Food Hero Stories

STEPHEN + RICK AND BERTHA

Four lessons from old friends My Food Hero Is...
my former coworkers, Rick and Bertha

Stephen Couchman works in the Philanthropic Sector and has been a supporter of the Alex Community Food Centre in Calgary and Parkdale Food Centre in Ottawa (one of our Good Food Organizations) for several years. Here, he writes about his food heroes at Homeplace, and why he is supports Community Food Centres Canada.

1. Who's the food hero in your life?

My food heroes are “Tentfly” (aka Rick Cotter) and Bertha Bumchuckles, who I worked for as the Assistant Kitchen Coordinator (otherwise known as “The Cookie Machine”) at Homeplace, the Outward Bound basecamp on Black Sturgeon Lake, during the mid-80s.

2. How do they show they care through food?

I learned from them:

  • That sharing delicious food is as much a part of building community as leadership and strategic planning
  • That any recipe that calls for a half cup or more of garlic is a good thing
  • That meat is not an essential ingredient
  • That people can tell if you cook with love

3. What's your fondest food memory of them?

My fondest memories of them are banquet day when 100 or so people descended on the dining hall, at our remote base, to celebrate the completion of their three week wilderness expeditions. We would have been working since dawn, listening to great music and preparing massive amounts of lasagna, salads and gooey desserts. Watching from the kitchen we could tell that we had created a memorable, joyous moment. I can’t think of a day's work when I have felt more accomplished.   

4. Why is it important for you to support an organization that uses food as a tool to increase physical and mental health + community belonging? 

Everybody should have a Homeplace in their lives. 

5. What about this approach resonates with you?

CFCC has helped to nurture simple, beautiful community spaces through food and proved to me that you don’t need to travel 200km north of Thunder Bay to do it.  

Thanks to Stephen for contributing to the #myfoodhero campaign, which supports Community Food Centres Canada to offer empowering food programs that build better health, skills, and belonging in the communities that need it most. Join Stephen by making a donation today!

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