Random House Canada
March 19th 2013
In 1998, when Nick Saul became executive director of The Stop, the little urban food bank was like thousands of other cramped, dreary, makeshift spaces, a last-hope refuge where desperate people could stave off hunger for one more day with a hamper full of canned salt, sugar and fat. The produce was wilted and the packaged foods were industry castoffs – mislabelled products and misguided experiments that no one wanted to buy. For users of the food bank, knowing that this was their best bet for a meal was a humiliating experience.
Since that time, The Stop has undergone a radical reinvention. Participation has overcome embarrasment, and the isolation of poverty has been replaced with a vibrant community that uses food to build hope and skills, and to reach out to those who need a meal, a hand and a voice. What was once a simple food bank is now a thriving, internationally respected community Food Centre with gardens, kitchens, a greenhouse, farmers’ markets and a mission to revolutionize our food system. Celebrities and benefactors have embraced The Stop’s vision because they have never seen anything like it. Best of all, fourteen years after his journey started, Nick Saul is launching this neighbourhood success story into a wider world.
In telling the remarkable story of The stop’s Transformation, Saul and Curtis argue that we need a new politics of food, one in which everyone has a dignified, healthy place at the table. By turns funny, sad and raw, The Stop is a timely story about overcoming obstacles, challenging sacred cows and creating lasting change.
Nick Saul was executive director of The Stop Community Food Centre in Toronto from 1998 to 2012 and is a recipient of the prestigious Jane Jacobs Prize and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. He is now president and CEO of Community Food Centres Canada, an organization that will bring the innovations of The Stop to communities across the country.
Andrea Curtis is an award-winning writer and editor. Her book Into the Blue: Family Secrets in the Search for a Great Lakes Shipwreck won the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. Curtis’s first children’s book is What’s for Lunch? How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World.