SCOFF: Seniors' Celebration of Food & Film

Our SCOFF projects celebrate, build upon, and preserve seniors' food knowledge in Newfoundland & Labrador

“Back In My Times, Everybody was a Gardener and a Fisher. They Used to Fish and Do Gardens. That Was What They Called the Good Old Days.” - Warren Lovell

These days, we only grow 10% of the vegetables we eat in our province, and we have 89% fewer farms than we had in 1951.

Many of us see grocery stores as the place where our food comes from now, instead of our backyards, farms, and the sea and forests that surround us. We are losing our relationship with food, and with it, our food literacy and skills.

Luckily, we can look to our seniors to share what they know, and teach a new generation some old tricks. Their food skills, knowledge, and memories of a time when they got much of the food they needed from the land around them provides a great foundation upon which we can build a more vibrant and self-reliant food system in our province once again.

Celebrating food is also a way to bring people together to relieve the social isolation common among our senior population.

Food First NL’s work with seniors includes:

  • An 8-part Videos Series Sharing Seniors Food Knowledge
  • Over 50 Socially Focussed Seniors Food Celebrations
  • Funding for Seniors Events That Promote Food Literacy


SCOFF Video Series

Food First NL’s SCOFF video series celebrates, preserves, and shares a wealth of food knowledge from seniors in Newfoundland & Labrador through 8 short, humorous, and enlightening documentaries.

These videos include a bounty of simple instructions on food skills like bottling beets, building your own slug zapper, easily maintaining a potato garden one year to the next, preserving berries, building your own root cellar on any kind of property, getting the most out of your fish, and more, like how to make your own fertilizer that’s free, found on our own shores, and far better than anything store-bought.

By sharing these skills among seniors and with the next generation alike, we can save this food knowledge from being lost, while saving money at the grocery store by learning how to grow more of our own food at home.

You can watch the whole video below, or read a little more on each video, and watch or share them separately by clicking these links:

Leo Hearn: Cod Fishing
Donna & Garth: Bottling Beets
Warren Lovell: Root Cellars
Marg Hancock: Planting Seed Potatoes
Hope and Louis Rowsell : Preserving Berries
Garfield & Pheobe: Gardening
Marina Ploughman: Traditional Fish Stew
Elizabeth Penashue: Making Innu Donuts

Seniors Food Celebrations


Between 2014-2016, Food First NL partnered with community groups throughout the province to support 55 Seniors Food Celebrations.

All totaled, we made space for 2,300 seniors to come together and share food, food skills, and good company. 

Health professionals say events like these improve seniors’ access to, and consumption of healthy food, and many organizers at these events reported that the social nature of the celebrations was a key outcome of the events.

The biggest benefit was getting seniors out for a hot meal. 90% of them are home alone, with family gone and spouse passed away. Most don’t have a vehicle and don’t make real meals.
— Julia Francis | CN Pensioners Group

The events also brought seniors together who might otherwise be socially isolated and restricted in their access to healthy food, and taught them a little more culinary self-sufficiency in the form of food skills.

Supporting Food Literacy Programs For Seniors

Our SCOFF project also facilitates the building and sharing of food literacy among our seniors by funding events and workshops that enhance and share food literacy among our seniors.

In late 2017, we invited seniors groups across the province to apply for funding from Food First NL, to be put towards community projects or workshops that would put an idea into action and improve food security for seniors in the winter of 2018.

It was entirely up to the community group how they wanted to interpret and enact efforts towards food security for seniors in their community. Here are 10 SCOFF community projects we funded in 2018:

  • The Beaches 50+ Club in Eastport, for a Bottling Workshop with Central Health
  • The Community Cafe Committee in Port aux Basques, for a Lunch n' Learn Series
  • The Humber Arm South 50+ Club in Benoit's Cove, for a Fermented Foods Workshop with The Western Environment Centre
  • The Froude Avenue Community Centre in St. John's, for an Indoor Garden Installation and Workshop with Food First NL
  • The New World Island 50+ Club, for a Local Food Presentation Series 
  • The Norpen Aboriginal Women's Circle in Port Saunders, for a Freezing Fruits and Vegetables Workshop
  • Parkview Apartments in Corner Brook, for a workshop on Building a New Community Garden
  • Placentia Area-Cape Shore Community Connections, for an Eating on a Budget Workshop 
  • The Town of Change Islands, for a Community Kitchen Series with Central Health
  • The Virginia Park Community Centre in St. John's, for starting a new bulk buying club

Contact Sarah Ferber, Education Manager, for further information about SCOFF at or (709)237-4026.