Artefacts: Food at PARC – Self Guided Learning
Timing: 15 Minutes
Mode: In-class; Online
Hunger and lack of good food are a daily reality for many PARC members, for few have access to cooking facilities at home and many cannot buy a month’s groceries on limited disability payments. So it is no surprise that food has been central to PARC from the beginning, and has always accounted for a large proportion of the organization’s operational budget. Relying on the Daily Bread Food Bank and Second Harvest programs, PARC provides between 50 and 250 meals a day for its members. In 2012, PARC served 77,000 meals.
Equally important at PARC are the community-building and social features of food. The kitchen runs primarily on member-volunteers’ labour. Volunteers get together to prepare and serve meals and help to run the food bank. But PARC also views the preparation of food as a basic survival skill. In the 1990s, a cooking group was launched, where members learned to prepare and cook their own nutritional and affordable meals. Celebratory communal meals mark special occasions and the passage of the seasons at PARC. In dusty boxes in the PARC archives, photographs of making and eating food abound, alongside images of special holiday meals, testifying to the important role food plays in the lives of members who walk through PARC’s doors each day.
Educators and learners can use these artefacts to explore the different ways in which food enriches the lives of PARC members. Students can work through the artefacts online or in class in preparation for a discussion or learning activity. Have students use the following themes to guide their viewing of the Making Food and Making Community at PARC artefacts:
- Access to food
- Access to cooking facilities
- Community building
- Social engagement
Making Food and Making Community at PARC
View the images in this slideshow below: