At the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre in Halifax, it’s business as usual. On Monday, there’s a drop-in breakfast in the morning and a supper and mini-food market for young families in the evening. On Tuesday, it’s a walking group that ends with lunch, a men’s cooking group and an afternoon event called Chop and Chat. Every two weeks on Wednesday, students from a local elementary school come to cook in the kitchen, and every Friday, there is a Good Food Market. Later in the month, there will be an income tax clinic, a pop-up library, a movie night, an African food tasting session, and a “Solidarity Supper”, where diners can learn more about local history from an indigenous perspective.
The Food Centre, which opened in the summer of 2015, and is one of 10 Community Food Centres across Canada, is a beacon for local residents in an area of the city that in 2011, was reported by local newspaper The Coast to be one of Halifax’s most broken communities, due in part to the high-density, mid-low income housing that was hastily constructed in the early 1980s. Poor urban planning, claims The Coast, changed this part of the Dartmouth landscape from “an empty field to a forest of apartments.”
On the other side of the Halifax harbour this week, organizers of the world’s largest food and film festival, Devour!, are finalizing the guest list for Devour! The Sea: a delicious pop-up evening of food, film and wine to be held at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on March 1. The Night at the Museum-style takeover will feature dishes by local chefs, inspired by classic seafaring films, paired with local wine and spirits, with all proceeds going to the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre.
It is the third year that Devour! The Sea has raised money for the food centre. To date, Devour! has raised $15,475. A sell-out at this year's event would mean a grand total of more than 10,000 meals served at the centre.
We are so delighted with our continued relationship with the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre," says Michael Howell, Devour! Executive Director. "Devour! the Sea is one of our most unique and enjoyable events of the year, mixing up great chefs, great films and a taste of the oceans for an incredibly important cause."
Wendy Fraser, Executive Director of Dartmouth Family Centre and the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre says she’s proud of their continued partnership with Devour. "Everyone is so generous with this event, so when you support Devour! the Sea, you're supporting our programs."
Participating chefs and restaurants include Mark Gray (The Watch That Ends The Night), Shane Robilliard (Fox Harb'r Resort), Renée Lavallée (The Canteen), Jason Lynch (Le Caveau Restaurant), Stephanie Ogilvie (Black Sheep Restaurant) and Terry Vassallo (Mappatura Bistro).
Because the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre is a place where the community comes together to cook, share and advocate for good food, while Devour! is a community of film and food lovers who come together to do the same (albeit while sipping wine and watching films), it’s easy to reflect on how a shared love of food and community makes for an excellent fundraising partnership.
At the time of writing, tickets are still available for $125 per person with all proceeds going to the Centre.