Shelbourne Community Kitchen program co-ordinator Kim Cummins shows off some of the produce available through the facility located on Shelbourne Street. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Saanich celebrates community kitchen

The Shelbourne Community Kitchen did Monday what does it does best throughout the year: open its doors to the public in a spirit of hospitality, as it hosted its first open house.

“We really want the community to come in to show them the community kitchen, so that they can know what we are all about, to see what we do here,” said Laura Cochrane, board chair.

Located in a modest house in the 3500 block of Shelbourne Street, the facility offers programs that teach participants how to source, choose and prepare healthy food more affordably through its communal kitchen where participants receive cooking lessons from trained volunteers, almost half of which are also program participants. The kitchen also runs a garden and serves as a resource centre, building relations and resilience along the way. It also runs an emergency pantry program, where participants can select one item from one shelf, two from another, not forgetting to take a selection of produce from the fridge, much of it grown on site.

As Cochrane was speaking, she stood in the kitchen of the facility. The open house had started just a few minutes earlier and the place was already buzzing with locals and others involved with the kitchen. Cochrane had just wrapped up a tour of the house. Program co-ordinator Kim Cummins, meanwhile, was leading another group of visitors through the building, explaining its operations.

The organization emerged after representatives from partnering organizations – St. Aidan’s United Church, St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Lutheran Church of the Cross, Mount Tolmie Community Association and Camosun Community Association – had been noticing signs of rising food insecurity in the area. Developments since have borne out that observation.

“We have had a lot of steady growth since we opened our doors here in March 2015,” said Cochrane. “We began our programs at the end of 2013, but at this site here, we have had incredible growth and that continues.”

The kitchen leases its current space, and runs it under a temporary use permit. Saanich first approved the permit for the facility’s current location in September 2014 for a three-year-period, and extended it two months ago.

A committee is currently looking at a variety of options, said Cochrane.

“An option could be to stay here and work out some kind of arrangement, whereby the zoning would change, that would enable us to stay here,” she said. “As you can appreciate, there are other options as well.” They include leasing space elsewhere, or starting a capital campaign to eventually purchase a site.

Regardless of the eventual choice, it must meet at least one criteria. “We always want to be on a bus route to make it easier for our program participants to come here and make use of our services.”

Cochrane, for her part, would like the facility to remain in the Shelbourne Valley area. “Being on Shelbourne, there are so many buses, it is so easy to access, and it has great visibility.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Almost 150 calls of service for Westshore Towing during snowstorm

Most calls were from Sooke, Metchosin and Highlands

Langford Legion gives the gift of tech to elementary school

Savory donation of $2,680 funds four Chromebooks and two iPad minis

Esquimalt, T’Sou-ke nations join more than 50 other members in South Island Prosperity Partnership

Chiefs look forward to creating ‘sustainable future’ for next generations

Hydro pole fire closes portion of Metchosin Road in Colwood

Motorists are advised to avoid the area of Metchosin Road near Royal Bay

Saanich roads doused in more than 300 tonnes of salt during snowstorm

Crews cleared roads around the clock during the mid-January storm

VIDEO: The Victoria byelection leads a selection of today’s news stories

A selection of Greater Victoria top stories for Jan. 17

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

SOOKE HISTORY: Remembering Salvatore (Sam) Pasta

Salvatore (Sam) Pasta lived life to the fullest

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

POLL: Has the recent snow had an impact on your daily life?

Old Man Winter had Greater Victoria in his icy grip this week.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read