Another wonderful day in the Lanark Highlands and I am celebrating the birth of my grandson Oliver who was born on Feb 17 in Sudbury. Should COVID ever end I might get to meet him. Thank goodness for Zoom.
An exciting project is underway. Construction of the Plan B community kitchen has begun. For several years the Jamborees were held in my kitchen, as was a great deal of the cooking for the community dinners. Unfortunately (fortunately?) we are outgrowing just a regular kitchen. Although there are other community kitchens in the area, we always ran into hiccups using them. Often these hiccups grew to be hurdles.
One of the most complicating features for us is the “no notice” we can give. Understandably kitchens are booked up and reserved. We often suddenly find ourselves with a great deal of produce and little time to prepare. The other complicating feature is the amount of equipment we have to move with us whenever we go somewhere. At the end of the day our products sometimes need to sit overnight. A process like fermenting can take weeks. So we decided on building our own, but still for community use.
Plan B owns no property, and realistically our mandate doesn’t allow us to invest in the maintenance of structures (as it stands right now) and so the properties we use are at the discretion of the owners. This can make things complicated but for the most part anything that is not portable or used up (perishable) is paid for by the owner.
My house, at 61 Owen St in Lanark Village, has been the hub of many activities for as long as Plan B has existed. Many modifications have been made mostly at my expense. Any financial support has been with the complete understanding of the donors that the money is being used for a private dwelling. However, it is pretty obvious living alone I don’t particularly want or need a huge root cellar in my basement!
The community kitchen is being built a great deal on faith. We plan on the kitchen meeting the criteria of all health standards. To date I have received a generous donation of labour. A door needs replacing and that has been donated. There will be 2 stoves, we have had both donated. A fridge and a freezer, which we have. Both of these have been donated, the fridge just yesterday. We also need two range hoods, 7 feet of counter with upper and lower cupboards and 64” of cupboard. The 64” does not have to be continuous as it will be on the wall with the appliances. We are also looking for a 3 compartment sink. We have the handwashing sink. I’m so excited I could just bust!! The best thing is that it is accessible without having to go into the house itself. Free for community use whether or not I am home, sliding doors opening onto one of our smaller gardens.
Please come and check it out when we’re done. I think it is going to be incredible.
The first batch of seeds has arrived-so yes, that smell in the air is most definitely the very first whiffs of spring. We have some seed starters just twitching to get started, however we always have room for more. A big thanks and welcome to those who have come forward to help!
The women’s group is meeting again, right now on zoom. We meet on Tuesdays from 11 – 1 and will meet in person when it is safe to do so. These are strange and awkward times, sometimes pretty difficult to get through. We have all had to struggle in our own ways and found our own ways to get by, one day at a time. Although right ahead of us there is light at the end of the tunnel it does seem pretty dim sometimes. That is when it is more important than ever to reach out and let someone know.
Sometimes asking for a little extra help can be hard. It was certainly hard for me at first, until I realized the joy others got in lending a hand. Now I find it pretty easy and I need help all the time. A trick I learned to get the ball rolling was simply to start the conversation. And maybe the first time don’t even mention your concern. Find someone you can really trust, someone able to help or knows where to go for help, and someone you can feel comfortable with. The important part is to get the support you need knowing that each and every person in this world needs support at one time or another. You are not unusual! You are one of us!! And we love having you around sharing in what we do.
Remember the Good Food Box is available. Fresh produce at wholesale prices. A large box, suitable for a family of 4 is $25, a smaller box $20. Fruit or vegetable bags only are $15. Subsidies are available as is delivery, just let us know. Order using contact info below.
Melanie Mills (for Plan B)
For peer support navigating services:
Community Advocacy Office at The Table, 613-267-6428 x29, firstname.lastname@example.org