Cooking clubs can support individuals to increase food preparation skills.  Teaching participants to run their own healthy cooking club is an added bonus!

In Fort Macleod a partnership grew between Community Health Champions (CHC), Kids First Family Centre (KFFC), and Willow Creek Adult Learning to establish a Cooking Club. KFFC has a certified kitchen space that they made available to the Cooking Club class. Community Health Champions were able to contract an experienced facilitator. CHC planned and funded the initiative while Willow Creek Adult Learning provided administration support through registration and advertising.

The goal of this collaboration was to teach participants the skills to be able to run their own cooking clubs or collective kitchens. Some of the skill required are outlined in the AHS Collective Kitchens Manual: which include planning, budgeting, shopping, how to lead, food safety, recipes and cooking tips, how to cook healthy and funding applications. These are all essential ingredients to making a collective kitchen successful.

The program aims to empower participants to be confident in their skills to teach healthy cooking and start cooking clubs in the community. The facilitator worked with participants to plan how they would use these skills, who they could target their classes to and how to get a group going.

Collective kitchens create a sense of community and social connectedness between participants. Purchasing supplies, cooking together, sharing recipes and clean up responsibilities all contribute to building purpose and belonging.

The classes last 6 weeks and included evaluation and celebration. Each week consisted of learning a skill, food safety habits and then cooking a healthy meal as a group. Participants reported excitement to put their skills into practice and plan their own cooking clubs

The success of the initiative was made possible by having a strong facilitator that was a fantastic, patient teacher. She encouraged small steps for change and encouraged participants to do the best and share the workload.

Participants gained knowledge on healthy eating, food handling, and developed skills to run their own club. Leadership skills were developed and confidence increased.

 

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