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Ensuring that every Regina resident has enough to eat is within our REACH! Help support our child nutrition or healthy food programs through CanadaHelps.Org. Your tax deductible, online credit card donation is easy and convenient. DONATE NOW! Charity Number #131314650RR0001


Community Gardens and Regina go way back

2012 marked a special anniversary. The first recorded collective garden in Regina was established exactly 100 years ago. The Regina Vacant Lot Gardening Association (VLGA) emerged in 1913 as an association of local “public-spirited” citizens. The Association managed newly-broken prairie land at the edge of the city north west of where the Regina Cemetery now stands on 4th Avenue. The benefits of such a location was the ability to expand to a whopping 50 acres (that’s nearly 38 football fields end-to-end).  The challenges included keeping animals from grazing in the garden: correspondence between the VLGA and the city repeatedly notes challenges in fending off two- and four-legged marauders.


You aren’t from around here, are you?

Recently, I attended a very interesting research presentation on food security and seniors in Regina by Dr Nuelle Novik (Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina). She discussed the preliminary findings of her community-based research project.  This project was collaborative effort with local community organizations like REACH to talk to seniors about how and why they access food security support programs. The themes that are emerging from this research really emphasize that food security isn’t just about food but about a whole web of factors: income, our formal and informal support networks, how we access food and transport it home, how resilient and creative we are in obtaining food and the impact of mental health.

One of the most fascinating ideas Dr Novik mentioned was about the supposed differences in rural and urban food sharing. There is this idea that rural people share resources to support each other in need while the fragmented and disconnected nature of urban living means that this doesn’t happen in cities. As a transplanted farm girl, I can attest to this rural food sharing. I’ve experienced friends and neighbours sharing garden bounty, wild game or dropping off dishes during times of celebration and hardship. And research also supports this idea. But perhaps we’re too hasty to cast an idyll rural life opposite an urban life where no one cares for you and you don’t know your neighbours.  I think by doing so, we overlook something very important.

People care for each other regardless of where they live, and one of the best ways we show compassion and support is through sharing food.

We like to have potlucks with neighbours or have friends over for supper.

We’ll split large food purchases with family and friends.

We’ll go to the local neighbourhood centre for coffee and treats, or to our church for meals.

We’ll share the bounty of our backyard apple trees or gardens.

Both urban and rural folks can be – and are – incredibly creative in how we access and share our food.  That fact makes me hopeful because it tells me that even though our community faces food security issues, we haven’t lost our capacity to share with one another.

By: Yolanda Hansen

President, REACH Board of Directors

basket with apples

New Year, New Recipe!

Happy 2014 from REACH! We hope everyone had a lovely holiday season!

After a short holiday hiatus, the folks at REACH are chompin’ at the bit and ready to work hard to resume providing healthy food programs to the wonderful residents of the Queen City.  Our regular programs and schedules will be resuming on Monday, January 6th.

If healthier food is on your radar, why not save money, eat right, and give a REACH Community Kitchen a try for only $7 for 6 portions of food! Enjoy learning affordable, healthy recipes while putting a check mark beside your ‘eating healthier’ new years resolution. The next community kitchen is on Friday, January 17 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information or to register, call Meghan at (306) 347-3224.

Here is a soup recipe that covers healthy and comforting all in one:

Curried Squash Soup

Serves 4

  • 1 large or 2 small butternut squash, cut in half
  • Oil for cooking
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated or 1 tsp dried ginger
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 4 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • 1 can coconut milk or regular milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup cilantro or parsley to garnish (optional)


1 Slice squash in half and scoop out seeds. Lightly drizzle with oil and roast in a 400 degree oven, flesh side up, until flesh is tender. Scoop out flesh and set aside.

2 In a large pot over medium high heat, heat a tablespoon of oil.  Cook onion until translucent (about 3 minutes) then add ginger and all spices. Cook for several minutes.

3 To the pot, add the squash, stock and milk.  Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Using a hand masher, immersion blender, or standing blender, mash or puree the soup to a desired smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with cilantro or parsley upon serving.

curried squash soup

REACH Holiday Hours

Happy holidays from REACH!

REACH offices will be closed on Dec. 25, 26 and 27 and on Jan. 1

Our regular programs and services will be on a break starting on Dec. 23. We will resume all regular programs and services starting on Monday, Jan. 6.

Please don't hesitate to call us at 306-347-3224 with any questions!

Home for Dinner

I just picked up a new book that I can’t wait to dig into. Oh, it’s filled with glossy gorgeous photos, a splashy readable layout and little tidbits of information that just pull me in. And it’s all about local food.

I’m talking about Taste: Seasonal Dishes from a Prairie Table by CJ Katz (2012), and yes, I’m excited to read a cookbook. How could you not be when harvest has wrapped up and you have a house full of goodies stored for the winter? It feels like time to cozy into a winter of home-cooked meals.

I’ve saved a special spot on my bookshelf for Taste, right beside the first book about local food that stole my heart. That was Prairie Feast: A writer’s journey home for dinner by Amy Jo Ehman (2010).  This book is really more of a love story about a local food, with a few recipes tossed in for good measure. Amy Jo and her husband take on a personal challenge to eat locally for a year. This was in 2005, before the 100 mile diet was on everyone’s radar. Their journey is funny, endearing and thought-provoking.

As a farm-raised Saskatchewan girl myself, Amy Jo’s book was like a glass of fresh water that I just didn’t want to see the bottom of. Here was my food! Celebrated! Honoured! Her stories of harvesting vegetables from her mother’s garden, of marathon rounds of canning to squirrel food away for the winter, of the wild game filling her freezer, of community suppers, of meeting the local farmers who grew her food, connected deeply to my experience of food.  This was home. This was the food that made me. It was so exciting to see myself reflected in her experiences, and I suspect I wasn’t the only prairie-raised person to think so.

Now I have another book to devour: it’s making me feel like I’m home for dinner.

By: Yolanda Hansen

President, REACH Board of Directors


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