Participating youth manage and run a seasonal, organic and sustainable farming-based fresh herb salad dressing production and sales operation with the instruction and supervision of Hope Blooms staff. We currently run this part of the program from September – December after harvesting the herbs, and sell at the Halifax Seaport Market on Saturdays and in some local businesses. Our healthy, delicious dressings are made with fresh, quality ingredients and contain no artificial preservatives. We sell out every time we go to the market! The dressing recipes were created by local chef and volunteer, Natasha Jollymore.
The Salad Dressing Program advances entrepreneurial and leadership skills among youth in the north-end of Halifax through training and instruction in all aspects of running the salad dressing operation (from organic farming, to production, to marketing and sales) and by teaching youth to be leaders as active “change agents” for the betterment of their own community. We know that this activity is positively impacting the following determinants of health in the north-end community:
o Food Security – by promoting organic and sustainable farming, the use of locally grown food, and food self-sufficiency;
o Employment – by teaching employable skills to participating youth;
o Healthy child development – by promoting healthy eating, by educating youth, and by fostering self-confidence and self-sufficiency in participating youth and community members;
o Social inclusion – by providing a safe forum for peer interaction and cooperation; and
o Safety support networks – by providing a safe forum for people to come together and form positive relationships with peers, mentors and role models in their own community.
Participating youth receive training from Hope Blooms staff and volunteer experts in the community in the following areas and have the opportunity to specialize in their areas of interest:
o Organic and sustainable farming – sessions led by Hope Blooms staff and volunteer experts from the community;
o Food science and salad dressing production – sessions led by Dalhousie food scientist and Hope Blooms volunteer qualified chef;
o Nutrition – a registered dietician leads training on the health components to the salad dressing;
o Safe food handling – all participants are required to complete and be certified for the safe food handling course by an Instructor with Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture.
o Management skills – youth can specialize by receiving additional mentorship in an area of interest and may choose to take on a youth leader role;
o Public relations, marketing and sales – sessions led by Hope Blooms staff and volunteer experts from the community.
The salad dressing sales are a seasonal, incidental by-product of carrying out the main purposes of the Salad Dressing Program. The modest monies generated from the salad dressing sales are used to support the Hope Blooms programming. $1.00 from each bottle is contributed to the Hope Blooms Scholarship Fund.
My favorite part is going to the market and seeing the smiles on the customer’s faces.
– Bocar Wade, age 14
If you are constantly being labelled as marginalized, challenged, or in poverty, it is hard to access that place where there is a natural wealth and intellect that just needs the right environment. Social enterprise is about fostering the environment to unlock the potential and wealth that is already there in communities.
– North End Community Health Centre staff member