Pam Farrell’s calling to positively impact others through food literacy has grown from a seed of inspiration into a community crusade. Since emigrating from Switzerland in 2001, she has utilized her unique skill set as a farmer, researcher, teacher and community advocate to improve healthy eating and social justice in Niagara, Ont.
It was through her doctoral studies in 2019 that she became aware of an urgent need for a food program to serve the most impoverished area near her hometown. Taking rapid action and evolving into a leading voice within this cause during the pandemic, Pam founded GROW Community Food Literacy Centre (GCFLC). As volunteer executive director, Pam has created a strategically located physical space that responds to food insecurity in an innovative way. Beyond this much-needed community hub, she is also fostering numerous programs and collaborations that are creating sustainable positive changes and allowing low-income residents of all ages and cultural backgrounds to enjoy a healthier, more just future with food.
GROW COMMUNITY FOOD LITERACY CENTRE
Since opening its doors in the summer of 2020, GROW Community Food Literacy Centre (GCFLC) has sought to combat food insecurity, promote a healthier lifestyle and foster sustainability to support the health of the more than 2,400 low- or no-income community members in the Elgin neighbourhood of Niagara Falls. A weekly low-cost market, frequented by hundreds, aims to reduce barriers to healthy and culturally acceptable food in a stigma-free environment. To address food literacy, which encompasses the knowledge, skills and environments to prepare and enjoy healthy foods, the organization also runs a community kitchen and offers a variety of cooking and food skills programs.