Eat Local at the North Hamilton Community Health Centre Children's Breakfast Club

Many of the 96,000 Hamiltonians living in poverty are children. In the most crucial development stages of their lives, they do not have access to the nutritious sustenance that is required for healthy physical and mental growth, or social development. By contrast, breakfast programs not only ensure that children are well-fed before school in the morning; they also provide a positive space for learning and interaction. They are a key part of giving young students the best opportunity possible to benefit from their education and childhood years.

At St. Luke’s Anglican Parish Hall in Hamilton’s North End, students of Benetto Elementary School frequent a program run by the North Hamilton Community Health Centre. In a diverse and welcoming environment, they are offered fresh fruit, homemade muffins baked fresh by volunteers, cereal and sometimes even smoothies before heading to class. Parent and community volunteers, as well as a surprisingly rare paid coordinator of the program, usually arrive at 7am to allow students to eat and play at a relaxed and enjoyable pace.

Student Nutrition Programs (SNPs) in Hamilton rely on this sort of community support. The City of Hamilton, unlike Toronto, does not match the meagre funding provided for SNPs by the Ontario government through the Ministry of Child and Youth Services. If Hamilton is serious about striving to be “the best place to raise a child,” it needs to step up and offer its support.

Hamilton Eat Local wishes to lend a hand in offering locally grown fresh food offerings to students of various backgrounds and cultures. Fruit and dairy that’s grown and gathered in the Hamilton area will go into Operation Smoothie, one of the newest emerging SNP-oriented initiatives of Eat Local. To learn more or get involved with the project, please contact Karen Burson at

Local Vegetable Garden Tours by Project Harvest

You are invited to the Project Harvest Vegetable Garden Tour in Hamilton! On Sunday, August 29th, enjoy an open house-style tour of six vegetable gardens across the city. For a $10 donation, drop by any or all of the locations between 10:00am and 4:00pm to see the unique and inspiring features of each garden.

The garden locations are as follows.

1. See what growing up is like.

Paul and Sandra’s: 64 Barclay St

Between King St West and Main St West turn on to Paisley Ave South, then onto Barclay St

2. See an intelligent use of small space.

Rita Bailey: 84 Pearl St South

Travelling East on Main St, take the first right after Locke St. 84 Pearl St is at the corner of Pearl and Jackson St West. Enter the garden from Jackson St.

3. See what a joint effort can produce.

Hill Street Community Garden: Hill St, half a block east of Dundurn

Travelling south on Dundurn St past Main St West, turn left on Hill St, which is just south of the railway overpass.

4. See an urban garden in the heart of the city.

Sapphire Singh: 73 Stapleton Ave

From Barton St East, turn north on Kenilworth. Take the first left at McAnulty Blvd, and then the first right at Stapleton Ave.

5. See large beds, solar panels, windmill for electricity, cistern for rainwater.

Marjorie and Cecil Cooke: 15 Lister Ave

From Upper James and Rymal Rd, go east on Rymal one block, turn right on Ryckmans, and right on Lister Ave.

6. See large award-winning rustic country garden, heritage plants, xeriscaping.

Beth Powell: 440 Concession 1 Rd, R.R. #1, Canfield

Take Hwy 56. 10 Miles south of Binbrook, turn left on Concession Rd 1, and Beth’s property is the third laneway on the right.

Project Harvest works in seven Guatemalan communities to develop and apply an integrated horticultural method, allowing campesino families to enjoy more nutritious and self-sufficient ways of finding food. Visit to learn more.

For more information, please contact Rita Bailey by phone at 905-525-1198, or by email at

Berry (in) Kind!

The Fruit Tree Project and Hamilton Eat Local came together recently, and both projects gained a new appreciation for the time and care invested in berry picking, as they harvested juicy yet very fragile raspberries from Jerry's Berries Raspberry Farm in Copetown this week! As the raspberry season comes to an end, Jerry and Glenda welcomed staff and volunteers onto their farm to pick berries for an upcoming student breakfast initiative. We came away with litres of the tender, bright, sweet fruit which will be frozen and used in developing this tasty addition to breakfast programs in the coming school year. Thanks to our volunteers who braved the heat and armies of beetles to glean the fields, and much gratitude to Jerry's Berries for their generous donation of fruit to the development of our new program!