Convivium is a nonprofit whose mission is to improve life through food.
Read more about how we accomplish our mission:
Increasing Access to Healthy Food
Convivium works to increase access to healthy food to those who need it most. We do this through our Community Casserole program, our free food box distributions, and our Common Bed gardens.
Our Community Casserole program provides free, wholesome meals that are available each week for delivery and/or pickup. These fully-prepared meals, many of which include ingredients we grew ourselves, are given away to 250 adults and families in our community each week.
Our free food box distribution is offered in partnership with St. Stephen's Food Bank, a branch of River Bend Foodbank. We distribute free produce and dairy boxes twice a month from our location.
Our Common Bed gardens are yellow raised-bed gardens that we maintain around the neighborhood. There are 10 of them scattered around the North End near Convivium that grow fruits, vegetables and herbs that are available and free for anyone to harvest from during the growing season.
Convivium Programming & Events
Along with working to increase access to healthy food options, we are also committed to providing tools and education about healthy food choices. Through our classes, demonstrations, and experiences we look to increase people's knowledge and interest in our food system - the growing, preparing, preserving, and, of course, enjoyment of food.
Our classes are designed to inspire confidence, creativity, and self-sufficiency in the kitchen and garden, as well as to empower participants in their pursuit of a more wholesome and secure food experience. In order to ensure everyone has access to this information, we offer all of our classes and workshops on a self-selecting sliding scale. We also prioritize community partnerships to make sure our classes are reaching those who need this information most.
Our demonstrations are free and fun ways to witness a variety of our behind-the-scenes projects that will expose you to new things and inspire you to connect more with food, nature, and your community. You can see how maple syrup is made, watch honey be extracted from our backyard beehives, and view nontraditional growing methods in our demonstration gardens.
Our experiences are opportunities to celebrate and strengthen our connection to ourselves, our community and our environment. We host annual community events including Souper Bowl Sunday to raise awareness and funds for St. Stephen's Food Bank and local food insecure residents; our Community Mapling Pancake Breakfast in celebration of the maple syrup harvest; and a Neighborhood Open House each summer to showcase our gardens and programming.
We host over 1,000 adults (from all over the Midwest) and students (from local elementary, middle school, high school, and universities) each year on our interactive tour of our facility and gardens.
Convivium also has a restaurant that serves a "from scratch" menu with emphasis on fresh, healthy food. During the growing season, much of the produce we use are vegetables that we grow ourselves. Last year we grew over 4,000 pounds of fresh produce in 13,000 square feet of donated garden space (most of Convivium's gardens are located in the front and backyards of our neighbors) which was served in our restaurant, used in our classes, processed and sold as products, and given away to the community.
"I'm elderly and have trouble getting to the store so the meal provides extra food for me when I don't have very much, I'm on a fixed income and even that one meal is a big help!" - Pat, Community Casserole recipient
"I really enjoy cooking with all of you guys! My favorite part was cooking cookies. Also cutting up onions, carrots, peppers. It was really fun. Thank you for inviting me and letting me learn how to make new stuff." Lurena, age 11
"I recently lost disability because of my age. Also had to quit my part-time job because of my arthritis. So yes, this program helps. Don't need to spend as much on groceries. And the casseroles are awesome - chicken teriyaki is my favorite." - Patti, Community Casserole recipient
"Convivium is such an asset to the community. The class had a good format and covered a lot of good info." - Class participant, Beginning Gardening
"Thank you for making us to learn how to cook and trying new foods and you are the best cooking class teachers and thanks for the food that we made. It was so good and thanks for the games that we played and I wish that cooking class never ended." Jordan, age 10.
"I look forward to the weekly casserole each week on Thursday. It has become a staple to feed my five person family. This program helps so many people." - Craig, Community Casserole recipient