This article was co-written by Yasi Zorlutuna.
The SEED partners with many local organizations to make good things happen. Community FEWD is one of these. Our work together has been growing strong since May 2022!
Food Equity with Dignity
Community FEWD (Food Equity With Dignity) is a mobile meal service (and future food truck), supported by the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition and Our Food Future. ‘FEWD’ centers dignity, quality and accessibility while diverting high quality foodstuffs from landfill.
The brainchild of Chef Yasi Zorlutuna (a past Upcycle Kitchen volunteer!), FEWD marries commercial food service with grassroots community organizing, outreach and care. Given the alignment with The SEED’s values, we eagerly sought opportunities to support FEWD from the beginning.
Since starting May 11th, FEWD has served 5481 meals and diverted 2385 Kgs of surplus from landfill!
Meals are regularly served in several neighbourhood locations throughout Guelph: Two Rivers, North End Harvest Market (located within North Riverside), Onward Willow, Brant Ave, and Grange Hill East. FEWD also works alongside Your Downtown Friends to offer meals to the downtown community twice a week.
They also offer catering services to bring in revenue and support the longevity of the program. See their current schedule here.
“I love the break from having to worry about dinner and that it is accessible to me….as a single parent meals can feel lonely and its given me a chance to connect with people in my community”Customer comment from the U of Guelph Research Shop’s Community FEWD survey
Partnering with The SEED and beyond!
In the spring, Yasi and The SEED Manager Tom worked out an arrangement to have SEED summer staff support FEWD with processing, cooking, transporting and serving. Alex Bradley and Taylor Azzopardi took on these support roles, and deeply valued their time working with FEWD. It was a win-win, as their support was instrumental in setting up systems to help it run smoothly during the summer and beyond.
The SEED now has a Food Surplus Lead, Yasmine Gheshlaghi, who communicates and sets aside high quality surplus food for use in the FEWD kitchen at The Church of the Apostles.
Healthy, delicious and nutritious meals. I’m unemployed due to health and this helps me access healthy food when I am unable to financially.Customer comment from the U of Guelph Research Shop’s Community FEWD survey
Delicious, and Stigma- Free
FEWD is a mobile operation, bringing food to the places and spaces where people already gather, with a focus on collaborating with programming that offers low/no cost food. Removing the persistent stigma around food insecurity and being from a low income household is core to what FEWD offers the community. It is achieving this in at the following ways (and more):
- All meals are prepared in a certified kitchen by an experienced team, including a Chef (Yasi) and a team of volunteers! The meals are of a caliber you would expect to see from a high quality restaurant or caterer.
- Anyone in the community can come and enjoy a meal- no one is turned away, and customers are encouraged to take home enough to feed their whole family. We see people coming to pick up for neighbours and family members who can’t get there. Yum!
- There is no obligation to pay, however donations are graciously accepted from those who’d like to – or are able to contribute.
- Customers are encouraged to bring their own clean tupperwares from home to avoid creating extra waste, but Friendlier containers are also available upon request.
- At the Wednesday evening meals, Rainbow Mentors sets up a craft and activity area for kids to enjoy and be occupied while their parents wait for food and chat with their community.
The value of community FEWD is not just in making sure people who are low income have a meal, it’s also nutritious, quality food that parents who work long hours and/or care for children don’t have to prepare. It gives me a break and I am so grateful for that…Customer comment from the U of Guelph Research Shop’s Community FEWD survey
What’s coming up… and how you can help!
FEWD is planning to start serving meals at Shelldale (where Shelldale Farm Park and the Upcycle Kitchen are located) on a regular basis, and imagine many more opportunities to collaborate with the SEED at that location.
FEWD is also in the process of securing indoor locations at each of the neighbourhood stops, to ensure that the program is able to continue as the weather gets harsher!
If you are interested in helping out, you can sign up as a volunteer to help in the kitchen or to serve at events (email@example.com).