The first thing you notice when you walk into the light-drenched main room at Calgary’s The Alex Community Food Centre is the promise written in loopy script above the open kitchen: “Good food is just the beginning….” Or maybe it’s the bright chairs in Crayola red and blue and green. Or the large family-style tables where everyone gathers to eat delicious homemade meals together. Wherever your eyes happen to land, it’s clear the entire centre is designed to make people in this diverse low-income community feel at home.
The Dartmouth CFC
Ask any Community Food Centre staff what has been core to their approach since the beginning, and we’re willing to bet the word “listening” will always top the list. “Working with people where they’re at” is one of our Good Food Principles, where we “work with people toward self-identified change.” Pinpointing those key community needs and desires happens throughout a CFC’s cycle, but it’s especially critical at the outset, while the space is being planned and as programs are being shaped.
Last month we held the Community Food Centres Manager’s Meeting. This two-day event was the first of many Manager’s Meetings that CFCC plans to host in the coming years. Managers and Directors from the newest CFC’s in Dartmouth, Winnipeg and Regent Park (Toronto) came to Toronto to visit and learn from other CFC staff at The Stop (Toronto), The Table (Perth) and The Local (Stratford) CFCs.