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Hope Blooms: Planting Seeds for Food Security and Community Wellbeing

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In the 12 years that Hope Blooms has been cultivating community wellbeing and development, the non-profit has grown from a small garden plot to a vibrant social hub. In that time it has produced over 50,000 pounds of organic vegetables and fruit at no cost for residents of North End Halifax living with food insecurity.

Medavie is proud to be a long-time partner of Hope Blooms, an organization known for its unique engagement of youth as change agents in growing food for their community and the production of the their popular fresh herb salad dressings ― the proceeds of which are used to support post-secondary scholarships for the organization’s youth alumni.

Beyond the impact of empowering young people to be social entrepreneurs, and supporting them in achieving post-secondary education, Hope Blooms continues to innovate in the face of the challenges of the past two years. This has led to the development of new programs that are increasing access to healthy food while strengthening community inclusion and wellbeing in North End Halifax.

Hope Blooms responds to the need to increase access to healthy food by ensuring the local community has the resources, tools, knowledge and skills to lead in strengthening their own local food system.”

- Joanne Kviring, Executive Director, Medavie Foundation -

Hope Blooms responded to the challenges of the pandemic by innovating and responding to community food insecurity with food boxes in the short term and, the development of new programs to strengthen the local food system in the long term.

The new Global Kitchen for Social Change, completed in 2020, is a community commercial kitchen hub that provides space for the youth of Hope Blooms to store and prepare food for their social enterprises producing salad dressings, teas and hot cocoa. The kitchen is also being used by Hope Blooms youth leaders to mentor North End Halifax community members in developing their own food-based social enterprises.

In the summer of 2021, Hope Blooms piloted a community food market to address the challenge of the cost of fresh healthy produce faced by many families. The market offered fresh, healthy food from local suppliers, as well as produce grown at Hope Blooms at affordable prices for families of youth enrolled in Hope Blooms programs. In the first year, food was often sold out at the weekly market in less than an hour. In 2022, Hope Blooms has expanded to a weekly market with local vendors and community members selling products to the broader community.

Also in 2022, Medavie, through the Medavie Foundation, is supporting another innovative new program of Hope Blooms that increases access to healthy food in the local community. The new Food without Borders program brings together 20 families each week for the next year to prepare a meal together and share food/cooking skills and knowledge as well as provide an opportunity to learn about each other’s food cultures.

Medavie’s investment in the Food without Borders program is helping to highlight that community engagement and leveraging our diverse cultures are key to addressing food insecurity.

- Veronica Gutierrez, Manager of Growth and Sustainability, Hope Blooms -

Food without Borders will foster culturally diverse relationships that span roots in Africville, Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, China, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and more. Hope Blooms will also grow culturally relevant vegetables and fruits at the Hope Blooms gardens and greenhouses for use in the program.

Rounding out the program will be an opportunity for participants to learn how they can develop their own agri-food based social enterprise, from the Hope Blooms youth leaders who are involved in the salad dressings, tea and hot cocoa food social enterprises. The participants will also have the opportunity to receive training to acquire their Food Handler Certification.

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