• Jenna Zardo

Why I got involved with Urban Pantry

We asked some of our steering committee members what inspired them to get involved with Urban Pantry. Here is what they had to say:

“I decided to get involved in Urban Pantry (UP) because I enjoy giving to community. Volunteering with the FruitShare program and the Good Food Box have been incredibly rewarding on a personal level. I experienced first hand the joy of picking the harvest that would otherwise be wasted and donating to people who are in need of a sustainable and nutritious food supply. I look forward to contributing to the Cooking UP program as I love to cook, preserve and create and teach new recipes.” (Beverly)

“After retiring from Royal Victoria Hospital as Director of Patient Food Services, I wanted to continue contributing to my community by volunteering my experience, as an administrative dietitian, towards initiatives that could help to increase food security activities for people living in the Barrie area. In learning about the UP initiatives as a result of the original Ontario Trillium Foundation Seed grant last spring, it is has been a pleasure working with our inspirational team. I am looking forward to the program developments over the next few years and beyond. Barrie has been an amazing city, for moving important health initiatives forward and I am confident that our program objectives will be embraced by our community.” (Brenda)

“For a few years I floated around to different community events - like educational/discussion points etc. through Living Green. Floating is the best description for that period for me. Once I found out about FruitShare and then the inner workings of UP I found the fit I was looking for. My job and skill set is in healthcare and my all time hobby is cooking from scratch and my summer hobby is gardening, so Urban Pantry was such a great combo of my passions and skills. The group of folks steering the UP are knowledgeable, community focused, and committed. The community and not-for-profit focus of the project is so important to help enrich Barrie. It really fits with my values.” (Jenny)

“Urban Pantry offers the opportunity to have the same positive impact on our community that Fruitshare has developed, on a much larger basis. More people addressing a wider array of similar issues can have a substantial impact on our community. And it offers a growing community of acquaintances, that may grow into friends.” (Dave)

“Urban Pantry is a collaboration of like-minded individuals and groups working together on food-growing and food skills initiatives. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit works to support access to safe, nutritious, affordable food and encourages healthy eating in our communities are we are very pleased to support the UP with this important work.

Health Unit staff support healthy eating, household food insecurity and food system activities, and we can assist with:

• Assessing and reporting on the nutritional health of our communities;

• Working with others in the community to create policies, and supportive environments to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

• Engaging with our communities to increase the intake of plant-based foods and decrease the intake of processed foods.

• Leading and supporting members of the public and community partners to address household food insecurity and healthy food systems.

These activities align closely with the work of the Urban Pantry and the health unit values the partnership that has been developed to “strengthen the community of Barrie by fostering a connection between its citizens and their environment, through supporting the increase and diversification of a sustainable local food system.”

(Public Health Nurses, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit)

© 2020 by Urban Pantry, a program of CMHA funded by Ontario Trillium Foundation