The Table Community Food Centre’s Cultural Celebrations Project explores global food cultures

Posted on: February 22, 2024

In December, with support from Feed Ontario’s Feeding Possibilities grant, The Table Community Food Centre launched the Cultural Celebrations Project. The main element of the project are cultural celebrations on the first Friday of every month during The Table’s regular Community Meals (4:30-6:00pm). So far the feedback is overwhelmingly positive from The Table’s participants, staff and community members. “These events should be encouraged. This is how we learn about other cultures, great idea” commented one regular participant.

In the small rural town of Perth, where the demographics are ever changing, the Cultural Celebrations Project offers exposure to different cultures by way of a monthly celebration. At each event The Table’s dining hall gets a cultural makeover. The walls are decorated, the room is filled with music, and the smell of something wonderful cooking fills the space. The whole evening is dedicated to exploring one specific culture from around the world and The Table’s staff, volunteers, and community members work together to make it come to life. The Community Chefs work with a volunteer cultural ambassador to curate a menu for The Table participants to enjoy and even potentially replicate at home.  Along with cultural exposure, the Cultural Celebrations Project aims to break down barriers when it comes to accessing ethnic ingredients and approaching ethnic cooking. Enjoying simple and authentic cultural meals monthly has been a hit, as The Table has seen an average of a 44% increase in participants on the first Friday of the month.

Haley Wolk, Assistant to the Cultural Celebrations Project says: “These events have been so rewarding to participate in because each one takes on a life of its own. The spirit of each culture being celebrated comes to the forefront. Participants and community members share experiences, learn together, and get to enjoy a pretty delicious meal at the same time.”

“What a joy to have the opportunity, through Feed Ontario, to honour a variety of cultures through celebration. The Cultural Celebrations Project offers a look into the food, recipes, music, activities, decor and history of various cultures. Learning and collaborating through celebration has drawn interest and stimulated a desire to welcome new experiences with our participants” noted  Stephanie Corrin, Social Justice & Advocacy Coordinator at The Table.

So far the Cultural Celebrations included: Hanukkah in December, Ukrainian New Years in January, and Dominican Carnival in February. Up next will be a look at Filipino culture and rumour has it a whole roasted pig is on its way to The Table!

The Table hopes to see the Cultural Celebrations take place beyond the specified grant period. Through the lens of diversity and inclusion, the possibilities are vast and sharing a meal with your neighbour is a universal way of building bridges.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News