Shelbourne Community Kitchen program co-ordinator Kim Cummins shows off some of the produce available through the facility located on Shelbourne Street. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Saanich celebrates community kitchen

The Shelbourne Community Kitchen did Monday what does it does best throughout the year: open its doors to the public in a spirit of hospitality, as it hosted its first open house.

“We really want the community to come in to show them the community kitchen, so that they can know what we are all about, to see what we do here,” said Laura Cochrane, board chair.

Located in a modest house in the 3500 block of Shelbourne Street, the facility offers programs that teach participants how to source, choose and prepare healthy food more affordably through its communal kitchen where participants receive cooking lessons from trained volunteers, almost half of which are also program participants. The kitchen also runs a garden and serves as a resource centre, building relations and resilience along the way. It also runs an emergency pantry program, where participants can select one item from one shelf, two from another, not forgetting to take a selection of produce from the fridge, much of it grown on site.

As Cochrane was speaking, she stood in the kitchen of the facility. The open house had started just a few minutes earlier and the place was already buzzing with locals and others involved with the kitchen. Cochrane had just wrapped up a tour of the house. Program co-ordinator Kim Cummins, meanwhile, was leading another group of visitors through the building, explaining its operations.

The organization emerged after representatives from partnering organizations – St. Aidan’s United Church, St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Lutheran Church of the Cross, Mount Tolmie Community Association and Camosun Community Association – had been noticing signs of rising food insecurity in the area. Developments since have borne out that observation.

“We have had a lot of steady growth since we opened our doors here in March 2015,” said Cochrane. “We began our programs at the end of 2013, but at this site here, we have had incredible growth and that continues.”

The kitchen leases its current space, and runs it under a temporary use permit. Saanich first approved the permit for the facility’s current location in September 2014 for a three-year-period, and extended it two months ago.

A committee is currently looking at a variety of options, said Cochrane.

“An option could be to stay here and work out some kind of arrangement, whereby the zoning would change, that would enable us to stay here,” she said. “As you can appreciate, there are other options as well.” They include leasing space elsewhere, or starting a capital campaign to eventually purchase a site.

Regardless of the eventual choice, it must meet at least one criteria. “We always want to be on a bus route to make it easier for our program participants to come here and make use of our services.”

Cochrane, for her part, would like the facility to remain in the Shelbourne Valley area. “Being on Shelbourne, there are so many buses, it is so easy to access, and it has great visibility.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police respond to successful Facebook scam on Oak Bay resident

Petty thievery in King George Terrace where plants, gargoyle are missing

Victoria Clipper suspends services through April 2021

International travel restrictions, COVID-19 uncertainty lead to decision

Oak Bay News celebrates community with photospread

Share your images for a chance to win a gift card

UPDATE: Incident near Mount Douglas Park ‘strictly medical,’ Saanich police say

Intoxicated person taken into police custody, brought to hospital

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Most Read