Access to Nutritious Food

Join Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: Global day of awareness

By Jennifer Chang


FoodRevolution Food Revolution (FR) day is an annual day of awareness launched by chef and healthy food campaigner Jamie Oliver. It aims to raise the profile of food education as a key to transforming the lives of millions of people around the world. This year, the main focus is to get as many children as possible excited about food and cooking, while inspiring others to do the same.

Come and join the Ottawa Farmers’ Market and me, Ottawa’s Food Ambassador for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (JOFF), as we spread the message about the Food Revolution on Sunday, May 18. The Ottawa Farmers’ Market is the perfect venue for FR Day. Everything we need is there – fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, cheese and other prepared products. Best of all, they’re local and you can talk directly to the farmers and artisans who produce everything.
Cooking skills are no longer passed down from generation to generation in the way they used to be. As a result, we eat more convenience and processed foods than ever before, having lost our connection with what real, wholesome food is. We need a Food Revolution.

Fresh market produce makes for nutritious and delicious foods in summer. Photo: Julie Houle cezer
Fresh market produce makes for nutritious and delicious foods in summer. Photo: Julie Houle cezer

Worldwide, according to the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, obesity has more than doubled for adults and tripled for children over the past three decades. For the first time in history, there are over one billion people who are overweight or obese, including 43 million children under five years old. This problem is one of the leading risks for chronic disease. But the good news, as we can learn from the Food Revolution, is that the negative effects of a poor diet are reversible and preventable.

We need to get back to basics and take a stand! One key is for children and adults to be conscious of making healthy and balanced choices. Children who learn to appreciate, cook and even grow real food will likely keep these as lifelong habits. JOFF states that kids who eat nutritious meals have improved academic scores and reduced school absences. Those who learn to cook are more likely to make better food choices, have better diets and lead healthier lives.

Jennifer Chang’s daughter with fresh vegetables galore Photo: Jennifer Chang.
Jennifer Chang’s daughter with fresh vegetables galore. Photo: Jennifer Chang.

Close to home, people always tell us how lucky we are that our daughters are such healthy eaters. They eat a wide variety of foods, love going to the market and choosing their veggies. Preparing and cooking food from the market or from their garden is a fun activity and gives them a sense of pride. They enjoy eating and sharing what they had a hand in bringing to the table.

Anyone can support FR at any time. For example, have your own food revolution by downloading a new recipe, stopping by your farmers’ market for local ingredients or getting into the kitchen!

“I’m so grateful to the Ottawa Farmers’ Market for their hard work in making Food Revolution Day such a success. This year we’re focusing on children to get them into cooking at a young age. Every Food Revolution Day event is important so I hope the market gets loads of local support,” says Jamie.

Join us at the market on May 18 and have your children participate in a hands-on cooking lesson. Come and see what’s fresh so far this season and watch while your children prepare a meal from scratch. With more than a hundred vendors of locally grown produce, meat, cheese, eggs and artisanal food, the Ottawa Farmers’ Market is an ideal location to get inspired by good, whole foods and to share the Food Revolution’s message.

Let’s get kids excited about food!

Visit for more ideas on how you can take part. For more information, send an email to

For information on the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, visit their website at and follow them on Twitter and Facebook @OttawaFarmMkt.

Cooking with Kids!
Sunday, May 18 Ottawa Farmers’ Market @ Brewer Park
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Jennifer Chang volunteers for the Food Revolution as a Food Ambassador, to further the mission of the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation. It is her and her two daughters’ way of expressing their love of real food. She decided to join the movement because of her desire to spread the message that cooking dinner with good ingredients from scratch (even after work!) can be simple.

First annual Pop-Up Market showcases local foods /h3>

On Sunday, April 27, the Glebe Community Centre, festooned with hay bales and abuzz with conversation and commerce, hosted the first annual McKeen Metro Pop-Up Market focusing on local foods. Spearheaded by Rebecca McKeen, director of McKeen Metro Glebe’s Bank Street store, fondly watched over by her parents, Jim and Christine McKeen, the Pop-Up Market attracted a large and lively crowd on a rainy day.

Food vendors offered their wares at the first annual Pop-Up Market on April 27 at the Glebe Community Centre.  Photo: Lorrie Loewen
Food vendors offered their wares at the first annual Pop-Up Market on April 27 at the Glebe Community Centre. Photo: Lorrie Loewen

The event attracted an ample number of businesses as participants, and filled Scotton Hall. Said Jim McKeen, “We were joined by a number of partners in this. It’s a great opportunity for all of us.” Capital Home Hardware set up a booth selling seeds, gardening supplies and other spring merchandise and giving away freebie “green” cleaning products. Many of the booths featured food and food-related items such as bread, buns and other baked goods, apples and apple cider, chocolates, cookies and cupcakes and pies, cheeses, and even nutrition advice – what vegetables pack the biggest nutritional punch and how to maximize the nutritional content of your “daily bread.” Auntie Loo’s Treats brought their delectable-looking vegan goodies and Trillium Bakery brought bread. Knifewear boasted a selection of interesting knives, with staff demonstrating their slicing skills by cutting raw potatoes. The Unrefined Olive displayed an enticing array of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Kamal’s sought-after hummus was available for sale, as was Harmony wine and beer from Ottawa’s own Turtle Island Brewing Company. And then there was Equator fair-trade, organic coffee for those who wished to refresh and recover.

In tune with the theme of local food and food security, a delegation from Farm Radio International also attended. A Canadian charity working with over 400 radio broadcasters in 38 African countries, the organization fights poverty and food insecurity by helping broadcasters meet the needs of local farmers in Africa. The booth team shared information on the charity and its work, including the fact that it recently celebrated its 35th anniversary.

And for anyone seeking food for the soul, a great sound system sent music swirling throughout the domed room, Bloomfields Flowers brought plenty of blossoms and Bhat Boy presented a whimsical display of his paintings.

This first annual Pop-up Market was clearly an auspicious beginning and a solid success, thanks to the organizers’ creativity – they are evidently finding new ways to bring attention to Glebe merchants and their wares and to promote healthy, delicious local foods while furthering the cause of food security.

With files from the Glebe Report.

Hunger challenge calls on you

By Julie Houle Cezer

The May 24 Great Glebe Garage Sale is one of the most festive mash-ups of street party, flea market and recycling projects of the year. Part of its raison d’être, background buzz and social benefit is the Glebe community’s focus on generating funds for the Ottawa Food Bank (OFB) to be used to alleviate hunger across the City of Ottawa.

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At the Centretown Emergency Food Centre, 507 Bank Street, volunteers in the stock room fill food requests for families and singles and offer support to all who visit the Centre. Photo: Julie Houle Cezer

What you may not know is, that although the Ottawa Food Bank operates the central warehouse and organizes the distribution network serving 40,000 residents monthly across Ottawa (some 40 per cent being children), direct delivery of services and food to clients is actually done by 140 different local agencies in the form of community food banks and food cupboards, as well as multi-service, kick-start breakfast and after-four programs. In our area, the community food bank providing emergency groceries and social service referrals in the catchment area from Wellington Street to Billings Bridge and Lyon Street to Main Street/Lees Avenue is called the Centretown Emergency Food Centre. Located at 507 Bank Street – just a few scant blocks north of the avenues and the core of the Glebe, and inconspicuously tucked away in the basement of the Centretown United Church – 45 of the Centre’s volunteers share in respectfully receiving clients (those with proof of residence) four days a week and discreetly filling once-a-month requests for a nutritionist-prescribed array of nourishing food choices adequate for three to four days of meals.

A project associated since 1975 with an action group of 24 churches, the Centretown Churches Social Action Committee, the Centre reports that the 12 per cent increase to 10,919 clients in 2013 (a rise of 1,190 clients, of whom 50 per cent are children) represents a substantial increase in families and children using the service. Despite the fact that up to 30 per cent of food is supplied by the OFB, topped up by donations from churches, schools and individuals, increased need by low-income families just this past year has required an additional $110,000, and an equal amount is anticipated for 2014.

This is a wake-up call to a local hunger challenge. One benefactor who is listening has responded with an offer “to match dollar for dollar any new donation the Centre receives this year from a local business up to a limit of $10,000.” Will you be one of those businesses to stand up and rise to the challenge? Call 613-232-3059 or contact Allison Dingle at

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