2 posts tagged with “homelessness”

  • Spreading hope: The Southridge Jam Co.

    This story originally appeared in Edible Toronto magazine, Winter 2017. Other than the main photo, all images were supplied by Southridge Jam Co.

    A sweet scent spills from the kitchen at Southridge Community Church in Vineland, Ontario, and it’s unmistakably that of Concord grapes and sugar joining forces to make jelly.

    For Scott Cronkwright, the aroma is much more than a preserve-in-the-making. It’s a smell that triggers happy memories from days long past and, especially, hope for days – and years – ahead.

    Cronkwright is one of about a dozen people who make up the current cohort of The Southridge Jam Co., a small-batch-preserves operation launched earlier this year to support homelessness programs, including a shelter that is run out of the St. Catharines location of Southridge Community Church.

    As the guy stirring the pot, measuring sugar, or doing whatever job is required of him to turn grapes into peanut butter’s soulmate, Cronkwright relishes the scent wrapping itself around him, sticking to his clothes, his hair, his skin. “The smell completely envelops me,” the 55-year-old says. “It takes me back to my grandmother’s kitchen. It takes me back to my childhood. Every jam that we produce has this incredible memory generating from it.”

    But it’s what happened between those moments playing kitchen assistant to his grandmother as a boy and January 2016 that ultimately led him to a church kitchen to make jam. Cronkwright is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. He grew up to work a mixed bag of entertainment, writing, and restaurant jobs, got married, and had children. And for nearly half of his adult life, he existed as a “functioning opiate addict.” Continue reading

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    Category Food Finds

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  • Peach Tree
  • Rose hip cordial reflections

    Rose Hip Cordial

    A good friend of mine once joked that she’d never worry about me going hungry should I ever find myself homeless.

    She was spurred on by my boasting of finding more wild purslane spreading over someone’s lawn or crawling out of a sidewalk crack. It’s no secret I love to forage and though I’m still learning a lot about wild edibles, I do love being able to go for a walk anywhere in this city and spotting something to eat that others pass over or write off as pesky weeds.

    Still, while the mean trails and sidewalks of St. Catharines might be no match for my stomach, homelessness is a fate that scares the hell out of me.

    I have the security of a regular pay cheque and a home that I own. I have a husband with a regular pay cheque, too. And family nearby if need be. But this week, I came face to face with dozens of people who aren’t so lucky.

    Long on my list of places to visit, San Francisco was our holiday destination this year. I have dreamed about seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, standing among the redwoods, riding a cable car and eating Rice-A-Roni, where it’s apparently a treat, since I was a child. And last week was finally my chance to do it all.
    Continue reading

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    Category In the Wild, Recipes

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