Photo: How to start a food circle

Help new parents with a food circle! (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

Everyone could benefit from a food circle sometime. Maybe you already have?

It's a great recipe to help a family member, co-worker or neighbour, the best baby shower gift ever and a kindness for someone going through chemo or dealing with loss.

How do I know?

I'm not great at asking for help. But I did when my son was born. I scheduled family, friends and neighbours to drop off a meal a day. It was amazing.

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Food circle benefits:

  • Nutritious, healthy meals cooked with love
  • No pressure to shop or cook
  • No expectations to visit or play host
  • A chance to try new things

Here's how I've set up food circles for new-parent friends — there's no "right" way:

Step one: Ask first! Does s/he want one? Are there dietary restrictions?

Step two: Collect food givers' email addresses, phone numbers and/or Twitter handles — maybe post a sign-up sheet at your workplace or organize the circle in-person at a baby shower.

Step three: Make a calendar — shareable or one you manage as "food circle co-ordinator." Check out Meal Train!

Step four: Suggest volunteers prepare dishes that freeze and thaw easily, like chili (vegetarian or meat) or a quiche or frittata made with eggs from happy chickens! I received at least three different vegetarian lasagnas while I was in "newborn baby survival mode". Washed, chopped and ready-to-eat fresh fruit and veggies were a welcome treat, too. Pack food in reusable containers like pickle jars, yogurt containers, etc.

Someone with freezer space who lives near the recipient can volunteer to be the drop-off depot. Or people can make their own deliveries — just confirm the appropriate day and time for the recipient.

Food circle co-ordinator responsibilities

  • Schedule food drop-offs. Does the recipient prefer daily or weekly? (For my new parent friends, I had people drop off big portion meals every few days.)
  • Co-ordinate or make meal suggestions so the recipient isn't eating lasagna for three weeks.
  • Thank participants!
  • Check in with recipients to make sure they have what they need.

Will you start a food circle for someone in need? Or share your tips if you've already done one!

Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

May 24, 2014

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1 Comment

May 24, 2014
1:56 PM

I want to tell someone besides Wholefoods and Liberte that to put their La tournee Artisan de Nature Tour 75gm yogurt in #6 plastic is just another reason that we need to support local dairy.

Message stop travelling Liberte. You are not surprising me in my community.


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