Food is playing an important role in fostering social cohesion in Toronto's newly redeveloped Regent Park neighbourhood. CRC has a long history of helping meet the basic housing, clothing and food needs of the Regent Park community. The development of the Regent Park Community Food Centre in CRC's building at 40 Oak St. strengthens existing community meal, advocacy, and gardening programs, locating the Community Food Centre's proven program mix in CRC's state-of-the-art facility. The Regent Park Community Food Centre reflects the unique and diverse neighbourhood around it, and works to meet local needs through responsive, multidimensional programming around food.
In late 2013, the Community Food Centre relaunched its community meals program under the supervision of Community Chef Ronald Cockburn. The reimagined program now prioritizes sourcing fresh, healthy food through direct purchasing and through partnerships with groups such as CultivateTO, which donates produce harvested from one of its rooftop gardens to the Community Food Centre kitchen.
In early 2014, the centre hired three new staff: a Food Skills coordinator, a Community Gardens Coordinator, and a Community Advocacy Coordinator. These energetic new bodies have kickstarted the centre's community kitchens and family dinner, which bring people together to prepare and eat a meal in the facility's beautiful kitchen and dining room; the community gardens that grace the building's front lawn; and the peer advocacy program and community action work that engage residents in becoming active in making social change. Through a Weston Family Parks Challenge grant, Regent Park Community Food Centre also hired a Park Manager to oversee activities at nearby Regent Park, including a large community garden and other stewardship activities.
"We're delighted to begin this partnership with Community Food Centres Canada here at CRC," said Louise Moody, Executive Director of CRC. "Hunger, poverty, and poor health are a big problem in our community. The Regent Park Community Food Centre will bring people together to share a meal, learn new skills, and engage in the community. By using the power of a good meal, we're going to build a healthier community.”
The Regent Park Community Food Centre officially launched in the fall of 2014.
More on Regent Park
+ Read Regent Park CFC's 2015 Impact Summary [PDF]
+ Read the Inside Toronto article on Regent Park CFC
+ Read Torontoist's piece on their basic income consultations
+ Watch this video of Jeremy sharing his story of how Regent Park CFC impacted his life: