John Farrow introduced our Guest Speaker, Mara Shaw from Loving Spoonful.  Mara's Daughter is our outbound exchange student this year, so Mara started by sharing some photos of Karenna in Denmark, and pledged to keep pitching Rotary Exchange to everyone she knows.
Turning to today's topic, Mara started with Loving Spoonful's new Mission Statement:  Loving Spoonful connects people with healthy food.  They are working toward a healthier, more connected community and providing programs and championing policies affecting food security, poverty, social inclusion and community health.  Since their inception, Loving Spoonful has delivered $1.7 Million of good food!  (About $300,000/year).  There are about 2 dozen agencies included in their distributions, including agencies like The Mess and Lunch by George, familiar to us all in the club.  Mara also noted and thanked us for the information pamphlets that we funded - they are now distributed and are helping out!  Loving Spoonful has recently launched the app.  Stores, restaurants, etc. can post what they have available and agencies can check on their phone and run pick the food up.  Kingston was a pilot city last year and had the most number of ‘hits’ using the service.  As a result of this success, is now going national!
Other programs under the Loving Spoonful umbrella are;
  • Affordable Meat for Shelters –  Loving Spoonful now has an app launched with local butchers to provide 50% off meat delivered to shelters.
  • Grow a Row Program (private gardeners set aside a row of their garden) – Lots of participants and greens delivered directly to agencies.
  • Microgreens with Micro Gardeners – programs in daycares with kids 3-5:  singing, stories, growing plants from seeds to connect children with food.
  • The GROW project – 17 school gardens teaching over 660 students a year about the food system, cultivation, collaborations and community.  Four more gardens are being added this year, so they will reach over 800 kids.  A year from now their Trillium grant ends, so we may see Mara again……
  • Kingston Community Garden Network – expanding and now including orchards.  C-K Rotary has helped support these initiatives.
  • Circles Around the Table – a 16 week process to help folks plan to get out of poverty.  Loving Spoonful holds weekly meetings to support the implementation of the program.
  • Cooking Connections – a Mental Health and Social Inclusion program including good food!  This has taken a Clinical program from Queen’s and added the sharing of a healthy meal and casual community.
  • The Rest of the Menu – lots of different cooking classes:  Autism Ontario; Manly Meals; cross-cultural; ReStart, youth diversion; Medicine Wheel cooking (native language education around food); One Roof (street-involved young women).
Mara remarked the new Canada Food Guide is awesome!  It includes suggesting eating more with people and not alone!  And be aware of food marketing!  She also noted that Friday night they are bringing in a guest speaker from the US:  Andrew Fisher, author of Big Hunger, to speak about the commercial influence has on the way we think about hunger.  Mara also suggested that club members may want to volunteer to help us with the Manly Meals program barbeques in July!
Ana Sutherland – We would like to invite you to be a Friend of Rotary with our Club!
John Farrow – Really happy to see free and healthy food for people AND pets in your brochure.  Thank you!
Bill Egnatoff – how can we work with you – perhaps through our social media – to assist you further and be more involved in your success?  Let’s talk!  Elizabeth Cohoe  will email Mara and pass on details of Manly Meals program.
Heather thanked Mara on our behalf. Did you know that Rotary started with 4 business men who decided to get together with their bag lunches!