Thanksgiving is here; time to talk turkey, eat until you can’t move and watch the game. While the ‘fam jam’ is sitting around the table astounded at how much food they’re looking at, the cooks of the day are leaning back with complete satisfaction.
They’ve worked all season long preparing for the look of happiness as everyone moans and groans with over indulgence.
Families give thanks for so many reasons… one of those being the fun of enjoying veggies they’ve grown themselves.
Barrie Uncovered Explores Harvest Share
Barrie Uncovered was invited to share space with a group that is largely responsible for making this happen. We attended Harvest Share at Shear Park, organized by Andee Pilan of Living Green.
Urban Pantry and Their Programs
Urban Pantry, one of the groups, provides our communities with garden space in conjunction with the city of Barrie. Any resident is able to register for a plot with the City of – online for $20.00. What a wonderful opportunity for anyone that doesn’t have space.
Not a gardener? Learn from others in a community garden setting. Not sure how to use your bounty? Ask Bev MacDonald, a long time volunteer as the Community Chef, for recipes, canning/ storage tips and more. With eleven community gardens within the city there’s lots of opportunity to both learn and grow.
Partnering with the Canadian Mental Health Association, Urban Pantry also offers virtual Community Cooking Classes with ingredients delivery for individuals that may have a more difficult time preparing nutritious meals through a referral agency.
The third program that Urban Pantry runs is called Barrie Good Food Box, a community buying club that promotes paying it forward. For $17.00 anyone can buy or assist a family with seasonal produce and a ten pound bag of spuds. What a deal.
With your monetary donations they are able to provide fresh fruit and veggies to our residents that struggle with food insecurities, so consider making a donation from your family to Urban Pantry in support of these much needed programs.
Living Green in Barrie
We also met up with the volunteers of Living Green. They are a fantastic charitable organization that educates and guides us with innovative environmental programs. Not only that – they plant trees to ensure our canopy of green stays healthy as well as planting ‘food forests’ of fruit bearing trees in public areas for all to enjoy. This group is always willing to help you with your fitness by having volunteer tree planting programs. The goal is to have 10,000 trees planted by 2024. To date they’ve planted 2,200 (pretty good numbers considering our lifestyle changes the past few seasons). If you enjoy the outdoors and maybe getting grounded and a bit dirty – this is a great place to volunteer.
The Barrie Native Friendship Centre
The last group we were introduced to was the staff and volunteers from The Barrie Native Friendship Centre. We were asked to join in a tea ceremony where we learned the art and value of drinking a simple cedar tea rich in vitamin C. There were numerous displays and lots of information on the programs run out of the Centre.
The Star of the Show
The star of the show (not that every group wasn’t) was Marty Lancaster, a teacher a Bear Creek Secondary School. Marty had brought along his antique apple cider press – inviting anyone who wanted – a chance to have their apples pressed right before their eyes. It was amazing to watch (along with the bees) as he quickly turned apples in the nectar of the gods. It was absolutely the best cider we’ve ever had.
So, sitting around the table this weekend, enjoying the holiday…give thanks. Give thanks once again for all we have, all there is, and the wonderful people that make these very special groups possible. Buy a good food box for your family; buy a second one to share. Plant a tree and help reach the goal for our city’s beautiful canopy, and reach out to the Native Friendship Centre to see what all they offer.
This truly is a City with Heart.
Written By: Jane Laker
Photo Credits: Veronika Kovecses