To open the first day of our Community Tables training in Brandon we began by each sharing a story of an early memory we had regarding food. It was from this point of common ground that folks had the opportunity to peer into and connect with the life experiences of the others around the table. As each person had their turn to reminisce and share, we were transported to special moments spent with family and loved ones.
More than one of these stories had at its core a message of how, when we make food for others, we are sharing and giving our love to them. Dorothy, who cooks for residents at a local women’s shelter, spoke of coming home from school to a hot lunch prepared by her mother. “She wasn’t there every day, but the days she was, they were special. That was how she showed her love for us.” The same message was also included in many of the teachings that were shared throughout the Community Tables Training: when we’re making food we should infuse that food with love and care for the people we serve.
This kind of teaching creates a setting in which we can build the conversation about food from a place of positivity and caring. From there, we can holistically learn about nutrition and menu planning and all of the logistical type information that is essential to intentionally providing nourishing food to the clients that we are serving in our various organizations.
At this particular Community Tables training, we also had the opportunity to learn about and share some Indigenous foods and medicines, thanks to some knowledgeable participants from Waywayseecappo First Nation. Glenda taught us about the healing powers of chokecherries and the traditional method of processing them, and generously brought some of her own meticulously crushed cherries and prepared them in the traditional way for us to taste. Meanwhile, Dorothy was happy to get to learn to make bannock and fry bread from Erin, whose fry bread skills are renowned in her family and community. It all goes to show what can happen when we come together to learn and share over the power of food.
Through programs and training opportunities like these we can continue to build and strengthen networks and connections as we support one another in this mission to provide good food for all Manitobans.
-Olivia Boyce, Brandon Program Coordinator
Stay tuned for more information about our next Community Tables Training, taking place in Winnipeg later this fall.