Kids Just Wanna Have Fun: Apple Pick with Harmony Community Food Centre’s Youth Cooking Program
Harmony Community Food Centre (CFC), a program of South Riverdale Community Health Centre (SRCHC), is a welcoming place for people to come together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for good food for all. Launched in 2020, this centre offers food-focused social programs such as drop-in meals, community kitchens, and civic engagement that increase food access, build skills and connection, and advance social change for South Riverdale community members.
With more than 40 years of service in the neighbourhood, SRCHC identified a need for better access to healthy, affordable food for vulnerable community members, especially seniors living alone, youth, and people living with physical disabilities. Staff and volunteers at Harmony CFC and SRCHC work tirelessly to ensure their community members can access nutritious, affordable, safe, culturally relevant, and delicious food!
“We support approximately 150 participants per week at our community meal, 80+ at our weekly market, and more in our registered educational programs,” says Kathleen, Health Promoter for Harmony Community Food Centre Development.
Some of Harmony CFC’s educational cooking workshops include youth programs ‘Mind Your Food‘ and ‘Kids Can Cook’. Throughout the summer, youth meet weekly to explore food traditions, gain hands-on cooking skills, learn about different food pathways and careers, and discuss food’s connections to mental and physical health. While most of their course has been online due to the pandemic, we arranged for this summer’s youth cohort to attend an in-person fruit picking excursion!
Our youth apple pick took place in East York, just a few hundred metres from the Don Valley River on a hot and sunny afternoon. The pick was led by one of our superstar Pick Leaders, Melissa Coiffe, who also happens to be the Garden Facilitator at Harmony Hall Centre for Seniors.
According to the home owner, this particular green apple tree is about 15 years old and over 3 storeys tall! Fortunately the tree was large enough to access from multiple locations, which meant all participants were able to social distance. We anticipated a yield of over 100 lbs of slightly under-ripe apples (no biggie, as they will ripen more off the tree after being picked). Boy, were we in for a treat…
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