Isn’t it amazing what can happen when a community comes together to complete a project and make a difference?
With your generous support, North York Harvest has become the primary food bank in northern Toronto. Thanks to you we are able to give nutritious food to over 77 food programs in the city.
But what if we could take it another step further? What if we could produce a food product to even out the supply and quality of food received through donations?
The vision of North York Harvest is a community where all members are able to meet their food needs. Our mission is to engage our community in meeting the food needs of northern Toronto by providing dignified food assistance, education and long-term food solutions.
Each day we strive to meet that vision and mission.
As a community, we have succeeded in kickstarting a new social enterprise thanks to partnerships right here in Toronto. Teaming up with FoodShare and Food Starter, we have created a dry soup mix that promotes access to affordable, delicious and nutritious food for all.
To get started, North York Harvest asked our agencies what types of food were most needed and hardest to supply for the clients.
Within the agencies, there was a need for a hearty, vegetarian soup made with beans and rice that was nutritious but also easy to prepare. For certain dietary needs, it was also important that the soup was low in sodium but still flavourful without being spicy.
Together through our partnerships, we made a unique Moroccan Lentil Soup. It was sold in FoodShare’s Good Food Boxes and the Grab Some Good pop-up markets operating on various TTC subway platforms. And what is even better is for every soup sold… another soup goes on the shelf for someone using the food bank!
It was a hit!
To prepare the soup mix, we teamed up with the Experiential Learning program at York Humber High School. The students in this program have special needs and are encouraged to learn life skills through hands on training and real life experience. Each week the students would join Vanessa Yu from caterToronto at Food Starter to prepare several bags of soup that would be given to our community.
When I met the kids I asked what their favourite part of making the soup was and they seemed to all enjoy sealing up the soup packages the most! They even took soup home to cook and enjoy with their families.
The kids’ teacher, Carmi, says ‘We were so fortunate to have had the opportunity for some of our students to participate in a meaningful real work experience with the NYHFB. Students really enjoyed the experience and gained valuable employability skills while increasing their self-esteem. It was wonderful to watch them learn new skills and progress each week. We all look forward to continuing our partnership with the NYHFB and thank them for all their support over the last few months.’
We are so excited to move forward with this project and to be able to share this soup with you!
Thank you to all of you that made this happen:
- Food Starter
- York Humber Students: Gowie, Alan, Amara & Matthew
- York Humber Teachers: Carmy, Angie & Abddanahi
- Vanessa from CaterToronto
- Chef Rob Heidenreich from Saha Cuisine (for developing the recipe)
- Brandcheck (packaging)
- The Test Kitchen (nutritional labelling)
- KBrown Design (label design)
- Blakes Law Firm (regulatory requirements to ensure that we complied with labelling and food safety regulations)
- And YOU for helping us make this dream a reality!!!
|The Product – Moroccan-Style Red Lentil Soup
Combination of red lentils, brown rice and five different spices
Low in calories, high in fibre and a source of protein
No added sugar, salt, flavours, colours or preservatives
Easy to prepare – just add water and simmer for 40 minutes
Delicious on its own, or scalable to individual dietary needs – a great base for added meats, vegetables, salt or spices to taste
Sold by FoodShare and distributed to food banks by North York Harvest Food Bank — promotes access to affordable, delicious and nutritious food for all
Join the conversation – we’d love to know your thoughts! Leave a comment below.