Some astute blog readers may have noticed that the title of this blog has changed from the “Tenth Street Dinner Club” to the Selkirk Dinner Club. Here is our evolving story:
Last year we were lucky to get funding from a provincial organization called http://healthycampuses.ca/ to pilot a Dinner Club on the Tenth Street campus. Inspiration for the project came after a Selkirk Counsellor had a conversation with a student who was dealing with depression, but admitted that he didn’t know how to cook and had eaten Kraft Dinner exclusively for three months. Lots of research affirms that getting adequate protein and nutrients does play a role in overall mental well-being. Other students talked about difficulties with money and not knowing how to budget and buy low-cost nutritious food. And, there were also many students who talked about isolation, stress, homesickness and not knowing how to get to know people. Out of this brew of concerns was born the idea of working with students to learn some easy, low-cost recipes. We had hoped that this would increase skills in money management, nutrition and a sense of community.
Our pilot Dinner Club confirmed in their project end evaluations that these objectives had been met:
What was your experience being a part of this Dinner Club Project? Did we reach our goals? Why or why not?
- Very good experience. Delicious food. I think the goals were achieved by getting a good meal at least once a week.
- I haven’t reached my goals yet. I need to personally try harder to achieve them. The Dinner Project gave me the knowledge to eat and buy healthier foods. I need to implement this knowledge to reach my goals.
- I really enjoyed dinner club. I would say that the goals have been met, and when I do cook my meals now I use healthier methods.
- The experience was great. I had a great time with everyone. I feel that we have indeed reached our goals.
- I always looked forward to dinner club. It reached my goal of meeting people outside of my program
- It was a good experience with lots of good food and it was good to interact with other people who I wouldn’t normally be with.
- It was the best time of my life. We always reached our goal because we always ended up having an amazing meal.
- I loved it. Everyone got fed and we learned how to prepare delicious and healthy meals to feed us and our friends.
What did you learn? Any specific examples?
- I learned a lot about basic cooking of grains and beans.
- I learned many healthy and tasty recipes that I can now cook for myself. I also learned how to buy cheaper and what things are good to buy in bulk.
- I learned to cook quinoa and make a great chili. There are lots of meat alternatives. I learned there are lots of ways to cook for a big group for cheap.
- How to make excellent food on a low budget.
- That soups are surprisingly easy and that I LOVE quinoa.
- I learned cooking techniques like how to cook rice and season poultry. I learned to cut vegetables better.
- Cooking really isn’t all that difficult. It is best to buy in bulk to save dollars.
Our wonderful photographer, SROAM student Bradley Moore, suggested starting this blog so people could look up recipes at any time. We also had such great conversations around the dinner table about health, substance use and stress that the blog has expanded to include various articles about student life and well-being.
As well as being read by Selkirk students and staff, worpress stats show that posts on the blog have also been read nearly 10,000 times by people from 89 different countries:
Here is the original Dinner Club from the fall of 2012:
After the original funds ran out Residence recognized that this was a great program for students and agreed to fund another cycle. In addition, Colombia Basin Trust funded a cluster of initiatives that contribute to student wellness with a particular focus on building a healthy campus culture and exploring ways for students to be great personal managers of their own health.
So here we are in 2013 and the wonderful Joleen Kinakin, Selkirk College’s financial aid officer, is at the helm of the Castlegar Dinner Club. Over the years she has dealt with multitudes of students who are struggling to live on miniscule budgets and have admitted that they don’t know how to cook or shop. So, now Selkirk College has two Dinner Clubs on the go and lots of happy well-fed students. Some of the Castlegar groups amazing recipes will soon be appearing here.
and here are some images of our Tenth Street group for the fall of 2013:
Thank-you so much to our guest cooks, our funders and the fantastic students who show up every week to cook and share and try new recipes!
Yay! Selkirk Dinner Clubs – – – – Changing Culture one meal at a time!