C.C. McLean students take part in from seed to table, cooking what you grow workshop

Cody Leeson, right, was the facilitator for a community cooking workshop held at the Gore Bay Farmers’ Market last Friday.

GORE BAY—As part of the Manitoulin Community Fresh Food Initiative (MCFFI), a ‘From Seed to Table-Cooking What You Grow’ workshop was held last Friday with a Thanksgiving theme.

Facilitator for the day was Cody Leeson of Noojmowin Teg Health Centre and included Grade 8 students from Charles C. McLean taking part. The event was held in conjunction with the weekly farmers’ market held in Gore Bay last Friday.

Kristen Bickell, Project Manager of the MCFFI with Noojmowin Teg, told the Recorder, “this is another part of our Manitoulin Community Fresh Food Initiative. The idea with today’s workshop is to help participants learn about cooking with vegetables that we grow in our home and community gardens here on Manitoulin. Our featured vegetables include for instance squash, beets, sweet potatoes, herbs, sage, onions, chives, parsley and other ingredients like local honey and maple syrup.”

“In the spring we held gardening workshops, and then a composting component, the harvest bag creation, and now the cooking workshop using local ingredients,” said Ms. Bickell.

Mr. Leeson led participants in learning about the ingredients being used and how to prepare them. They made three recipes, a wild rice and roasted squash dish, sweet potato and pumpkin puree soup, and a beet and orange salad with goat cheese.

“This is part of our community workshops; we already held one in Wikwemikong and Aundeck Omni Kaning, and will be doing similar workshops in Mindemoya, Whitefish River and Zhiibaahaasing (this) week. After that we will be hosting preserving workshops,” said Ms. Bickell.

The Manitoulin Community Fresh Food Initiative is designed to enhance and support community gardening, deliver from seed to table community workshops, provide home gardens, tools and supports, promote all-season growing through their innovative greenhouse project and promote Indigenous food access and sovereignty.

The initiative is driving Manitoulin’s local food movement forward by supporting a holistic approach to sourcing locally produced food in sustainable, culturally appropriate, community-driven methods.

By connecting people with their food (physically, culturally, environmentally), the MCFFI aims to increase access to fresh and traditional food, improve community food security and food literacy, and assist in providing opportunities for people to chose where their food comes from.