation, and the city and insurance requirements, we have felt it necessary to develop a more comprehensive training model, particularly for this pilot training program. Given this, we have developed these first two training blocks as a training and cooking program with a community feast component as a way of not only training Oven Keepers, but also providing cooking experience and nutritious food, as well as raising awareness of the oven in the community.

Each block of training will consist of one session per week for six weeks, and will accommodate 4 participants so that a total of 8 individuals will be trained.

The first session will consist of hands-on demonstrations of lighting and heating the oven and cooking a range of foods with it. In this session the Oven Trainer will facilitate the participants as a group taking part in lighting and heating the oven in a safe manner. The kitchen facilitator will engage participants in preparing and cooking the meal. Training will cover all safety issues as well as effective operation of the oven and proper cleanup/maintenance. In each of the next 4 sessions each of the trainees will take the lead on lighting and heating the oven and cooking the meal. The Oven Trainer and Kitchen Facilitator oversee the process and assess the capacity of the trainee to operate the oven. The other trainees will assist in all activities including the food preparation. The participants will have to opportunity to eat whatever is cooked in each of the first five sessions, as well as to take some home to their families. In this way participants not only engage in training in oven use, but also gain experience in cooking, share skills and create their own nutritious meal. In the sixth and final session participants will work together to cook for a modest community event. Community members will be invited to see how the oven operates and to sample foods that are cooked with it. All meals will follow healthy food guidelines and wherever possible will use local food sources dovetailing with the farmers market, good food box programs and other food security initiatives.

As well as meeting food security goals and focusing on skill development this training satisfies CED imperatives in our community. The oven keepers will be certified to operate the oven for personal occasions or their organization’s programming. They can also be part of a pool of Oven Keepers paid to operate the oven for those who do not wish to do the training but want to use the oven, develop CED initiatives using the oven, and/or work on or initiate community- generated events.

After the first block of training an assessment will take place to determine if changes are needed for the second block, and after the second block a full evaluation will be carried out to inform a continuing program of Oven Keeper training.

The potential for the community oven project will be greatly enhanced if there is a certified kitchen available for use during programming. The current NCC kitchen is not in compliance with health regulations and so, despite recent renovations, is not currently eligible for certification. Minimal changes will change this enabling NCC to have its kitchen inspected and certified. The NCC kitchen upgrade will not only make the kitchen available for the Women’s Center community oven programming, including these two blocks of training, but will also make the NCC kitchen a viable facility for other community activities.


What’s Food Got to do With it? Empowering women through healthy living education

Ka Ni Kanichihk
Through this project we will provide opportunities for women to expand their food knowledge and learn useful skills to take control of improving their own food security. Importantly, this project will focus on providing women with a holistic view of food, which considers how it affects their physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health.

 The Honouring Gifts program is an educational program designed for young Aboriginal mothers to develop skills, determine a career or education plan, experience alternative career opportunities and to provide training in a culturally safe environment interwoven with Traditional Knowledge. Ka Ni Kanichihk will integrate a vital holistic healthy living/food and nutrition component into the Life Skills component of the Honouring Gifts program on a bi-weekly basis. Ka Ni Kanichihk plays an important role in these women’s lives providing opportunities for them to become self-directing and achieve the confidence and skills to become leaders in their communities.  Together, the women we will learn about healthy eating, nutrition, food security, food justice, and culturally appropriate food systems through a variety of program activities.

Specific program components will include: (1) Discussions centered on a number of issues surrounding food, including healthy eating, meal preparation, budgeting, etc (2) Workshops such as cooking classes (held by a local chef), food preparation (i.e. techniques, use of ingredients, canning, jam making, baking, etc.) and gardening and growing food activities including culturally appropriate gardening techniques, workshops and planning sessions for community garden and operating a community garden (May- August 2012). (3) Seminars and presentations from nutritional sciences, human ecology and dietician students; (4) Field Trips and activities such as visiting farmers markets, organic farms, and berry picking; (5) Knowledge translation which will include: community fall feast and open house, final creative project (book/artwork) and community/conference presentations.

We will integrate a monthly community kitchen component where participants will plan a meal together, shop for ingredients (or use donated goods) and cook together.  At the beginning of this program participants will hold cooking workshops featuring a community chef to teach food preparation skills. Ka Ni Kanichihk will utilize a community kitchen space at the North Centennial Recreation and Leisure Facility and/or St. Matthews church where participants will be able to practice cooking, preparation and food storage skills.

During the summer months, Ka Ni Kanichihk will incorporate a “growing your own food” component in using a donated plot at the Centennial Community Centre toll grow a small portion of food.  Practical workshops and training sessions on gardening, design and maintaining a community garden plot between May- September 2012 will also be held.  There will be two fieldtrips related to traditional food including berry picking and sage picking which will offer the women an opportunity to learn more about culturally appropriate food traditions. Finally, Ka Ni Kanichihk will host an open house and community feast in September using food grown and prepared by participants. Women will also be able to share their experiences about participation in this program.

Finally, from October- December 2012 the project will focus on reflection, knowledge translation and integration and evaluation. Women will be able to summarize and share their experiences over the past 10 months.  Each participant will participate in creating a book/tool kit where each woman will contribute one page related to her experiences of this project, which may take any creative form including artwork, stories, poetry, recipes, photographs and knowledge that they want to transfer.  We will host community presentations/workshops for other women at Ka Ni Kanichihk and in the community and/or attend events related to food, food justice or food security.  The evaluation component will be conducted through a survey, focus groups and preparation of a final report.  We will also prepare information about this project to be posted on Ka Ni Kanichihk’s website and the MAFRA website.




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