Greener Village Community Food Centre

Food Bank Distribution. Community Gardens. Teaching Kitchen. Clothing Boutique


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Fredericton Steps up to the “Plate” with Dine Around Freddy!

Over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to join Heather Allaby and Debbie Perry (with Fredericton Tourism) in their efforts to blog about the upcoming Dine Around Freddy event. This annual event is aligning with FROSTival, Fredericton’s very own winter celebration. Commencing on January 23rd, the dinning event runs until February 7th, where FROSTival will be in action until February 15th. Check out all the events and dates here–> www.frostival.ca

In previous years, the Dine Around Freddy event involved a number of Fredericton’s local restaurants that prepared a special 3 course menu for a great value ($29.00). Proceeds from each dinner were then donated to a charity. This year, I am happy to announce Greener Village’s involvement with Dine Around Freddy as their charity of choice, donating $1 from each plate sold between the 10 host restaurants.

Between Debbie, Heather and I, we visited each of the 10 restaurants and tasted their “dine around” dinners. As for me, a staff member at Greener Village, I wanted to be as involved as I could. I think with all the great non-profit organizations in Fredericton today, when an opportunity like this happens and you are the “chosen one”, you have to run with it! I wanted to show as much support as possible and do what I could to help the whole project be successful. In this case, I decided to offer my inexperienced skill set of food blogging. Now, I am guilty of taking the odd photo of a meal and posting it to Social Media, but going into a restaurant knowing I’d be taking the pictures, tasting the food and then having to write about them was a whole new thing for me. I love food. I love to write. I love social media. It was also a bonus that I got the pleasure to meet and dine with two very nice ladies!

Each restaurant has a special menu offered, typically an option between two starters and two main dishes plus your desserts. They have totally accommodated for the vegetarians and special dietary needs. Some offer the Soup of the Day so that may change depending on when you go!

Here are a few of my favourite dishes from each restaurant I attended!

Isaac’s Way

I was blown away by one of the main dish options: Pork tenderloin with apple chutney. Beautifully presented, hint of flavourful spice, a smashed potato with season vegetables cooked to perfection.

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For dessert, we were served a heaping portion of apple bread pudding and a glass of mulled cider. It tasted like my grandmother had just pulled it out of the oven!!
photo 4 (5)Catch Urban Grill at Delta Fredericton

To start, Catch had a delicious beet salad BUT they also had these hand made loaded perogies served with mushrooms, onions and spicy sour cream. They stole the show for me!
photo 2 (4) As a main, this flatbread pizza was a great size and big hit between Debbie and I. Roma tomatoes and asparagus added the gourmet taste and look to this dish!photo 4 (4) The East Coast Bake. Baby shrimp and scallops. Mussels. Salmon. Fusilli pasta. Need I say more? photo 3 (4)

Terrace Dining Room at Crowne Plaza

To start we had a beautiful, light, summer cocktail salad. This immediately put me on a beach! Cucumber Carpaccio: a vodka mint vinaigrette with grapefruit salsa. Presented so elegantly and left me ready for the next course!

photo 4 (3)I have been told that the Terrace knows their desserts so it was no surprise when we were greeted with the dark chocolate tart. Accompanied by vanilla sea salt and fresh berries.
photo 5 (1)The Palate

Serving up their classics for Dine Around Freddy, the soup of the day and caesar salad with their signature poached egg prepared us for our mains. This one in particular was my favourite because of the delicious seasonal hearty vegetables. Chicken supreme with mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, roasted potatoes, and pureed squash.
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540 Kitchen & Bar

Am I allowed to have a favourite? …because this is definitely it. 540’s dine around menu was perfect for a cold winters’ night! You will definitely have trouble choosing between their two main dishes.

Seared Atlantic salmon with spicy chorizo sausage and mussel risotto. YUM. So much flavour in every bite. The salmon was perfect and the mussels were like an added surprise!
photo 5How great is this presentation? The perfect portion of lamb shepherd’s pie with a delicious light side salad. That little pot tasted like heaven.photo 4 (1)

Are you hungry yet? With all the conversation, photos and food over, I do have one take home message that I wanted to end with: Not everyone can afford to eat out. If you can, it’s an event like this that really highlights why Fredericton is so great. We see some of the best restaurants in our community stepping up to the “plate” to take part in Dine Around Freddy, proceeds of which are being donated to Greener Village Community Food Centre. At GV, we strive to make good nutritious food available to everyone who needs it. So please, support the local businesses, know you are helping out a local not-for-profit and GO ENJOY THE GOOD FOOD!

Be sure to tweet, share, post and instagram photos of your experience with Dine Around Freddy!

Full list of menus and participating restaurants here:

www.DineAroundFredericton.ca

-S

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2015: The year of new things

There is an ample amount of things happening at Greener Village now a days and a lot of it is new for us and our community.

Here are some previews into what the new year will hold for us:

1) In 2014 we saw a small portion of the possible success our growing power has and we are so excited to move forward with our outdoor space. We are expanding our community garden– a space where members of the Food Bank can grow their own fresh vegetables and learn different ways to secure a food source. We are also looking to restore our greenhouse structures to expand the growing season and make them safer for our staff/volunteers.. (we also want to keep out the critters who love our veggies as much as we do!). More raised beds. More native species. More space. More volunteers. All equaling more GOOD FOOD.

2) On The topic of “good food”, Greener Village has been chosen to be the host charity for the DINE AROUND FREDDY event held during FROSTival weeks (January 23 – February 7) in Fredericton, NB. If you haven’t heard of this event before, I encourage you to look into it and follow their page.. SHARE IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS!!

https://www.facebook.com/DineAroundFreddy

A 3 course meal (as local as possible) created by a number of our very own restaurants– for only $29.00. Each participating restaurant will donate $1 per Dine Around Freddy plate sold to us, Greener Village Community Food Centre. I have been working on my appetite and plan to do some taste testing in the next few weeks. I’ll also be trying my hand at food blogging (wish me luck), i’ll post photos!

3) We are gaining speed in the launch of our new corporate campaign- Roots to Wings: Sustaining the Food Centre that Supports our Community. This campaign will be promoted to draw awareness to the capital needs of Greener Village and highlight priority projects that we require to sustain and maintain our daily operations. We are so much more than a Food Bank now and the only way we can end that stigma of “Food Bank=Poor” is to change our behavior and build towards long term solutions like programming, education and sustainable (environmental/social/economic) awareness. For 2015, we are targeting a goal of $176,000 which will help us on 4 main projects- security, transportation, emergency plan, and greenhouse restoration. 

4) The development of the Teaching Kitchen programs is well underway after hiring our Teaching Kitchen Manager- Lisa Wilby, a woman skilled in the business, her family and the kitchen! Offering Tuesday workshops, every Tuesday in January, to members of the Food Bank. Ever wonder what to cook for dinner if you only have those odds and ends? What about after school snacks for the kids? What are some alternatives to the basic junk food to hold the kids over? Lisa will inform you! You’ll even get to try the menus and learn to make them in our Teaching Kitchen. Our programming is going to offer a unique points system which allows you to receive points for each workshop you attend. The more points you have, the more points you can “spend” in our Kitchen Store. Who wants a food processor? A knife set? All brand new and all achievable for ANY family/single household.

5) The University of New Brunswick Environment and Natural Resources fourth year Management Course is working on a management plan for the 12 acres of forested wetland we have on our property. The entire area floods as our beautiful Saint John River rises and falls each spring. The students have brilliant ideas with the environment, wildlife and natural state of the area in mind. We may see some low maintenance trails there in the near future, each highlighting a scenic route to the river and the native trees/vegetation you will see along the way. YAY!

6) We are working on getting help with our re-branding. We’ve struggled over the last few years in the transition of the Fredericton Food Bank to Greener Village Community Food Centre. I’ve met some pretty amazing people, always willing to help, but one name sticks out– Troy Moore, with Da Vinci College. This connection came late in the year and I am excited to explore the project further in 2015. Stay tuned, this should be good.

7) We’ve been working with Fredericton based company Outreach Productions on our new and improved website. All of the things i’m talking about here can be found in detail on there. Or– call us and we’d love to answer your questions. Visit our website today!

http://www.frederictonfoodbank.com/

Overwhelmed yet? Don’t be. There is lots to do but we are working tirelessly to improve the services we offer to the Fredericton Community. If you would like to help, please contact us and apply to volunteer or donate to our projects through the website.

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, hopeful New Year!!

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-S


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It’s CHRISTMAS time!

We have had many hands help around Greener Village recently to bring us this close to Christmas. It’s the week before and things are typically quite crazy for us. Today, however, we have all established that “we got this” and business is running so smoothly.

For those of you who may follow our blog because of the beautiful gardens and vegetables we produce in the summer months (thanks to our summer staff and hard working volunteers), this may be a very different post for you to read.

Home of the Fredericton Food Bank, Greener Village houses 6 paid staff and 120 full time volunteers. The transition from “just a food bank” to our Community Food Centre has been a long road. But it is day’s like today that we realize we are not in this alone! So many of our community members, individuals- young and old, companies and politicians have stepped up to give to the families who struggle to make Christmas a celebration.

For some, this time of year can be very stressful, budgets can be tight and parents may not have the chance to make their child’s Christmas toy wish come true. With the help of our Christmas Program, we are able to deliver over 860 Christmas dinner hampers and fill 2360 Angel toy wishes for children in our community. This is a BIG reason why we are here. Emergency relief, a hand up, some extra help, a cup of coffee and a smile. We certainly couldn’t do it alone and we thank everyone who contributes to our efforts in putting a smile on another persons face.

We are so grateful for each of you who have contributed food donations, financial donations and your time. All of which make the wheels turn in our organization.

Here are some pictures that have been taken over the last week:

Our Christmas Elves in the Warehouse

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Betsy is a Volunteer and runs our entire Angel Tree Program

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UPS collected all these toys and donated them to our Angel Tree

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Sorting Elves from Skillsoft in our Clothing Boutique

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Donna is a volunteer in our Kitchen and Warehouse. She has been making lunch each day (2 weeks worth) for our volunteers!! She’s Superwoman..

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This is Toy Land at O’learys. Once toys are donated to us they get brought here and matched with Christmas Angels. This is another program that is entirely run by Volunteers, thanks to Pam especially!

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AND Matthew, he organized a food and clothing drive, all donated to us this week. We love when our young leaders show Community Spirit. Thank you!

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Many hands make light work they say. Thanks for all that YOU do for our community, it truly makes a difference.

All the best to you and yours this holiday season,

S


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Ways to Grow a Better Food System

I came across this article today on FoodTank’s website and thought it would be great to share with you!

It takes more than one person to change a system but it all starts with YOU.

10 WAYS TO GROW A BETTER FOOD SYSTEM

Are you ready to make daily decisions that help support a more sustainable food system, but done with the really easy stuff? Have you already started eating more vegetarian meals and developed an addiction to the farmer’s market? Are you ready to take more individual actions, but not ready to start growing your own food? This week, Food Tank highlights ten extra steps eaters can take to support a more environmentally sustainable food system.

1. Dine Out, Locally: Most Americans buy food from a restaurant 5.8 times per week,according to the United States Healthful Food Council. Deciding to eat at a locally sourced restaurant once a month would ensure that at least five percent of the meals you eat out are made from local food. Check out Edible Communities or the Eat Well Guide for a list of restaurants who source local ingredients near you.

2. Spend Some Time With Your Oven: Baking bread at home is more sustainable and often healthier than purchasing store-bought bread. National Geographic notes thatone slice of bread requires over 41 liters (11 gallons) of water to produce, a portion of which is used to transport and package store-bought bread in plastic. For a few extra hours a week, you can control the ingredients in your bread and reduce your water and plastic packaging consumption. See The Fresh Loaf for a primer on bread baking.

3. Buy Seasonal Local Produce: Buying in-season locally grown produce can result in environmental and economic rewards. Eating foods grown at the appropriate time of the year ensures that you get low food mile, flavorful food. Check out the Eat Well Guidefor North America to learn what you should be buying each month.

4. Learn to Preserve: From 2008 to 2010, 3,000 people signed up for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) online course on home canning and joined a growing movement that is supporting a better food system in the United States. Canning can reduce food miles, food packaging, and can help guarantee you have local foods bought in season to eat out of season. To find out if canning is for you, check out the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, some handy Canning Basics, and Slate’s review of canning.

5. Embrace the Dirt: Twenty-one percent of waste going into municipal landfills in 2012 came from food waste. Home composting can prevent waste from unnecessarily ending up in a landfill where it contributes to the production of methane, a greenhouse gas. There are great resources about how to compost, both in your backyard and in yourapartment. If you’re worried about what to do with the compost, you can use it on your house plants or donate it to a local garden.

6. Use What’s Already Growing: Foraging for wild food is not just about getting pesticide-free food for free, but about reestablishing human’s connection to nature. For Ava Chin, author of Eating Wildly and guest speaker on urban foraging for Food Tank,foraging is also about finding joy amongst the struggles of life. Be sure to check out Edible Wild Food’s resources and Falling Fruit’s global maps of foraging locations to know what you can and cannot eat before you head out to pick your dinner.

7. Do More Than the Dirty Dozen: For more than a decade, the Environmental Working Group has published their list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. If you have already been taking the time to buy organic produce for the top twelve pesticide heavy fruits and vegetables, why not go a bit farther and buy pesticide-free produce for the top fifteen or twenty items?

8. Find a Farm: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or box food subscription services are provided by over 12,000 farms in the U.S., according to the USDA. Consumers who buy a membership with a CSA receive a box of vegetables or other farm products at regular intervals during the season purchased, while also providing a farmer with the certainty that his coming harvest has buyers. Check out Local Harvest’s database to find a CSA near you.

9. Make a Calendar: Over one billion tons of food are lost or wasted each year across the globe. Wasted food means wasted resources: the energy and water that was used to produce that food product is squandered if the food is not consumed. Each American household typically throws out nine kilograms (twenty pounds) of food a month. Meal planning with a template is one clear way to decrease your food waste.

10. Get Off the Plastic: In 2009, 29.5 percent of waste found in municipal landfills in the U.S. came from containers and packaging. By actively choosing to buy food with little or no plastic packaging, less waste and less toxins will be produced. Some stores are supporting this transition by providing refillable stations for cleaning products and a small grocery store in Austin, Texas has even gone package free!


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Spook the Hunger

We love our business community and how involved they get! Especially when the events are themed (who doesn’t love a themed event/party?!). You can find our WISH LIST of items on our website at http://frederictonfoodbank.com/ and please note that we are able to accept perishable items if they are dropped off during our business hours or cared for responsibly until they are turned into us!

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Thank you over and over for putting on this event again!

-S


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Open House/Open Farm Day 2014

This past weekend we celebrated New Brunswick’s Open Farm Day, as a proud participant with Agricultural Alliance of NB’s initiative to raise awareness about local agriculture happening in and around our very own community. We see our participation as a duty of the Community Food Centre, to bring people together to celebrate the opportunities we have here when it comes to producing local, organic, and nutritious foods.

We had over 800 people through our doors, many of which took a scheduled tour of our facility. We appreciate the positive feedback we received and we continue to work hard to develop further programming and workshops to offer our community.

Here are some pictures from the day. Be sure to check our Facebook page for the full gallery. You can find us by searching “Fredericton Food Bank”. Enjoy!

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Our motto is “many hands make light work” and this event is definitely an example of that! Many people came together to help us achieve the success of the day (and the days leading up to it) and we would like to thank all of them for their hard work and dedication to our mission at the Community Food Centre.

Until next time,

S


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Today’s the day!

I can’t find the words to describe the kind of day it has been here at Greener Village. At one point this afternoon I walked outside and was overwhelmed by the amount of “seemingly small but actually huge” jobs that were getting accomplished around the property. I raced inside to get my camera so I could capture the many hands that came together to give our location some serious re-vamping today! Some of it may be for educational purposes, some structural, some fun and exciting, however, all of it plays a part in our sustainable development strategy that we are continually working towards. Today was a reminder to be thankful for our hard working volunteers, our exceptional local businesses, and the many relationships we’ve built- and continue to build in our community!!

New beams are replacing the rotting old logs that stood in the front of the building. They were a safety hazard for us so it’s exciting to see structural improvements underway, providing a safe and happy environment for all.image (12)We have a new gazebo…well sort of! Josh is working away at putting this together in time for our Open House on September 21st. We love areas that provide shade and rain cover, not to mention a space to gather in the garden!

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Oh my! We have a new composter! This Compost-Twin was purchased through funding grants we received for our composting demonstration site project. Can’t wait to get things decomposing in there..

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Let’s talk about education! What’s better than reading about the life cycle of a butterfly? Yup, actually SEEING a butterfly go through its life cycle! We’re in the works to developing a butterfly “raising and release” program as well as becoming an official “stop over” for Monarch butterflies. We are right in their migration path, so why not do what we can to help these super-pollinators?! Thanks to Nature NB for providing the sign template and information for our new signs!

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What next?? You guessed it.. It’s a chicken coop! We can’t wait to inhabit this home with some feathered friends! Backyard chickens are a great education tool for all ages, not to mention they produce a source of FOOD for us …eggs in this case, not meat! 🙂

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Safe to say everyone here at Greener Village is excited about our new wood fired cob oven. This thing can cook a pizza in 2 minutes, amazing! We’ll be using it for events, workshops, hey- it’s even available for you to host your next pizza party in our garden!! Thanks to McMillan Dentistry and the True Image team for the fundraiser donation to this specific project!

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Of course, we can’t forget the little critters. Winter, one of our Lionhead Rabbits is getting some much needed grooming time with Vadini! Like cats, these rabbits can get mats in their fur which can then cause hair balls (not fun, apparently).

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Last but not least, this project put a pep in my step! Northside Pavement Markings Ltd fit us into an open afternoon and completely revamped our parking lot. It’s now a safe, bright and WELL labeled area. We have wheelchair parking, a welcome sign at the door front and a bus lane for our City bus stop! Another piece in our capital improvements put to rest.

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It all comes down to People Helping People. Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. Have a happy day!

-S