Photos: Sean Dennie

Nature and Nurture

In your community since 2008


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Saving for Change - One Sandwich at a Time

Posted by Cat Cartmill on February 28, 2018 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (3)

My dream is to make the world a better place, but as an entrepreneur I am just one woman, and there’s only so much I can do. Within these limitations I do what I’ve chosen with joy, and I’d like to keep on doing it, and doing it better. The best investment I can make is in me and my business. I’ve been self-employed since 2008 after being laid off from the job I took to pay the bills. I switched gears in 2015 and bought the lunch truck business. I took everything I had and bought an older truck with an older kitchen attachment. I discovered that driving around bringing affordable quality food to hungry people is pretty much my dream job. I get to work for myself, everyone is happy to see me, and I really like my boss. I get to bring my dog on occasion, play my favorite music and nobody is forced to hear me sing along.

My lunch truck fills a niche in an increasingly anonymous world by building personal connections. I hold a strong belief in building community, a better community, and doing my best to support those within that community. I believe in paying those that work for me a living wage. I believe in healthy food, and healthy customers, a healthy community, and a healthy lifestyle. I believe in supporting myself and my child comfortably and with hope for an expanding future.

I believe in leaving the world better than I found it. To that end I do my best to counter food waste, an incredible problem in our world. Like other forward looking entrepreneurs in the food industry, I am working on a no-food wasted goal. I have found diverse ways to do this. I distribute my leftovers to itinerant day workers (Cash Corner), stock the cooler at my local corner store to affordably feed those in my neighbourhood, and treat my friends and family.

I help my customers with micro-loans, feeding them now for payment later. In turn my suppliers help me out with micro-loans, supplying me now for payment later. It’s a trust based relationship not often found today.

As I’ve been developing relationships with my suppliers and customers, I’ve also been refining my business model, seeking input from others business owners, streamlining workflows, and exploring options to expand beyond the standard work week. I recognize that to make this business model from the last century relevant to this one, I need to up my game. To that end, I started partnering with small to mid-sized festivals and events to bring food to their patrons. I’m developing relationships with emerging local food producers to bring their brands directly to my customers, and I’m not afraid to try new things.

However, due to its age, my truck has needed some love (and some money) to keep it functioning. It gets plenty of use; I bring food to the job sites and offices every work day, regardless of what the weather is doing, it has to be ready to go when I am. Over the last few years I’ve been repairing and replacing as things have reached the top of my to-do list, sometimes by way of emergency. Last year with 400,000 km on the odometer it got a new motor and transmission. I’d love to get to the point of routine maintenance and optional upgrades like I have with the century cottage I call home.

To be successful in a competitive, ever evolving food industry it’s more than just the meal - image and marketing are critical. Customers used to modern food trucks with full vehicle wraps don’t consider flickering lights from ageing wiring “quirky.”

Receiving this investment from ATB would enable me to put a much needed new roof on the kitchen, and add attractive graphics to modernize the appeal of my business. I would be able to upgrade the wiring so the lights act as they should. I would be able to replace the tired speakers and keep my customers entertained while they’re lined up. New tires and larger wheels would keep the truck safe in all weather, so I can reach those needing feeding no matter the conditions. A fresh paint job would make my 14 year old truck look young again. I’d be able to provide my staff with more hours and make my truck work for me, instead of always working for my truck.

This investment into my business will have broad-ranging expanding benefits to not only my truck and my bottom line, but the workers rebuilding Calgary’s inner city, some of those still struggling to make ends meet, people who benefit from my unsold merchandise at the end of my work day, the festival arts community, the food entrepreneurs that I partner with, my employees, and my family.

I truly hope to be able to make use of this bounty from ATB to fulfil my dreams of improving the world, my goal of bringing good food to hungry workers, my aspirations of doing so as sustainably and ethically as possible, and my hopes for my family. $10,000 would make such difference to all of those.

This is what I am saving for. 

Thank you.

Talking about food

Posted by ccartmill on June 1, 2009 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (3)

Eating well for seniors

My name is Catherine Cartmill; I am a Certified Senior Advisor and owner of Nature and Nurture Senior Concierge Ltd. I appreciate the opportunity to share with you today on one of my favourite subjects, food! As well as being a hobby of mine, food makes up the core portion of my business, we provide a grocery shopping service, meal planning & preparation as well as assistance in co-ordinating resources.

As we mature, our bodies undergo a number of changes; generally occurring gradually, over time. Internal food processing systems become less efficient as well as external food sensing; our sense of taste and smell is not as sharp as it used to be; our teeth aren’t as sharp as they were either! Those experiencing widowhood undergo major changes in meal patterns, for others retirement has led to reduced physical activity and more opportunity to eat. Often diets adjust to accommodate medical conditions, with doctors adding to the list of foods that are forbidden. Somehow eating isn’t as much fun as it used to be.

Sometimes the challenge is getting the food into the house. Physical challenges may get in the way of having sufficient food in the home. Those without their own cars rely on the food that is available in the neighbourhood stores which may be more expensive and less nutritious than food from a grocery store. No vehicle means groceries are limited to the amount that can be carried. Money is also a factor for many and those cooking for one or two can’t take advantage of cost savings available for those buying in bulk.

We know that diet plays a major role in our quality of life especially in the 70+ age groups. The food we eat really needs to pack a punch to deliver the nutrients needed at the same time as it becomes more challenging to get adequate nutrition.

Sometimes we get stuck in a routine and it’s difficult to make radical changes in our habits. Try making small changes to increase minerals, vitamins, fibre and water in your diet. Liquid is an essential part of any diet and drinks with caffeine or alcohol reduce the amount of liquid in our system. A good rule of thumb is to drink a glass of water for every alcoholic or caffeinated drink. Other small changes include focusing on color; choosing brown rice instead of white rice or whole wheat bread and pasta instead of white;

  •  Keep fresh fruit around, cut it up for a snack
  •  Eat more beans and less meat
  •  Choose darker fruits and vegetables, romaine or spinach instead of iceberg lettuce, peaches or berries instead of apples 

Fresh produce is tasty – especially when it comes from your own garden. Gardens don’t have to be large; they can be as simple as herbs grown on a windowsill. Fresh produce can be found in greater variety at a farmers market and may be cheaper as well. There are a number of community gardens around Calgary you can get your own plot or just help out in exchange for some produce. Dandelion greens are free and plentiful, as long as you know they have not been sprayed. Pig weed is similar to butter lettuce when it’s young. Have you seen the boxes of organic baby greens in the grocery store? $5 for a box of green stuff you can pick in your yard even when you don’t have a garden!

Look for volunteer opportunities where a meal is served. Working at a casino or bingo can be a lot of fun and a good way to meet people. Volunteer Calgary has plenty of opportunities and not just in gaming establishments! You can go see the ballet or a play, work in a garden, play with children or animals, use your handyman skills or many other opportunities. When you are eating out, make sure that every bite counts. Avoid empty calories and junk food.

Make cooking and eating a social activity. Get together with friends to prepare single serving meals for the freezer. Create a grocery club with friends and neighbours or use a shopping service to take advantage of bulk prices. Get together with friends for pot luck meals on a regular basis. Have no cook meal options and heat and serve meals for days when you don’t feel like cooking. Make your own heat and serve meals when you cook, just make extra to freeze. If you don’t have a group of friends that is interested, check with your local seniors centre or contact Community Kitchens of Calgary.

There’s all kind of information available. The US Food & Drug Administration developed a “Seniors Food Triangle” reducing the starches and encouraging fibre. We hear about “superfoods” and there are plenty of articles such as the following from News Canada published recently in the Calgary Herald.


Healthy diet, healthy brain

(NC)—More and more experts say that the daily diet—what you eat and how much you eat—plays a big role in mental alertness. Eating the right diet can help the brain make the right connections - at all ages. Foods play a big role in maintaining a healthy brain, like these:


  • Proteins in the diet affect brain performance because they provide the amino acids from which neurotransmitters are made. Eat low fat yoghurt, cottage cheese, peanut butter, whole-wheat cereals, skinless chicken, eggs, turkey, beans, fresh nuts and seeds.
  • Carbohydrates calm the body and help you resist distractions. In the evening eat potatoes, whole grain rice and pasta, couscous, wild rice and beans.
  • Avoid saturated fat and trans fats, as they can easily cause fatigue.
  • Take the appropriate vitamins and supplements, such as a daily multivitamin/ mineral supplement. Some natural health products, such as caffeine-free Remember-fx, have been shown to increase mental alertness.
  • Drink green tea. It is strong in antioxidants and helps lower plaque in the brain. Consuming at least 2 cups daily can improve your cognitive function and keep your mental faculties from declining.



The point is not to treat food as a prescription -although I did hear from one man who when he heard of the benefits of almonds counted out 23 almonds which is one ounce to eat every day. You need to focus on the foods that you can eat and food that you do enjoy and try to make it easier to do. I have given you a lot of information in a short period of time and would be happy to answer your questions at my booth.

No matter if you are 80 or just want to grow up to be 80 cook for nutrition and eat to enjoy!