It’s a place where Calgarians can gather to grow, cook and share fresh nutritious food. Saturday marked the official opening of the community garden at the Alex Community Food Centre on International Avenue.
The facility opened its doors in the Greater Forest Lawn area in the fall of 2016 and since that time it’s already served over 8,000 healthy meals and offered 200 cooking, education and engagement programs.
“The garden is really exciting,” said Tasha Egan, manager of the capital campaign for the Alex Community Food Centre.
“When you grow together and eat together, it’s very powerful.
“The garden is a big part of the programming that we do here. When kids grow, when kids plant, anybody really but kids in particular, they are more likely to try those foods and to learn about them and bringing garden fresh food into our centre is a really powerful thing,” Egan said.
The Alex Community Food Centre is the first of its kind in Western Canada. It is a 5,300-square foot space, housed in a former restaurant on 17th Avenue.
Egan says the centre is about more than just learning cooking skills and growing food.
“This is about community. This is about sitting together and breaking bread and the joy that that brings.
“Social isolation can be one of the biggest detriments of health and when you break down those barriers of social isolation, the world really does open up. so that’s what it means to our participants,” Egan said.
The Alex has been successful in reaching it’s $3.9-million goal for this capital campaign, with support from Shaw, the Michelle O’Reilly Foundation and a $1.1-million anonymous donation through the Calgary Foundation.