The NDG Food Depot, which provides food to 5,000 Montrealers a year, is moving to 6450 Somerled Ave, corner Cavendish, Oct. 2. Their administrative offices will move to a space nearby.
“This move, to the former Antico Martini, represents a huge step forward for our organization,” says executive director Daniel Rotman. “Not only will the new site provide a more welcoming and dignified space for the entire community, it is equipped with a commercial kitchen, which will allow us to expand our food-based programming.”
The Depot has been operating out of the Trinity Memorial Church at Sherbrooke and Marlowe since 2013.
“When the church was sold in April to a developer, the Depot accelerated its timeline for a move,” Rotman says. The new location is in the heart of NDG’s biggest food desert, the Fielding-Walkley neighbourhood. One of six people in NDG lives in this vulnerable sector. Overall, 25% of the NDG population lives below the poverty line, including one in three children.
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The NDG Food Depot was founded 30 years ago as a temporary measure to address hunger and poverty in NDG and the surrounding areas. It has evolved from a food bank to a community food hub with over 20 programs, including cooking classes, gardens, and farmers markets.
“The Depot is committed to the notion that good healthy food is something that can bring the whole community together,” Rotman says. “Our organization has grown to become a leader in food security in Montreal, Quebec and Canada and has shown that a centre prioritizing good food for all can become a positive and powerful force in breaking down barriers and improving community health.” While the Depot plans to be in this new location for at least three years, Rotman says this won’t be the last step. “Our goal is to find a permanent home so that we are never in a position to be evicted again,” Rotman says. “We’d like to build a new building or purchase and renovate one to meet our needs and the community’s needs.
“This will give us the time to develop such a project. We have committed to staying at the new location for a minimum of three years, but have an option to renew for up to 10.” The new space is an old restaurant that will allow them to expand cooking workshops, after-school programs, and community meals.
“Our annual budget last year was $1.88M including food donations. We are supported largely by donations, but also by Centraide, private foundations, some government programs and we operate two social businesses, Ça pousse! and the Good Food Markets. We’ve been trying to move from food donations to monetary donations because we can purchase food below retail prices and can buy what we need when we need it.”
The public can drop off food and donations at the new locaton as of October 2.
Opening hours: 9am – 4:30pm Mon. to Fri. Extended hours Tuesdays: 9am to 7pm.
Facts on NDG Food Depot
· Over 5000 people participated in Depot programs in 2016
· 15 permanent staff, 21 temporary and seasonal staff and over 975 active volunteers
· 15,000 emergency food baskets distributed
· 200+ free healthy meals served twice a week
· Over 30 gardens in schools, institutions and community spaces