North Hastings Community Trust (NHCT) is a small, community based agency working to address the impacts of poverty and injustice in our rural area. We are at an interesting place in our history, as we are joined by artists, mechanics, designers, farmers, teachers, small businesses, social workers, and local politicians - all concerned about the survival of our small communities. We have very little industry outside of tourism, little employment outside of seasonal, and a growing population living on the edges of survival.
Since 2003 NHCT has provided emergency financial assistance to individuals and families in North Hastings in response to poverty. In 2015 we began to expand our vision and work to include collective community based responses to the impacts of poverty and injustice.
We started with food! And an understanding that we can grow our own food together, share our skills and experience and create a healthier place to live. Harvest The North community gardens began in 2015 with ten raised beds in Riverside Park. Between 2016-2018 we increased by many more - 13 more raised beds, 4 big garden rows and gardens popping up everywhere. The gardens are doing more than grow food – they are bringing us together and building a stronger, more resilient community. It is all of us making this happen – from the generous donations of our local businesses, expertise of local farmers and growers, commitment and hours of work from hundreds of people of all ages – building and growing – both food and friendships.
Harvest the North Water Farms is an extension of our food movement - as we seek creative ways to extend our growing season through aquaponics. We have concluded phase one of a research feasibility study, and are currently identifying ways to operationalize an aquaponics pilot project. Our hope is to utilize local expertise and resources and build a system that does not rely on materials outside of our community. We imagine a sustainable food system operated by our community.
Rural Food Share has grown out of the incredible community support and offerings of food. Food is dropped off dried, fresh and frozen to share.
Wood Share is another project which grew out of an identified need in our community – heat for the winter. This is an initiative supported by numerous community organizations and businesses, with a mission to increase the supply and access to emergency firewood for people in North Hastings. We are supported by Freymond Lumber and BAFIA (Bancroft Area Forest Industry Ass.) and many community members who work together to ensure no one is cold in the winter.
Advocacy: Those of us working to create positive change in our community recognize that we need to change the conditions that cause poverty. Some of our efforts go to influencing policy changes to ensure everyone can live a healthy life. Currently we are working on the water/sewage crisis in Bancroft to address the 56% rate increase. This increase is having devastating impacts on people in our community already struggling to meet basic needs. We hosted a Town Hall meeting in 2017 to address this issue and heard from over 100 people who provided insight and solutions. See this report for more details.
Harm Reduction: For the last year NHCT has been working with community partners to ensure safety and well-being for everyone in our community. We recognize that addictions are complicated, and that the best response is to support people where they are at, and welcome people who use drugs to join us in our space and in our work. We open our space to everyone without judgement. In partnership with Public Health we are providing needle exchanges and naloxone kits (overdose prevention).
Community Support Workers: We have a team of people who can provide referrals, help navigate income support systems, and offer a comfortable place to talk. We also have a registered social worker on site once a week (Thursday afternoons).
Please join us in our work from charity to empowerment, as we build resiliency, find creative responses together, and ultimately create community where everyone is welcome.
Please visit Programs for further information.