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compass group canada Community grant

Compass Group Canada has become a market leader in contract foodservice and support services through a simple recipe: great people, great service and great results. This easy-to-follow recipe serves millions across the nation, from serving delicious, nutritious meals at school cafeterias, corporate cafes, hospitals and remote camps to routine cleaning and maintenance services at your workplace and airports.

The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia is proud to offer a new Named Grant, in honour of Compass Group Canada.The Compass Group Canada Community Grant support educational programs that focus on healthy eating and food preparation for Nova Scotians who are living with mental illness.

In 2015-16, the grant supported two initiatives across the province: Hinchinbrook Farm Society’s We Dig Food program, and Veith House Community Kitchen’s Large Appliance Installation project.

We Dig Food

We Dig Food is based out of a garden at Hinchinbrook Farm in Blockhouse. Hinchinbrook Farm hosts a wide range of programs designed to provide sensory stimulation for children and young people living with mental challenges through outdoor experiences, such as therapeutic horseback riding. The garden has created a new opportunity to diversify the range of experiences offered to the children.

Children have participated in everything from choosing seeds to planting them, raising crops, harvesting and cooking with produce. Many of the children live with Autism Spectrum Disorder and benefit directly from the peaceful environment; the wide range of colours, tastes and smells; and the countless learning opportunities created by the garden.

Compass Group Canada Community Grant funding has enabled We Dig Food to add more plots, increase the variety of foods grown, and increase the number of people who can participate. The team has been able to build more frame arbor structures for climbing vines and shelter, and jam and jelly production has been added to programming.

Luke, a young adult with Autism and Keratoconus (a degenerative disease of the cornea), has enjoyed being part of seeing something grow. His mother comments that this program provides a new recreational activity for him that did not exist before.

This grant provides a physical activity focusing on one of the things Luke enjoys the most – food! He loves the social interaction with others in the activity and he enjoys harvesting the fresh vegetables to eat. This activity makes Luke happy and gives him something to look forward to every week.

Jaime, 15, benefits from the stress reduction provided by the garden. Her life is impacted by SCN1A-Like Variant Dravet Syndrome, a type of Epilepsy. Her condition contributes to isolation, anxiety and memory loss.

At We Dig Food, she has taken part in seeding, planting, weeding, maintenance, harvesting, baking, hand pollination and selling vegetables at the Farmers Market. She also achieved her Gardening Badge for Scouts.

Her mother says: “Jaime loves watching things grow. She started eating salads, beans, and zucchini and now drinks herbal teas. She made chocolate zucchini cake, salad dressings, and pizza from garden produce. She’s changed her diet for the better and she has a sense of accomplishment and has considered gardening as a future career, whereas before she had no interests for her future.”


Veith House Community Kitchen

Veith House has been a North End Halifax institution for 45 years. Today it is a neighbourhood hub that provides services and opportunities to Halifax residents, connecting them with one another to build a healthier, more vibrant community. Veith House programs and services focus on three pillars: healthy minds, healthy bodies, and healthy relationships.

The Veith House Community Kitchen and Garden project began in 2013 to ensure physical activity and healthy eating opportunities were available to all community members. In early 2015, the kitchen was half-complete, but it still lacked a range and an under-counter industrial dishwasher.

Through a Compass Group Canada Community Grant, these items were purchased. Having a functional community kitchen onsite provides significant opportunities for Veith House service users as young as three years old who cook and bake with the preschool director and a parent volunteer. The kitchen is also used to prepare food for community meals that aim to bring neighbours together, create a sense of belonging and reduce social isolation. Trustee and counseling clients who benefited from last year's vegetable garden will have the opportunity to learn how to use home grown food and prepare nutritious and budget-wise food for themselves and their families.

“We're regularly offering food - instead of just coffee and tea - and aiming to also have food available on stressful days,” says Lisa Roberts, Executive Director.

We want to make visits to Veith House comforting and welcoming, and next to a smile, food is the next most effective way to show people that they are welcome.
We have all sorts of dreams for how to use the kitchen. There are lots of ways that we can work to support food security in North End Halifax.