New community food program launched in Regent Park

News Sep 13, 2014 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

With a more diverse group of residents moving into Regent Park, downtown agency the CRC is looking to meet the needs of longtime residents while bridging gaps between the old and the new.

The CRC is set to officially launch its new Community Food Centre, which brings a variety of food-based programs to the area. While some of the programs have been long-entrenched in the neighbourhood, as Regent Park has changed, so too have the needs of its residents.

“The CRC has been in the neighbourhood for 50 years, serving meals to people in the community who didn’t have access to food,” said CRC Community Food Centre manager Emily Martyn. “Now the single, homeless men that have used that program – that group isn’t there anymore, but there’s still a need for that program and others.”

To that end, the Community Food Centre will continue to serve healthy breakfasts and lunches to some 150 to 200 people per day. In addition, the CRC has begun serving weekly community dinners, offering cooking classes and food skills programming, providing community gardening opportunities and more.

“For some people, our main goal is still providing a meal, but beyond that, we’re looking at how food brings people together,” Martyn said. “The new Regent Park has market-value condos as well as Toronto Community Housing units and food’s a good tool to bridge that social piece.”

The Community Food Centre runs programs out of a few gardens, including one in the new park, which opened in the area this summer, one out front of its site at 40 Oak St.

“The one in the park we run in partnership with eight other agencies in the community,” Martyn said. “Volunteers grow there and can bring food home to their families, and some of the food comes to our community kitchen for our healthy meals program.”

The garden in front of 40 Oak allows residents living in that building to grow and harvest their own food, with excess food going to those who use the CRC’s drop-in programs. Individual families, meanwhile, grow food in allotment gardens spaced across Toronto Community Housing properties in the area.

Martyn noted that while the CRC Community Food Centre deals primarily with issues of food security, it also plays a role in advocacy for other issues.

“We talk about how if someone has trouble accessing food, they may also have trouble accessing housing or other needs,” she said.

According to Christina Palassio of Community Food Centres Canada, the official launch of Regent Park’s new centre came about after a great deal of community consultation.

“We went in and talked to people to find out what the needs are in Regent Park and since then, we’ve hired a community action coordinator, a gardens coordinator, kitchen coordinator and meals coordinator,” she said.

The CRC Community Food Centre will follow a model created at The STOP Community Food Centre in the city’s west end.

“It’s great to have two Community Food Centres working locally in the neighbourhoods they’re in, both of which are high-needs neighbourhoods,” Palassio said.

“They call attention to the need for food programs in the city and deliver food to people in a way that’s respectful to people, in an environment that’s dignified.”

More importantly, she said, the Community Food Centre model works as more than a meal program or a food bank, empowering those who use the centre to take charge of their own food situation.

The CRC Community Food Centre’s programs are all currently underway, but the centre will hold an official launch ceremony with tours of the centre, the Regent Park gardens and greenhouse and more.

The event will take place at 40 Oak St. from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18.

New community food program launched in Regent Park

CRC to hold official launch ceremony Sept. 18

News Sep 13, 2014 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

With a more diverse group of residents moving into Regent Park, downtown agency the CRC is looking to meet the needs of longtime residents while bridging gaps between the old and the new.

The CRC is set to officially launch its new Community Food Centre, which brings a variety of food-based programs to the area. While some of the programs have been long-entrenched in the neighbourhood, as Regent Park has changed, so too have the needs of its residents.

“The CRC has been in the neighbourhood for 50 years, serving meals to people in the community who didn’t have access to food,” said CRC Community Food Centre manager Emily Martyn. “Now the single, homeless men that have used that program – that group isn’t there anymore, but there’s still a need for that program and others.”

To that end, the Community Food Centre will continue to serve healthy breakfasts and lunches to some 150 to 200 people per day. In addition, the CRC has begun serving weekly community dinners, offering cooking classes and food skills programming, providing community gardening opportunities and more.

“For some people, our main goal is still providing a meal, but beyond that, we’re looking at how food brings people together,” Martyn said. “The new Regent Park has market-value condos as well as Toronto Community Housing units and food’s a good tool to bridge that social piece.”

The Community Food Centre runs programs out of a few gardens, including one in the new park, which opened in the area this summer, one out front of its site at 40 Oak St.

“The one in the park we run in partnership with eight other agencies in the community,” Martyn said. “Volunteers grow there and can bring food home to their families, and some of the food comes to our community kitchen for our healthy meals program.”

The garden in front of 40 Oak allows residents living in that building to grow and harvest their own food, with excess food going to those who use the CRC’s drop-in programs. Individual families, meanwhile, grow food in allotment gardens spaced across Toronto Community Housing properties in the area.

Martyn noted that while the CRC Community Food Centre deals primarily with issues of food security, it also plays a role in advocacy for other issues.

“We talk about how if someone has trouble accessing food, they may also have trouble accessing housing or other needs,” she said.

According to Christina Palassio of Community Food Centres Canada, the official launch of Regent Park’s new centre came about after a great deal of community consultation.

“We went in and talked to people to find out what the needs are in Regent Park and since then, we’ve hired a community action coordinator, a gardens coordinator, kitchen coordinator and meals coordinator,” she said.

The CRC Community Food Centre will follow a model created at The STOP Community Food Centre in the city’s west end.

“It’s great to have two Community Food Centres working locally in the neighbourhoods they’re in, both of which are high-needs neighbourhoods,” Palassio said.

“They call attention to the need for food programs in the city and deliver food to people in a way that’s respectful to people, in an environment that’s dignified.”

More importantly, she said, the Community Food Centre model works as more than a meal program or a food bank, empowering those who use the centre to take charge of their own food situation.

The CRC Community Food Centre’s programs are all currently underway, but the centre will hold an official launch ceremony with tours of the centre, the Regent Park gardens and greenhouse and more.

The event will take place at 40 Oak St. from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18.

New community food program launched in Regent Park

CRC to hold official launch ceremony Sept. 18

News Sep 13, 2014 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

With a more diverse group of residents moving into Regent Park, downtown agency the CRC is looking to meet the needs of longtime residents while bridging gaps between the old and the new.

The CRC is set to officially launch its new Community Food Centre, which brings a variety of food-based programs to the area. While some of the programs have been long-entrenched in the neighbourhood, as Regent Park has changed, so too have the needs of its residents.

“The CRC has been in the neighbourhood for 50 years, serving meals to people in the community who didn’t have access to food,” said CRC Community Food Centre manager Emily Martyn. “Now the single, homeless men that have used that program – that group isn’t there anymore, but there’s still a need for that program and others.”

To that end, the Community Food Centre will continue to serve healthy breakfasts and lunches to some 150 to 200 people per day. In addition, the CRC has begun serving weekly community dinners, offering cooking classes and food skills programming, providing community gardening opportunities and more.

“For some people, our main goal is still providing a meal, but beyond that, we’re looking at how food brings people together,” Martyn said. “The new Regent Park has market-value condos as well as Toronto Community Housing units and food’s a good tool to bridge that social piece.”

The Community Food Centre runs programs out of a few gardens, including one in the new park, which opened in the area this summer, one out front of its site at 40 Oak St.

“The one in the park we run in partnership with eight other agencies in the community,” Martyn said. “Volunteers grow there and can bring food home to their families, and some of the food comes to our community kitchen for our healthy meals program.”

The garden in front of 40 Oak allows residents living in that building to grow and harvest their own food, with excess food going to those who use the CRC’s drop-in programs. Individual families, meanwhile, grow food in allotment gardens spaced across Toronto Community Housing properties in the area.

Martyn noted that while the CRC Community Food Centre deals primarily with issues of food security, it also plays a role in advocacy for other issues.

“We talk about how if someone has trouble accessing food, they may also have trouble accessing housing or other needs,” she said.

According to Christina Palassio of Community Food Centres Canada, the official launch of Regent Park’s new centre came about after a great deal of community consultation.

“We went in and talked to people to find out what the needs are in Regent Park and since then, we’ve hired a community action coordinator, a gardens coordinator, kitchen coordinator and meals coordinator,” she said.

The CRC Community Food Centre will follow a model created at The STOP Community Food Centre in the city’s west end.

“It’s great to have two Community Food Centres working locally in the neighbourhoods they’re in, both of which are high-needs neighbourhoods,” Palassio said.

“They call attention to the need for food programs in the city and deliver food to people in a way that’s respectful to people, in an environment that’s dignified.”

More importantly, she said, the Community Food Centre model works as more than a meal program or a food bank, empowering those who use the centre to take charge of their own food situation.

The CRC Community Food Centre’s programs are all currently underway, but the centre will hold an official launch ceremony with tours of the centre, the Regent Park gardens and greenhouse and more.

The event will take place at 40 Oak St. from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18.