The pandemic has impacted our community in many ways, one issue we continue to face is food. Addressing food insecurity and food waste is a part of our plan towards living a more sustainable and healthy life.
Urban Harvest Rexdale which is supported by the City of Toronto’s Community Reduce and Reuse Program has been providing virtual workshops to reduce food waste at home. Once a monthly occurrence, in-person workshops have not been able to continue due to the current climate. To tackle that, partnering with Humber College’s culinary department has allowed for an insightful take on cooking meals at home that everyone can enjoy.
Last year we had the opportunity to collaborate on a workshop series with Chef Shonah. For six weeks various canning and cooking workshops were demonstrated. Recipes like sweet and sour pickles, beet pasta, and mango jam.
Cliff has been donating harvest to UHR this past year and has been growing his own produce for 15 years. His love for growing stems from enjoying fresh produce as well as the satisfaction he receives from growing.
“We grew up with the idea that you don’t waste things, it doesn’t sit right with us that we must throw out food that could’ve been used or could’ve been eaten. A lot of things are online, at first it was tricky to figure everything out but now I look forward to joining these workshops it’s like being in the audience of the food network. One thing I’ve come to realize is you never stop learning and trust me that’s a good thing.”
This year the incredible Chef Eric curated recipes for each week that showcased what’s trendy this season as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables. With the help of Aneliz (culinary assistant) each meal was able to be completed in under an hour making them easy for everyone to follow along. These workshops are streamed live on zoom and are able to run smoothly with Thomas P. taking the lead on production. Recipes that have been showcased include; Butternut squash soup, cabbage and apple salad with everything bagel seasoning, lentil stew, Swiss apple pie, and spaghetti squash with olives and mushrooms.
Though not in person, these workshops allow for some interaction where the audience can engage in conversation around not only the recipes demonstrated but sharing tips on seasoning, storage, and other waste diversions that can be helpful at home to others. The last workshop is on December 14th.
Collaborative measures are vital to our community and help us all to live in a shared economy.