Peterborough’s Social Conscience Inspirational for New Magazine Staffer

From community gardens to UN sustainable development, commitment to a better world evident

From providing affordable housing and fresh food locally to embracing a commitment to sustainability on a global scale, Peterborough’s stout social conscience is evident through a number of recent activities.

During the past two months, I’ve had the pleasure of delving into stories that explore community, culture and sustainability for Electric City Magazine. It has been a refreshing, energizing and hopeful re-introduction to the Peterborough community.

It has been about 13 years since I moved away from the city. While I was always aware of Peterborough’s ingenuity and investment in social and environmental issues, through fresh eyes it’s becoming even more abundantly clear how the city truly is a leader in so many areas that matter.

“It’s becoming even more abundantly clear how the city truly is a leader in so many areas that matter.

One of the first examples to explore was the value of social financing and the model’s innovative approach to addressing affordable housing in the city. The article explored, among other topics, how a social financing endeavor helped create 43 apartments for people of varied incomes at The Mount Community Centre.

That same building serves as a community hub, boasting office space for nine local community organizations and opportunities for the use and enjoyment of several community groups and organizations — talk about community-building and reducing isolation and barriers for residents.

Meanwhile, access to fresh, healthy food is evidently a priority for many groups, individuals and organizations.

Peterborough residents can get a good thing growing now by planting and harvesting their own fruits and vegetables. Whether it’s a container garden on a fire escape or a community plot in the neighbourhood, Nourish is inviting citizens to explore the rewards of growing their own food by participating in an interactive series of workshops.

Upcoming in June, residents can support local farmers and growers and purchase fresh, healthy food for their families at a new store downtown, which will complement the twice-weekly existing farmers’ markets. Former chef Anthony Lennan is opening The Food Shop, which will carry primarily local meat, produce and other food and condiments boasting area ingredients.

Finally, on a broader scale, Peterborough is expressing its commitment to sustainability.

Inspiring a 12-year-old girl to research campaigns on climate change is one win for sustainable development following a recent forum. Another participant said the event, Community Forum: Understanding the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Canada’s Commitment and the Local Connections, was “incredibly transformational.”

These examples are pretty strong signals for Julie Cosgrove of the Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC), that the event held earlier in March in Peterborough was a success.

“The Community Forum was bursting at the seams with a highly-engaged and charged room of participants,” Julie told Electric City Magazine.

The purpose of the gathering was to gain and understand the context for the development of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), highlight Canada’s commitment and to begin a process of localizing the SDGs and the priorities for the Peterborough community.

In summary, whether it’s improving quality of life at home in Peterborough or tackling sustainability issues on a broader scale, I’m excited to see what’s next for this city.

Stay tuned.

Photo by Yvonne Hollandy.


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