Meeting Minutes May 2010

Victoria Community Kitchens Network (VCKN)


Thursday, May 13 2010; 10 AM – 12 PM

Blanshard Community Centre, 901 Kings Road, Victoria


Host Jennifer Freeman, 250-388-7696,


  1. 1.       Personal Check-in, Information Sharing & Networking
    1. a.       Jennifer Freeman – When she went to drop off supplies for her Community Kitchen at the Fernwood Neighborhood Resource Group today, was informed that her Participant-Driven kitchen would no longer be welcome.   The Fernwood NRG is reallocating space and not offering kitchen space free of charge anymore.  The VCKN will write a letter of support re: Community Kitchens and send to Jen to take forward.  Jen will present this letter to the board of directors, as well as her personal response to the news.

Group talked about developing an MOU between community kitchen group and agency.  This would include information such as where extra food can be stored, what the fees may be, what the kitchen group will give back to the agency (i.e. extra food, etc.).  John Taylor mentioned that he develops contracts with each community group that uses his kitchen that is very specific.  Is John willing to share this contract with the rest of the Network?   

  1. b.      Catriona Campbell – Working with Allison through the Food Skills for Families Program.  Catriona is very impressed with the program overall, and reports that a regular, participant-driven community kitchen may emerge from this experience.  They have been having great turnouts, and everyone is very into the cooking.  Tracy to look into FSFF funding – ongoing for 2010? In addition, Catriona mentioned that she has a volunteer who facilitates a “Kitchen Competence” program for the staff of the JBCP.  This 1.5 hour workshop is free, and is used in lieu of Food Safe.  The facilitator may be willing to share their “Kitchen Competence” materials so that other agencies can use this to train others/ volunteers on kitchen safety, etc. 
  2. c.       Jodi Sturge – Working to promote CK in several BC Housing sites, including Hampton House.  Jodi will invite Leatte White to the next VCK Network Meeting.  Jodi is also working with David Stott on various gardening and greenhouse projects through the end of September.  Jodi plans to offer canning workshops in the fall.  In addition, she hopes to offer a subsidized Good Food Box in conjunction with a Mustard Seed Box at Baton Fielding.  She hopes that the folks living at Baton Fielding will come together to cook out of these boxes. 
  3. d.      John Taylor – Unfortunately, did not receive recent grant for a high-end food processor.  Many from the group suggested various venues for capital funding, as well as putting an ad in Used Victoria.  Also mentioned that the Fairfield Community Assoc has a new relationship with the ICA where they will allow use of their pots and pans for other community groups, including CK.  John also plans to invite other groups to participate in community kitchens at their centre.  John will put an ad in the Moss Rock Review.  Also reported that a new Food Security sub-committee has been formed from their BOD.  Finally, talked about the Good Food Box and desire to revisit Fairfield Community Centre as a GFB depot.  Jennifer Freeman will send John an information package on the GFB.  Also, will look into “Cooking out of the Box” info.  Tracy to contact Allison to talk about her Cooking out of the Box Program. 
  4. e.       Theresa Bennett – Has 3 Community Kitchens running now as well as community dinners that serve over 50 people each month.  Reports that everyone is struggling to afford food.   The Saanich Neighbourhood Place is having a hard time subsidizing food at the agency.  Theresa is looking for volunteers to help with making SOUP at SNP.  Theresa mentioned that the folks who visit emergency food providers and who attend community kitchens are different clients.  Query re: ordering food from the Mustard Seed?  Query re: Ordering in bulk from the GFB – Tracy will follow up with Sushil on this.  Theresa reported that her groups primarily want to cook meat.  Catriona suggested getting on the Mustard Seed’s “Meat Run.”  In addition, Catriona will give Theresa a large piece of pork that the JBCP has in their freezer.  Finally, Real Canadian Superstore has good meat deals sometimes.  Group mentioned that it would be great to have an informal “food exchange” at the Community Kitchen Network meetings to share things that folks may have in bulk/ things folks need.  Tracy to f/u with Janelle Hatch on Food Distribution & Recovery work.  Theresa mentioned that she has a great CK group that meets on Friday’s – multicultural and would be a good fit with Epicure Foundation?  Tracy will f/u with Theresa re: Sponsorships/ “Adopt a Community Kitchen” Program. 
  5. 2.       VCKN Check-in – how are we progressing as a “Network”?  What do we want to accomplish?  What don’t we want to do? 
    1. Group discussed that they would like to:

                                                               i.      Be Practical

                                                             ii.      Remain Grass-roots

                                                            iii.      Have a Food Access focus

                                                           iv.      Continue to share volunteers & opportunities

                                                             v.      Learn about valuable connections and programs

                                                           vi.      Invite more members of the public and folks participating in CK to the network meetings. 

                                                          vii.      Perhaps bring food to share (book kitchen at Fairfield Neighborhood Place to exchange and share food?)


  1. 3.       Cowichan Valley – follow-up on offer to visit a community kitchen to learn about incorporating budgeting into our kitchens.  Tracy will look into this and get back to group on some potential dates. 
  2. 4.       Community Kitchen Funding
  3. 5.       Community Kitchen Promotion/ Outreach
    1. Hellman’s – Canadian school groups, community groups and families are encouraged to apply for $10,000 worth of food grants being doled out by Hellman’s.  The deadline for applications is June 30, 2010 (
    2. Sponsorships – review letter & discuss potential partnerships.  Tracy to f/u with Theresa.  Suggestions for letter included:  1.  Using plain language; 2. Doing some calculations re: “$1 feeds 5 mouths”, “1 lb of pork feeds 2 families for 2 dinners”
    3. CFAI Update – CFAI coordinator position has been posted on VIHA website.
    4. VanCity Community Projects Grants – May 15 & September 15 deadlines
    1. Facebook – needs a coordinator to keep up to date.  Theresa might have a volunteer (Bekah) who would be able to maintain our VCKN Facebook site.  Theresa will f/u.

                                                               i.      Group was very interested in incorporating a food distribution tool on the VCKN Facebook site.   The new posts would be emailed to members, and would include information such as:  extra food; food sales in community and at grocery stores; Root Cellar info/ deals; agencies could buy in bulk and then split up amongst themselves; etc.  Catriona suggested Beth Cougler Blom @ Volunteer Victoria   – would she be able to help set up this Facebook site?  Tracy to look into this and follow-up. 

    1. VCKN 3-fold display – created for the Victoria Traditional Foods Conference.  This was presented to group.  If any members of the Network are interested in displaying, please let Tracy know. 
    2. Charles Burnett – student to create interactive Community Kitchens website with map and questionnaire for other groups to sign on, link to our facebook page, etc.?   Group/ Agency to host this site?  Group agreed that this is a great opportunity.  Tracy will f/u with Charles and UVIC summer class.  
  1. 6.       Alia Toots, Dietetic Intern with Tracy (June 2010)
    1. Group brainstormed ideas for Community Kitchen-related projects.  Several ideas came forward:

                                                               i.       “Prepping/ Cooking out of the Box” – what could this look like?  Connect with Allison and Sushil to put together a workshop outline that could be used by various agencies and/or recreation centers?  Incorporate kid activities and cooking with kids (kid-friendly recipes).  Include backgrounder on GFB and justification re: food security and food skills and nutrition, etc.   Group liked this idea the best.  Tracy will work with dietetic intern to develop this project. 

  1. 7.       Letterhead Options – Reviewed several options.  Group was torn between 2-3 choices.  Catriona and Theresa will ask members of their community to develop two other choices.  Group still wanted to include people in logo.  Also, wanted something more original.  Bring forward to next meeting. 
  2. 8.       Updating Contact info and community kitchens lists – Put on Fresh Choice site?  Bring forward.
  3. 9.       Upcoming Meetings & Opportunities:
    1. Fresh Choice Kitchens Community Kitchen Roundtable teleconference – June 17 from 10 am – 12 pm.  “This free, two hour roundtable hosted by Fresh Choice Kitchens is an opportunity to meet other community kitchen leaders, to share and hear about other kitchen activities, challenges & successes.  Thanks to a grant from the Campbell Company of Canada, participants can now connect to this roundtable remotely via teleconferencing.  Please contact Shona for more information.”
    2. CR-FAIR  Food Access Forum  **MEETING POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE**  “This is an opportunity to explore how best to use the distribution list and strengthen the capacity of food service providers as well as to explore and brainstorm ideas for an online food resource organizing hub. Please rsvp to” 
    3. Food Distribution List – Will be used to strengthen the connections and the opportunities to collaborate. The purpose of the distribution list would be to share information about :

                                                               i.      surplus donated foods available or specific food shortages

                                                             ii.      food storage needs or storage availability

                                                            iii.      food transportation needs or opportunities

                                                           iv.      volunteers available for specific work or volunteers needed.

If you would like to be included in this distribution list, and be able to use it, please email and put “emergency food service providers distribution list” in the subject line.

  1. 10.   NEXT MEETING – Wednesday, June 16th from 9-11 AM at the Blanshard Community Center Board Room, 901 Kings Road. 
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