The Discovery House Harvest Table Project

The Cause

IMAGINE: An open door to a warm, bright, safe space where women and children share in community and food – coming together to listen, learn and engage. Here, in this community kitchen is support for education, food innovation, nutrition and health. We will nurture connections, welcome each other to the table and always find room for more. This program will bring Calgary’s food community together with other agencies, women and children. The Harvest Table will support the acquisition of skills in food safety, security, strategy, sustainability and economics. Our vision for the programming includes social enterprises related to both catering and farming. At our Sustainable Table, minds will broaden, new ideas will be embraced, passions will be sparked and emotions will be shared. Here healing will take place.

NEED IDENTIFICATION: Exposure to violence affects mental health, ability to obtain work with living wages, and subsequently the ability to afford food. In addition, it is well established that exposure to violence, abuse and neglect is linked to increased social isolation, depression, stress and anxiety. The HTP offered by DH aims to combat both food insecurity and social isolation experienced by survivors by providing a communal kitchen where residents may prepare and share nourishing food that encourages them to gather and communicate. By offering shopping, meal planning and preparation workshops, culturally appropriate cooking classes, and food-focused education classes, the HTP contributes to increased socialization among survivors and helps build community during a critical turning point in these women’s, and their children’s, lives.

Who Will it Benefit?

Discovery House Family Violence Prevention Society (DH) is a trusted, dynamic Calgary agency dedicated to the safety and well-being of women and children leaving domestic violence, offering shelter, hope and education through integrated community support services that result in healthier families and stronger communities.

In 2017 DH supported 651 women and their children through housing, programming and innovative therapies.

THE NEED: The DH Common Room (CR) is an ideal area for diverse use. The development of a functional inviting kitchen space, with more storage; open, clean workspaces; appliances; and tools/utensils, is crucial to the HTP at DH. It is located in an accessible area with entry to the staffed children’s centre and outdoor garden which creates continuity to existing programming. DH is aware other community gardens and kitchens exist in Calgary. Unfortunately, these are unable to be accessed on a regular basis by our shelter residents due to safety and security concerns. An onsite facility, which allows food preparation for women and children living with trauma, will assist in rebuilding their lives.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH: DH has created a community garden project which created a beautiful flower and vegetable garden, safely tucked away in our enclosed courtyard. DH secured ongoing commitments to supply gardening resources as needed, in addition to a connection on with the Inglewood Community Garden for two plots dedicated for DH clients. The supply of fresh food will be utilized in HTP. A local Chef and owner of Park Kitchen and Bar has committed time and expertise with group educational activities related to healthy living.

TIMING: DH has the resources and planning capability to begin HTP immediately upon confirmation of funding.

A portion of the project funds have been awarded by the Calgary Foundation as well as support from a family oriented third party fundraising event.