On July 3rd, we listened into a webinar on placemaking from Community Food Centres. The webinar featured a strong panel of active community builders - women with years of experience working in neighborhood parks using food to bring people together.
The panel discussed the heart and soul they pour into their parks to make them lively urban spaces, where everything centers around food. In each park there are opportunities for gardening, cooking, buying and selling at markets every day. They discussed their inspirations, their successes, their failures and the impact of their newest programs. A big takeaway was that strong community organizations engaged in the programs and the park itself have been able to work over the years with local government to adapt and change regulations regarding gardening and commercial cooking.
Jutta Mason of Dufferin Grove Park, worked there since 1993. She started by baking cookies for cranky adolescent hockey players to make the ice skating rink more fun for everyone. Now the project has grown into a community garden in the summer, an active farmer’s market, community wood-fired baking ovens. and weekly community programs.
Sabina Ali of Thorncliffe Park, worked there since 2008. In a neighborhood of immigrants, the park brings neighbors together to get outside, form bonds, promote cultural heritage and empower women and men alike through open markets and gatherings. An imported tandoor oven used for traditional South Asian breads forms a central story for the park, attracting crowds whenever it's fired up. A farmer’s market was started by the farmers and a community garden was started by the community, many of whom are immigrants that missed farming in the old country. The farms and gardens are now ways for this community to share their farming knowledge across generations and cultures.
Liz Curran, of new Regent Park Community Food Centre, moderated.
Of course, there was plenty of tweeting during the webinar, so we’ve gathered some of the highlights:
You can listen in to the webinar online on the POD: knowledge exchange.
Links and Resources that were shared during the webinar:
Jutta Mason's Bake Ovens and Food
Resources from Placemaking Chicago