Community

Spryfield community kitchen cooks up good health

Community kitchen provides ingredients, daycare

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Elizabeth Szikora is having a good time chopping, dicing and mixing food with other busy moms.

The mother of two children — with a third on the way — goes to the Spryfield community kitchen to learn how to prepare nutritious and affordable meals.

“It’s fun,” said Szikora. “It gets you out of the house, you get to meet other people, the kids get to socialize, and you get to learn from other people.”

The kitchen is a monthly event established by two non-profit organizations, Evergreen and the YWCA, to teach mothers in the Spryfield community cooking and nutrition in a hands-on environment. It’s open to any woman in the area with at least one child under the age of 10.

Evergreen and the YWCA provide all of the cooking ingredients. Daycare is provided for the children.

The pilot project began in February. The second session was held Wednesday night.

The early results have been promising, says Julia Kemp, Evergreen’s program co-ordinator and the community partner supporting the project.

“This week was great,” said Kemp.

“We instituted some of the changes we felt may be helpful from the first session, such as a slightly simpler recipe and more childproofing the spaces for the mothers.”

Kemp said that the changes, along with the growing comfort level of the group, allowed the mothers and facilitators to be able to relax and enjoy the food they were preparing.

The mothers participating have been pleased with the experience so far as well.

Charlena Teasdale works for the Halifax District School Board assisting special needs students. She said she was interested in the kitchen because she works a lot and wanted to be able to do something for herself that would also help her family.

She said she was very nervous attending her first session.

“What I liked most about it was that it was very non-judgmental,” said Teasdale. “They met you where you were at and people just tried their best to help you.”

Teasdale was impressed with how much she learned in her first session. She felt that her skills grew in many ways, from simple things like learning a better technique for chopping ingredients to using more complicated food processors and equipment.

Kemp plans to connect the group with other food-related events in the community, including the upcoming Mobile Market.

Anyone who is interested in taking part in the project can email Halifax@evergreen.ca or phone Kemp at (902) 402-6498.