Sudbury Women’s Centre has received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to launch and run a Collective Kitchens Program for 92 women in Sudbury for the next three years to increase the number of economically vulnerable people who are able to meet their basic needs. A collective kitchen is a “small group of people who get together to cook in bulk for their families. These cooking groups pool their money, skills, and energy to cook healthy and economical meals that they take home to share with their families” (Collective Kitchen Partnership, personal communication, 16 March 2004). Groups of 4-5 women will work together with a lead facilitator to form a collective kitchen meeting twice a week for 5 weeks to learn about nutrition education, menu planning, budgeting, cooperative buying, food handling and recipe development They will cook together, share a meal with each other, and take additional portions home.
Volunteer leaders from the groups will be trained so they can continue the group facilitation of the collective kitchens once the initial 5 weeks is over. Evidence indicates that once women participate in a collective kitchen they are likely to continue cooperative behaviors after the program ends. Women will learn ways to stretch their limited dollars to buy and prepare more food that is both tasty and nutritious.