Meridian is thrilled to partner with Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC) in support of The Big Social, CFCC’s flagship annual fundraiser. At Meridian, we believe that resilient communities are essential; similarly, CFCC believes that building health, belonging, and social justice in low-income communities across Canada begins with equitable access to healthy foods. The Big Social funds numerous great CFCC programs; Mind Your Food is just one example.
Since COVID-19 began, young people have had to cope with major disruption in all areas of their lives. And when it comes to mental health, youth have been disproportionately impacted.
Mind Your Food promotes mental and physical resilience among youth living in low-income communities. The program focuses on food, nutrition, and cooking, and emphasizes healthy relationships with oneself, with others, and with community. Youth are given opportunities to explore food traditions, prepare and share meals, spend time outside and give back to their communities.
During the pandemic, Mind Your Food was offered online in partnership with Harmony Community Food Centre in Toronto, NorWest Co-op Community Food Centre in Winnipeg, and Natoaganeg Community Food Centre in Natoaganeg First Nation, New Brunswick. Each of these partnerships was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
By participating in this program, young people got the chance to connect and cook together, with recipes and ingredients delivered right to their doors. Generous portions meant they could enjoy leftovers or share meals with their families.
One Mind Your Food participant described what the program has meant to them:
"This is a very uplifting program. Being able to make your own healthy meals and share them while learning many new things makes me feel really good.”
Want to know how you can support programs like Mind Your Food? Sign up for The Big Social and share food to change lives. This October, cook, create, and connect to raise money for empowering community food programs across Canada.
Looking for some seasonal meal inspiration as we head into fall? Try this favourite from the Mind Your Food program!
Recipe: Roasted Turkey Three Sisters Soup
This recipe was shared with NorWest Co-op Community Food Centre by Christa Bruneau- Guenther of Feast Bistro (Winnipeg, MB).
The Three Sisters (corn, squash and beans) are an important facet of many Indigenous foodways across Turtle Island. When planted together, they grow symbiotically, with the corn stalk providing a strong structure for the beans to climb; the beans, in turn, pulling nitrogen into the soil for the corn and squash; and the squash leaves providing shade to the soil while deterring pests from the other two plants. Each sister plays an important role, reminding us that we exist in relation to those around us and that we’re all better off when we work together.
Serves 6-8 people
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery stalks, sliced
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 6 cups water or chicken stock
- 1 pound roasted turkey (or chicken, if preferred) cut into chunks
- 2 potatoes, washed and cubed (leave skin on - it’s healthy)
- 2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded then cubed
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons chicken flavour base
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 cup white northern beans (from the can drained or soaked & cooked from dried)
- 1/2 cup corn (frozen, canned or fresh)
- Heat a large pot to medium high. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Add onions, celery and carrots. Cook for 4 minutes stirring a few times.
- Add water/stock, diced turkey, spices, potatoes and squash. Bring to a bubble, turn heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stir a few times.
- Once potatoes are soft, add beans and corn. Cook for 5 more minutes.
- Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. Serve with bannock. Enjoy!