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

Literacy global phenomenon lands in Sooke

A worldwide program Free Little Library boasts more than 93,000 locations

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

All Carlton Cards stores closing in the coming weeks

Schurman Retail Group stores across North America will close, including 79 in Canada

Meet Arthur Heart, Oak Bay Avenue’s resident stickman

Contest winner dubs stickman Art Heart

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Island Bakery in Cobble Hill to close

Cobble Hill store in business since 1982

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Successful end to search for kayakers along the Island river

Father and son located tired and cold, but otherwise OK

Most Read