Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New programs focus on healthy living

Centre to be one-stop food stop; first of its kind in Western Canada

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From the ground up (from left): NorWest Co-op community development co-ordinator Michelle Kirkbride, food centre  director Kristina McMillan and primary care assistant Marsha Gravador are getting ready to serve up some healthy meals. 
treats.

3 with moving boxes in what is to become the NorWest Community Food Centre (CFC) when the Co-op health centre moves to it�s new office.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

From the ground up (from left): NorWest Co-op community development co-ordinator Michelle Kirkbride, food centre director Kristina McMillan and primary care assistant Marsha Gravador are getting ready to serve up some healthy meals. treats. 3 with moving boxes in what is to become the NorWest Community Food Centre (CFC) when the Co-op health centre moves to it�s new office. Photo Store

The Shaughnessy Park area will help pioneer a new community service that is a one-stop shop for healthy food and positive lifestyles.

The NorWest Co-op Community Food Centre, at Tyndall Avenue and Chudley Street, will be the first of its kind in Western Canada.

"It's a one-stop shop for everything to do with food for northwest Winnipeg," said Kristina McMillan, director of the project. "That means a lot of new services for the community."

The centre, to open in the fall, will employ between five and 10 people and more than 30 volunteers will donate their time. Programs will include special services such as a free lunch for everyone in the community.

"We also have cooking classes and cooking groups, so for people who want to learn about healthy cooking, maybe they are wanting to get together with those in their own cultural community and practise some of that cooking," McMillan said.

The centre was created by NorWest Co-op Community Health, a non-profit holistic health organization in which community members buy a lifetime membership and have a say in programming. Community Food Centres Canada, a partner in the new centre, is an organization focusing on providing healthy food in a community atmosphere.

Along with the food programs, the centre will offer diabetes and prenatal information and a dietitian will be available for consultations.

An advocacy office will be on-site to help with housing issues and unemployment.

"I'm just overjoyed to hear that this is being set up," said Point Douglas Coun. Mike Pagtakhan. "The more we can educate people about where food comes from and the value of whole foods and how to cook nutritionally, I think that will go a long way with respect to keeping citizens out of the health-care system."

The centre will survey area residents to determine what sort of programs would be popular. It will also help the local economy, as a lot of the food will come from local producers McMillan said.

Other programs organized in conjunction with Community Food Centres Canada include the Stop in Toronto, the Table in Perth and the Local in Stratford. The Winnipeg centre will be the first in Western Canada.

"In northwest Winnipeg we have a little bit of a lack of services and programs out here for folks," said McMillan. "It's quite isolated from some of the services offered downtown."

McMillan said the neighbourhood is popular for newcomers to Canada and is a hub for the Filipino community. The centre could be a place for them to gather and share their traditional dishes, she said.

"They can keep their cultural dishes, and also learn to cook healthy recipes,, or to garden the same kind of things that they were able to garden back home, but try it in a shorter season," said McMillan.

steph.crosier@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 3, 2013 B2

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