“It’s a way to build a greater sense of community and to celebrate cultural diversity through the preparation of food.”

Last year, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Kirk Starratt for an article on saltwire.com.

I’ve been reflecting on this experience and wanted to share a few excerpts with you, to share a little about my work with the Front Street Community Oven.

“The Front Street Community Oven is a not-for-profit organization that has a board of directors. Regular operating expenses include firewood, insurance and a volunteer co-ordinator. Ebata said having someone to co-ordinate volunteers is key… Ebata said the hope is to someday make the oven a year-round operation.”

Volunteers are the backbone of the Oven’s success, and we’re always ready to welcome people in our community who want to get involved. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer with the Oven, you can visit the website at frontstreetoven.ca/volunteer/ for more information.

“Ebata said they also established a fund so there would be money available to open the oven to the community in the case of a severe weather event like a hurricane, for example.”

After Hurricane Dorian caused widespread power outages in 2019, the Oven was lit and opened to the community. Although we did enjoy hot, healthy meals, the most fulfilling part of this experience was connecting with others, supporting each other, and the confirmation that we were all in it together.

“There’s a pattern in community development to create spaces where people gather. Ebata is of Japanese and Italian descent. For him, a part of the project is about recognizing the gifts of other cultures.”

Food has the power to bring people together, offering a common ground and a tool for bonding. This can range from bringing families closer together (I shared an example of this in a recent blog post), to forming new friendships, to building radical empathy between cultures, and groups. All of which leads to a stronger, more connected community.

“’I see when I cook with people, especially outside but even in the kitchen, how the anxiety level just drops. You can see it physically and people say it, too,’ Ebata said.”

Read the full article on Saltwire here.

For more information or to book the Oven, visit www.frontstreetoven.ca.