Country Kitchen is now on facebook!

What is it?

A volunteer-run,  monthly collective, cooking program that brings together the rural community to prepare, cook, and eat nutritious and budget-
conscious meals with an emphasis on locally grown food.

Country Kitchen is self-sustaining, community initiative; exclusively volunteer run and operating with generous support from local businesses and farmers. 

Monthly meeting rotate among three locations in West Carleton communities.

When and how did it start?

Country Kitchen began in 2008 as a collaboration among City Councillor Eli El-Chantiry’s office, Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre, Ottawa Public Health, and City of Ottawa Poverty Issues Advisory Committee.

The initiative explored connecting rural community assets and potential for building capacity, such as community associations, faith-based groups, local producers, and others along with needs and barriers affecting rural residents, such as transportation, living alone, aging
population, low incomes, etc. 

A formal partnership between Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre and Ottawa Public Health was successful in securing one-year non-renewable funding through City of Ottawa, Community Project Funding Program

What is its purpose?

Goals identified by the stakeholders include:

- Develop opportunities for vulnerable residents to access nutritious, affordable food
- Encourage participation of residents, local producers and community stakeholders
- Increase knowledge and skills of residents about making healthier food choices
when shopping, selecting recipes and preparing food
- Provide opportunities for physically and socially isolated residents to strengthen
social networks and promote successful aging
- Create interest in growing and buying locally produced food
- Develop a network of community partners who support community access to
nutritious, affordable food for rural residents

Who is involved?

Volunteers, community residents
Fitzroy Harbour Community Association and Seniors Club
Kinburn Community Association
St. Paul’s United Church
Parish of South March
St. James Church
River Mission
West Carleton Emergency Food Aid
Penny’s Fudge Factory
Acorn Creek Farm
Fitzroy Beef Farmers
Hudson’s Farm
Carp Farmer’s Market
Garlic Festival
Dunrobin Meats
Herb Garden
Russell Corbett’s Honey
Farm Boy, Signature Plaza
Local media, including West Carleton Review, West Carleton EMC, Fitzroy Peeper
Ottawa Public Health
City of Ottawa, Community Project Funding Program
City of Ottawa Rural Affairs office
City of Ottawa Poverty Issues Advisory Committee
Carp Ridge Ecowellness Centre
West Carleton Family Health Team
City of Ottawa Parks and Recreation
Ottawa Police Service, Community Police Centre
City Councillor, Eli El-Chantiry
Local business entrepreneurs and farming community
Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre

How are they involved?

Multiple stakeholders supported the program in numerous ways, including:
- Facilitating the program
- coordinating the logistical tasks
- Donating time, knowledge, experience, and skills

- Donating community kitchen space
- Funding the initial development of the program
- Advising in the development and implementation of the program
-- Advising in the sustainability of the program
- Donating food items, e.g. local producers, area businesses, and volunteers
- Providing health and wellness resources such as information on nutrition, safe
food handling, health-wise cooking on a budget and for specific populations,
e.g. persons with diabetes, persons living alone, etc., as well as information on
alternative health and wellbeing practices and approaches
- Promoting the program

Feedback from participants:

Given me the confidence to cook healthy food for my family”
“We tend to prepare meals together now”
“Shows how to eat well for less”
“We eat more fruits and vegetables”
“I never cook but now I will”
“I hope this never stops”
“This is a wonderful program”
“I look forward to it every month”
“I can’t imagine improving this, it was fabulous”
“Just keep ‘em coming”

“I think this is the best thing that ever happened to our rural communities”