Raya-Jayne Peters (right) and Liz Lane chop apples and green onions as part of the Mustard Seed’s community kitchen program that teaches individuals to cook with the ingredients provided in hampers.

Raya-Jayne Peters (right) and Liz Lane chop apples and green onions as part of the Mustard Seed’s community kitchen program that teaches individuals to cook with the ingredients provided in hampers.

New community kitchen program promotes healthy living

Walking into the kitchen at the Mustard Seed, the smell of cumin and curry is thick in the air.

Walking into the kitchen at the Mustard Seed, the smell of cumin and curry is thick in the air.

Five people are huddled around an island chopping apples and green onions, and stirring a large pot of soup.

The kitchen is small, but packs a punch. There is a large stove, fridge and its door-less cupboards are stocked full of spices, dishes and other cooking ingredients.

It is also the setting of a new program called the community kitchen put on by the Mustard Seed.

The program teaches individuals recipes they can cook with the food provided in the roughly 5,000 hampers distributed monthly.

Hamper items include canned soups and beans, a meat item, bread, cereal, dairy, chocolate, fruits and vegetables.

The first community kitchen kicked off in the summer and was modelled after a similar program organized by Cool-Aid Society’s  downtown community centre.

Since then, there have been sessions on cooking with apples (where they made curry soup with apples, apple sauce and apple crisp), beans and canning with anywhere from a few to six people participating.

Derek Pace, frontline manager with the Mustard Seed, said the program promotes healthy eating by taking hamper items, which are high in sodium and sugar, and mixing it with fresh produce.

“Because we are a food secure building and a food bank, we not only want to offer them the hampers that we do, but give them some skills and maybe introduce different spices that you can use to augment flavour, but also to augment health,” Pace said.

Raya-Jayne Peters has been living off the hampers for the past six months.

“I like being involved in anything in the community. I feel like I can contribute some of my knowledge and have fun with people while I’m doing it,” she said, adding the Mustard Seed has helped supplement her diet because of food allergies.

Lynn Orr, a long-time volunteer with the food bank and member of the church, said the program is long over due.

“A young girl or boy who may have left home at a young age might not know that carrot or tomato isn’t bad. You can put it in a pot and make vegetable soup,” Orr said.

“I just feel like it’s an old school mothers and aunts and everybody coming together and bonding over cooking a meal. I just see the people here coming and feeling very comfortable. We’re all on the same level.”

Pace hopes to expand the program to host it every week.

The Mustard Seed is the largest food bank on Vancouver Island.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A member of the Belmont Secondary School in Langford has tested positive for COVID-19, the Sooke School District announced Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Positive COVID-19 case identified at Belmont Secondary School in Langford

Other school members could’ve been exposed on April 20

Starting in June, Government Street will be closed to most vehicles between Humboldt and View streets. A section of Government Street was transformed into a pedestrian-priority walkway in the wake of COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria plans 10-hour closures of Government Street come June

City’s business relief plan extended, Government St. from Humboldt to View closed noon to 10 p.m.

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

While Buccaneer Days public events are cancelled again, such as the annual parade, a home and business decorating contest will allow the spirit of the event to live on. (Facebook)
Esquimalt Buccaneer Days COVID-19 cannon fodder again

Annual celebration cancelled a second time, decorating contest full steam ahead

Police are looking for this suspect after a man was stabbed on Pandora Avenue Tuesday night. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Police seek suspect in Victoria stabbing

The stabbing took place in the 900-block of Pandora Avenue, just before 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Woman hopes cat-stalking Fanny Bay cougar can avoid euthanization

Conservation officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofino is safe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read