NOURISHING FAMILIES AT NORTH KATOOMBA HUB

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NOURISHING FAMILIES AT NORTH KATOOMBA HUB
27th February, 2018

Nourishing Families – making sauerkraut with  Danielle O’Donoghue at the North Katoomba Community Hub play group.

In 2017 the Co-op ran a pilot wholefood cooking and nutrition program, Nourishing Families, in partnership with Connect Child and Family Services, for parents and carers of children aged 0–5 at their North Katoomba Community Hub Play and Chat supported playgroup.

The impetus for the program came from the Co-op Board’s vision to inspire and empower parents and carers with young children to make nutritious, affordable and seasonal food for their families, for health and wellbeing, and to build social connections through the shared experience of cooking, eating and talking about food.

After surveying parents and carers at the Hub, the 2017 pilot program was developed by Danielle O’Donoghue – holistic health coach, Co-op member and Wellness Wednesday practitioner – in collaboration with Co-op Education and Member Liaison Coordinator Prue Adams and Hub Coordinator Jackie Spolc. It was designed to be flexible and responsive to the interests and preferences of the parents and carers, with regular opportunities for feedback and input built in.

The first few sessions focused on staple, adaptable family meals such as veg fried rice, stocks and vegetable soup, and Tex-Mex vegetarian chilli-loaded baked potato. Then, in response to requests from the group, the next few sessions included making sauerkraut, labne and soaked flour pancakes, muesli bars and raw chocolate.

The pilot showed us that parents and carers in the group were keen to get involved:  cooking, trying new foods, asking about ingredients, learning new skills, sharing meals and ideas, and having some fun along the way.

In our survey, we asked participants what they enjoyed most. Some of the responses were:

“The food. I actually went home and used some of the ideas.”
“I have enjoyed learning about new ways to cook and trying a cooking technique (fermenting) that I hadn’t been brave enough to try before.”
“Being involved with everyone.”
“My kids loved the Tex-Mex, it’s a favourite in our house now.”
“Loved the sauerkraut. I put it on everything – get some cheese on toast and that stuff and ‘bang’, a whole new level!”

Based on the success of the pilot, we have secured funding to continue Nourishing Families throughout 2018, with generous financial support from the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal’s Small Grants for Rural Communities; Bendigo Bank; Blue Mountains City Council Ward 1 Councillors Kerry Brown, Don MacGregor and Kevin Schreiber; and Connect Child and Family Services.

Another exciting initiative that has grown out of the collaboration on Nourishing Families is the kitchen garden project at the Hub. The edible garden project is being led by Co-op volunteer horticulturist Sue England. Planning and preparing began in November last year, and the garden now has crops of beans, cucumber, tomato, kale, lettuce, herbs and apples. At this stage Sue is being helped by one of the parents and some keen young gardeners who love  watering and eating the produce. The establishment of the garden was made possible through a generous donation of garden supplies and plants from Hudson Home Timber and Hardware, Katoomba.

 

 

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