Pandemic Update – March 31, 2020

When I accepted the role as Executive Director at NEAT, I never thought I would write an update on our operations during a global pandemic, but here we are, and on behalf of the board and staff, we are really glad to have your support throughout this time.

First, NEAT closed NEAT Finds ten days ago with the intention of re-evaluating at the end of the month. The end of March brings the decision to keep our doors closed to support physical distancing. We will remain closed indefinitely until public health officials have given the green light for all businesses to resume business as usual.

The list of essential services released by the Province last week included a number of food and agricultural supports. NEAT programming such as NOURISH, the Northern Co-Hort, and some of our education programming falls under this umbrella and we are in the process of determining how best to continue delivering them.

NOURISH is continuing to work closely with Salvation Army and Women’s Resources to support low income individuals within the community through prepared meals. We are opening this service up to low income seniors that are not currently accessing food supports through the Salvation Army Food Bank and delivery is available if necessary. Please contact info@neat.ca for further information.

The Northern Co-Hort is continuing to support agricultural and horticultural production within the Region. Our mandate is to connect, educate, and support both producers and consumers. Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we revamp some of our existing plans to reflect the guidelines on physical distancing. The Seed and Garden Exchange on April 18th will be a virtual event with online discussions and workshops, and a snail-mail seed exchange. Details will follow shortly.

Normally, Food Secure Kids would be returning with students from spring break to begin the exploration of food security in our community. This year we are revamping this program to provide support for parents at home with children, and the community as a whole once we are able. We are also planning on how best to utilize the gardens throughout the community to support the food bank and NOURISH through this growing season.

Registration for the Community Garden will open in the next two weeks. Growing food within our community is a positive way to feel connected, at a distance. More information on plots and registration will be sent out shortly.

We have not made decisions regarding much of our summer programming at this point. That said, we would like you to know that we are dedicated to bringing you high quality community programming that will help us all live healthy, vibrant, and connected (just maybe not too close!) lives.

Thank you for your support through this time. We know it hasn’t been easy on anyone. We appreciate that you’ve been staying home and maintaining physical distance. We aren’t health experts, so we will leave all of those updates in the capable hands of Dr. Henry and Dr. Tam, except to say, we are also eagerly awaiting the end of this challenging time and the resumption of life as we know it. Until then, our office will continue to be closed to the public. If you need us, please reach out on Facebook or through info@neat.ca. Many of us are working from home trying to be there for our families and our community and sometimes that balance is easier to find than others.

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