In their third round of consultations, members of the Weston-Mount Dennis community had all the right ingredients to cook up a recipe for sustainable community programs.
Community food festivals, a food action team and entrepreneurial workshops are just some of the ideas put forth at the Recipe for Community meeting Monday, Jan. 21 at UrbanArts at 19 John St.
UrbanArts has approximately $67,500 to work with so far this year and members of the community, as well as a handful of local organizations, were eager to pitch program ideas to help youth in the area be productive.
“If you have no programs for youth and no outlets for them to use their excess time, their excess energy, it’ll be wasted,” said Suri Weinberg-Linsky, owner of Squibb’s book store on Weston Road.
“If you have no programs for youth and no outlets for them to use their excess time, their excess energy, it'll be wasted."
– Suri Weinberg-Linsky
“They can learn a skill set instead of hanging around doing nothing.”
One of the biggest pushes was for hosting workshops to help residents find employment. Examples thrown on the table were food handling certification, so teens can apply for jobs in the catering industry. Also suggested were CPR certification classes, which can open doors for summer jobs as lifeguards or camp counselors.
It’s no surprise that an event named Recipe for Community generated ideas centred on food themes, including creating a weekly food market with fresh vegetables and fruits, or something as simple as installing bake ovens around Emmett community garden.
“We have a really diverse community and they’re becoming a lot more engaged,” said Marlene McKintosh, UrbanArts executive director.
McKintosh said she was pleased with the number of people who came out to share their ideas and impressed with the community’s entrepreneurial spirit, stating the ideas could prove “beneficial to the community.”
To help bring these ideas to fruition was community development officer Melody Brown from the City of Toronto.
According to Brown, some of the skills and development workshops suggested could begin as early as next month or in time for March Break, if the right co-ordinators for the workshops are found. However, ideas surrounding gardening, such as buying mushroom logs and building raised vegetables beds, are dependant on the weather and will have to wait until the spring.
“There’s so many different projects coming forward and there’s an opportunity to create a great partnership,” said Brown.
She also suggested organizations can look at what’s already available to them and “build on that to leave a legacy” in the community.
“We can not only start something, but we can leave something (behind) that is sustainable in the community after Recipe for Community leaves.”