By Amy Ness
It’s an uncanny warm day on February 5th, as i stare out the dirty window of my apartment on Beaty Ave( that’s beauty without the u!),watching the Chick a Dees chirp on a wire. I’m bummed over the deaths of Allan Rickman, the beloved David Bowie and recent PARC members who have passed from our planet. Its and end of an era and I feel a great well of hope burbling up in me...it’s our time to make changes and this new hope comes in the blooming growing seed of the Co -op Cred program.
On reflecting on it as a tool for social and personal transformation, I keep coming back to the idea that our role as leaders in this program, is to understand the journey of oppression many face in Parkdale. To work with food security and poverty in a more tactile way; a way to RE:write , RE: engage and RE: invent and Re :connect with it in an alternative way. Thus out of the mud, came to fruition my need to create the idea of ( RE:) and how it manifests in many forms.
The script we have been handed by mainstream society and hard edged oppressors who created the ricochet effect of systemic abuse in our beloved community is limited. We need Re: direction in a RE: evolutionary way and WEFC is our winning hand!
This idea of Re: invention in the Co-op cred program helps me take Re:fuge in my own voice and literally the earth, in a culture that often pressures victims of violence for perfection, control and conformity –shucks!- one can lose their autonomy! I experienced this through silencing and discrimination in a system/communities that were assaultive, suppressive and often at the best of times, unjust and unfair (i.e. not working together to understand one another or denied any real community).
And at the core of all this is.... the Co -op Cred Program. It represents food security in Parkdale......something we have all waited a long time for!( And no one needs to be excluded.)
We are breaking down barriers about poverty, mental health, homelessness and effectively delivering value; value you can see and taste as fresh organic food sitting right on our tables!
Working on ways to address food security creates sustainability in my life so that I can RE: engage with food in a personal level, community level and professional level- in a way that helps me create real change in myself, my community and also encourages "vibrant radiance and health". This is created through healthy food.
We live in a gray landscape that is rotting at the seams from social corruption, a corruption that is not our fault but the fault of our forefathers, from years of bad choices by tardy politicians- whose arrogant choices were used for the self-interest of the rich rather than the interest of the collective whole.im rooting for Justin Trudeau to not only help the middle class but the low income folks too!
Yet suddenly, I feel included, my voice matters, I’m giving back, not merely as some lost fool chasing her tail! Or as a mere anonymous lonely self-flagellator! Transformation is happening! I have curiously jostled! Fought! Yelled! Analyzed! Vented! Pressed! And Pondered! My life in Parkdale often in isolation. Now I’m part of program development in the Co -op Cred program; involved in education; working with others and the RE: direction of this exciting growing community program that may help many people flourish in an often otherwise hard circumstance....
Plus, having awareness of what farmers do, how they get the food to our table and how we grow it, in the earth- with our own hands- brings greater conscious awareness about food security and how this work responds to larger economic and social issues facing our community in Parkdale ( as I previously stated)
I wonder in awe where we will be five years from now, for only three years ago we had seven recipients and now we have a whopping 26! I’m amazed at how far we‘ve come and where we are heading. We came together as peers with a common goal and as friends on a journey of dignity, value and respect and i truly hope it keeps going on that trajectory...my hope for the Co -op cred is that it not only relies on sponsors or funders but becomes a sustainable social enterprise! This would be tres Grand!