Past Event: Feeding the City Webinar: Urban Agriculture, School and Community Food Programs

How have individuals’ and families’ food-related activities changed as a result of COVID-19, particularly in light of school closures and rising food insecurity? How can urban growing and government- and community-level initiatives help build a resilient food system? Join the Feeding the City team from Tkaronto (Toronto) as we hear from three experts on these questions:

Rhonda Teitel-Payne is the Co-coordinator of Toronto Urban Growers (TUG). She has been active for over 20 years with programs such as The Stop Community Food Centre, Toronto Community Garden Network, and the World Crops project.

Debbie Field is the Coordinator of the Coalition for Healthy School Food and Associate Member, Centre for Studies in Food Security, at Ryerson University. She was the Executive Director of FoodShare for 25 years.

Utcha Sawyers is the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of East Scarborough. She was an inaugural member of Food Secure Canada’s Board of Directors (2013-2017), and is an international Food Justice, Equity & Access consultant and advocate.

Moderated by Jayeeta (Jo) Sharma and Sarah Elton. Jo is an Associate Professor of History and Food Studies at the Culinaria Research Centre of the University of Toronto, and the Project Lead for Feeding the City. Sarah is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Ryerson University, and the author of several award-winning popular books on urban food systems. Supported by the Culinaria Research Centre, University of Toronto Scarborough

Afri-Can FoodBasket presents Cultivating Black Food Sovereignty In Toronto Celebrating the Past, Envisioning the Future November 27th – 28th, 2020

Location: Virtual (Zoom) Conference


5:30pm – 8:30pm (November 27 th ); 9:00am – 2:30pm (November 28th)

On Friday, November 27th and Saturday, November 28th , Afri-Can FoodBasket (AFB) will be hosting Toronto’s first Black Food Sovereignty Conference, a FREE, online event exploring the cultivation of food sovereignty in Toronto’s African, Caribbean & Black (ACB) communities. This special event will take place online via Zoom video conferencing platform from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm on November 27th and from 9:00 am – 2:30 pm on November 28th.

A University of Toronto study revealed that 30% of Black households in Canada experience food insecurity, more than twice the national average. This level of food insecurity illustrates the challenges ACB families face in accessing healthy and culturally-specific foods

One of the most distressing examples of this challenge is in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, where 24% of ACB households were food insecure prior to COVID-19, according to a 2019 study by the Daily Bread Food Bank.

The Cultivating Black Food Sovereignty In Toronto virtual conference will reflect the vigorous efforts made at the community level to achieve food security for ACB communities over the past 25+ years. This important event will help participants and key stakeholders understand the meaning of Black Food Sovereignty, how the COVID-19 pandemic placed a high emphasis in acknowledging food insecurities within ACB communities, and the collective mobilization of grassroots organizations and initiatives such as AFB’s Black Food Toronto initiative developed to provide emergency food relief response for ACB families in need. Most importantly, this event will highlight the various intersectional issues facing the ACB community as they relate to Black Food Sovereignty in Toronto. In addition, it will aim to further strengthen commitments to build a Toronto Black Food Sovereignty Alliance to achieve food sovereignty for the ACB community in Toronto.

Speakers at the conference include Melana Roberts, Chair of Food Secure Canada, Aina-Nia Ayo’dele Grant, Community Resources Social Development, Finance and Administration City of Toronto, Anan Lololi, Founder and Interim Director of Afri-Can FoodBasket & Research Associate at Ryerson University, Malik Kenyatta Yakini, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN), Kirubel Tadele, Communications Officer, Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), Saché Jones, Member of National Black Food & Justice Alliance in America, and Edward Benote Hill, Program Manager of the EcoDistricts Accelerator Program and Development Manager of the Black Community Food Systems Initiative located in NE Portland.

Afri-Can FoodBasket (AFB) is a community-based, non-profit organization that has been at the forefront of championing Food Justice and Food Sovereignty for Toronto’s ACB communities since 1995. With a mission to provide leadership in urban agriculture, and foster collaboration to advance food justice, health and social enterprise in the African Canadian Community. AFB now seeks to lead the development of a Black Food Sovereignty Alliance to address the ever growing disparities affecting Toronto’s ACB Community.

We encourage all community members to join us on Friday, November 27th and Saturday, November 28th for the Cultivation of Black Food Sovereignty In Toronto conference.

For more information, please contact Zakiya at 647-962-3479 or email: pr@africanfoodbasket.ca

Webinar Highlight: Exploring Critical Food Studies with the Canadian Association for Food Studies By: Madeleine Frechette

In its simplest form, the field of critical food studies examines where food comes from and how people relate to the food that they eat. However, to confine critical food studies to such simplistic terms would be a significant disservice to the ever-evolving field. The systems through which food is produced, distributed, and consumed are subject to constant change, as they intersect with the formal and informal social, cultural, and political actors which shape societal relations. Understanding this, scholars operating in this field approach food studies from an increasingly critical, intersectional perspective. Among said scholars are those at the Canadian Association for Food Studies (CAFS), a group of academics, professionals, and community members promoting critical, interdisciplinary scholarship in the area of food studies. On November 19, CAFS promoted such scholarship at the webinar Everything you always wanted to know about critical agri-food studies (but were too afraid to ask).  

This CAFS webinar featured two leading scholars in the field of critical food studies: Dr. Michael Carolan and Dr. Kelly Bronson. Michael Carolan is a Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Affairs in the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University, who brought his external expertise as an American scholar to the conversation. He is also a published author and researcher, with a particular focus on issues pertaining to food, sustainability, and agriculture. Kelly Bronson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies and a Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Science and Society at the University of Ottawa. She is also a published author and researcher, with a particular focus on the technologies and methods of governance that generate tension between science and society. Carolan is currently a Fulbright visitor at the University of Ottawa, where he is working with Bronson on a cross-national comparative research project on digital agriculture for small, sustainable food producers in the United States and Canada. In this webinar, Bronson and Carolan engaged in active discussion on various topics related to critical food studies, including assumptions regarding critical food scholars, research methods, and scholar activism as a means of representation. 

Throughout the webinar, extensive discussion was generated regarding the assumptions associated with the title of “critical food scholar.” Carolan explained that in his own experience, the intersectional nature of food studies has challenged his identity as a scholar in the field. He explained that it is difficult to assume one singular scholarly identity, such as “rural sociologist,” as doing so would seemingly confine his identity as a researcher and academic to one singular field. It is through the intersectional nature of the field that critical food studies challenges such narrow identities, and instead uplifts scholars operating in the field to engage with a wide variety of factors that influence the production and consumption of food. Carolan and Bronson pointed to the specific example of the “critical agri-food scholar.” They explained that such an identity moves beyond the materiality of food, and instead acknowledges agriculture as an intrinsically distinguished factor in the production of food.  

In their discussion, the speakers specifically alerted to the increasingly “critical” nature of critical food studies. It remains true that the challenges which are most pervasive in the food system are systemically maintained by the various social and political actors that intersect and influence the production and consumption of food. The gravity of such systemic challenges has resulted in the emergence of food scholarship that Carolan and Bronson explained to be increasingly negative. Carolan described such negative scholarship as enabling feelings of powerlessness and dread, as resistance to the systemic insufficiencies in the food system is often deemed to be futile.  

However, rather than solely acknowledge the negative narratives that emerge from food studies scholarship, Carolan and Bronson consistently reiterated that such narratives can increase representation for those who have been silenced in the food system. According to Bronson, the approach taken in critical food studies enables researchers to make visible those who are seemingly unrepresentable in the food system. Carolan referred to this approach to representing those who have been invisibilized as the “bright- and blind-spots” of research. Critical food research allows for concepts related to the production and consumption of food to be recentered on those of have been silenced in the food system, hence the notion of the bright-spot. By illuminating those individuals, it is inevitable that others in the food system will be decentered in the presented narrative, hence the notion of the blind-spot. Still, Carolan asserted that being cognisant of those who have been silenced in the food system, and using scholarly investigation to illuminate their experiences, is the duty of the critical food scholar.  

To close the webinar, Carolan and Bronson examined critical food representation as a method of scholar activism. Carolan asserted that critical food scholars engage in scholar activism by telling the stories of those who have been silenced in the food system. By telling these localized stories, critical food scholars may produce narratives regarding food equity, justice, and sovereignty that reveal the social, political, and economic structures that maintain and exacerbate systemic insufficiencies. Bronson explained that this approach to research challenges the traditional, non-interventionist perspective employed by food scholars in the past. In doing so, critical food scholars actively engage in scholar activism, challenge systemic barriers, and meaningfully engage in the food system in a way that can illuminate solutions for lasting change.   

Over the past several months, Feeding the City has engaged in these critical approaches to scholar activism by highlighting the experiences of those who have been silenced within the Canadian food system in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an attempt to spotlight various long-standing vulnerabilities in the food system, the team has highlighted the experiences of the small-scale, ecological farmers who have been left relatively unsupported during the pandemic, as well as the experiences of migrant agricultural workers who have been exploited within the Canadian agricultural sector. Team members have also highlighted the innovative work of community food banks and urban growers in maintaining service to the individuals and families facing food insecurity in Toronto during the pandemic. Such innovation has also been witnessed in the responses of local markets and grocery stores to the COVID-19 pandemic, which have been spotlighted in the most recent installment of the Feeding the City webinar series. Through this work, the Feeding the City team has been able to amplify the voices of those who are most often underrepresented in the Canadian food system on a local, provincial, and national level. While we will continually consider ‘blind-spots’ that we may have missed in our research, by amplifying the voices and experiences that we have, the Feeding the City team has been able to illuminate the incredible work of many individuals and communities operating across Canada. At the same time, the team has been striving to exemplify both the potential for community-based resilience on a localized level within the food system, and the kinds of initiatives that are worthy of increased support from government and other institutions and actors.  

Additional Resources 

To watch the webinar with Dr. Michael Carolan and Dr. Kelly Bronson, access the recording here: Everything you always wanted to know about critical agri-food studies (but were too afraid to ask). 

To learn more from Dr. Michael Carolan, consult his many books and academic publications for further reading: 

Books by Carolan: 

Academic publications by Carolan: 

To learn more from Dr. Kelly Bronson, please consult her books and academic publications for further reading: 

Book by Bronson: 

Academic publications by Bronson: 

To learn more from the Canadian Association for Food Studies, here are various, open-access resources: 

Research Article Highlight: Beyond Health & Nutrition: Re-framing school food programs through integrated food pedagogies”

This research article by Barbara Parker and Mario Koeppel confirms that a universal cost-shared healthy school food program is needed in Canada. This integrative approach to food extends our understanding of food beyond charity, and opens up conversations about food as a human right. Its analysis shows the need to go beyond a health or nutrition school food program and consider integrative food pedagogies which will promote social and environmental food justice in the school food environment.


Also Check out some of our latest posts:

Impact of COVID-19 on Hawker Culture in Singapore by Lynne Chia: https://feedingcity.org/2020/11/23/impact-of-covid-19-on-hawker-culture-in-singapore-by-lynne-chia/

Organization Highlight: Seva Food Bank “This Diwali: Let’s share our light with others and help feed those who need it!” By Yusra Khalid: https://feedingcity.org/2020/11/15/organization-highlight-seva-food-bank-this-diwali-lets-share-our-light-with-others-and-help-feed-those-who-need-it-by-yusra-khalid/

ONLINE EVENT – Feeding the City, Pandemic and Beyond: Women Farmers on COVID-19 and Food Sovereignty: https://feedingcity.org/2020/11/17/online-event-feeding-the-city-pandemic-and-beyond-women-farmers-on-covid-19-and-food-sovereignty/

“Article” Highlight: Love Letter to Scarborough

Scarborough is not only home to the Feeding the City project (via the University of Toronto Scarborough), but it is also home to a wide range of incredible restaurants. In this podcast episode, Radiyah Chowdhury discusses Scarborough’s food scene, its history, and its tentative future that is precarious as a result of both the pandemic and longer-term challenges such as gentrification. Featured in this episode is our own Project Lead, Dr. Jayeeta Sharma. Here is the full description from the Frequency Podcast Network:

“No matter where you’re from, there’s probably a restaurant or a dish that reminds you of home. It’s the best food in the world to you because it makes you feel something: that cozy sense of belonging that’s hard to find these days. In this episode, producer Radiyah Chowdhury introduces us to her home in Scarborough, ON. Come explore the food scene in this oft-underestimated area of Toronto, where the cuisine represents a long and tangled history of colonialism, immigration, and the search for home. This is Radiyah’s paradigm.”


Impact of COVID-19 on Hawker Culture in Singapore by Lynne Chia

by Lynne Chia (Feeding City Team Alumni)

On November 17, 2020, Singaporeans celebrated the news that local hawker food culture was one step closer to being inscribed on UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list.i This year, however,  has not been easy for this treasured facet of Singaporean society. Hawker food refers to cheap and delicious local foods sold at open-air centres across Singapore.

It has a rich history that spans across a century of complex developments between a country and its people. Singapore’s status as a port-city in the twentieth century brought about an influx of immigration mainly from China (southern provinces of Fujian and Guangdong), India (Tamil Nadu) and the Malay Archipelago, to work and live in the ports, mines, plantations and emergent villages and towns.ii 

Quick and affordable meal options became a necessity for the average immigrant worker. This gave rise to street hawkers who took up food trades to earn a livelihood. They set up makeshift stalls along roads and places around the growing urban areas of Singapore. Over time, this hawker food culture developed a unique identity of its own; informed by a multi-cultural palette of flavours and heritage, and became tied intrinsically to the lives of ordinary Singaporeans till this day.  

The unprecedented consequences of COVID-19 have left a significant mark on hawker culture in Singapore. Over the past decade, hawkers have been struggling with rising prices of fresh produce and stall rental costs. The outbreak of COVID-19 has only served to place more intense pressure on the Singaporean hawker trade. The introduction of the government-coined “circuit-breaker” measures on 7th April 2020 was Singapore’s cordon sanitaire implemented due to the burgeoning COVID-19 cases from clusters at foreign worker dormitories.

With these measures in place, hawker centres, traditionally the centre of community life for many, became off-limits except for takeaways and deliveries. The familiar lunch-time office crowds and late-night supper groups were reduced to a trickle in most places, as residents were strongly urged to stay home–barring exercise and shopping for essential items.

A group of people standing in front of a restaurant

Description automatically generated 

(A typical lunchtime crowd at the popular Maxwell Hawker Food Centre in Singapore, before COVID-19. Picture by The Straits Times.) 

A picture containing indoor, building, table, ceiling

Description automatically generated

(A completely empty Maxwell Food Centre at peak lunch hour, pictured on 13th April, shortly after the commencement of the circuit breaker which banned dine-ins. The few seated individuals are stall owners, not patrons. Picture courtesy of Lynne’s father, Allan.) 


Description automatically generated

(A sign plastered to a table at the Redhill Hawker Food Centre. Picture by: Daniel Lee) 

Subsequently, many businesses reported severe drops in stall revenue, with some earning only a third of what they used to make a day. Even with government subsidies put in place, such as stall rental waivers awarded to around 14,000 hawker stalls for the months of April-July, high running costs of cleaning, utilities and food ingredients weighed heavily on hawkers’ minds.iii 

This period has also seen an increase in excess food wastage, with many hawkers being unable to sell what they have prepared and cooked for the day, and by sanitation laws, are required to dispose of their unsold food. In an interview with the Today Newspaper, Mr Lee Kim Saik, 58, owner of Hong Wan Food Stall that sells rice with dishes at the Hong Lim Food Centre, shared the costs that go into running a hawker business. Apart from stall rental fees, which is estimated to be about S$1,200 (CAD$1164) a month, Mr Lee pays another S$1,300 (CAD$1260) on gas, utilities and miscellaneous fees.iv 

On top of the current strain that COVID-19 has placed on the hawker food ecosystem, maintaining food security and regulating the affordability of food imports continuously pose a great challenge to Singapore. According to Lionel Chee, Singapore’s Ambassador to the World Food Travel Association, the price of ingredients available to hawkers has risen by as much as 20 to 30 percent since 2008.v A small bag of red onions that used to cost 3.80 Singapore dollars (CAD$3.69) now costs between 6 Singapore dollars and 7 Singapore dollars (CAD$5.82 – CAD$6.79), caused in part by India’s ban on red onion exports, while a tray of 30 AA grade eggs has gone from 5 Singapore dollars (CAD$4.85) to as much as 10 Singapore dollars (CAD$9.71). vi 

Rising food costs in the midst of the pandemic, have made disruptions to Singapore’s food supply even more complicated, since restrictive measures have affected the labour needed for agricultural processes, shipping and packaging, which disrupts the supply chain.vii Despite active government intervention to alleviate these problems, such concerns directly impact the longevity of hawker businesses in Singapore and for hawkers such as Mr Lee Kim Saik, the prospects for the unforeseeable future appear bleak.   

A group of people sitting at a table

Description automatically generated

(Social distancing measures cordoning off seating areas in a heartland hawker centre.  Picture by: Lynne) 

The role of hawker centres are an integral component of the Singaporean foodscape, facilitating social exchanges and community-bonding for Singaporeans. However, what lies ahead for the future of hawker food culture? Currently, hawker centres managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) feature a new seating arrangement, with seats and tables marked out for dining groups of different sizes, as Singapore entered Phase 2 of its reopening after the COVID-19 “circuit breaker” in late-June. viii 

Under the new measures implemented by the government, social gatherings both indoors and outdoors are limited to no more than five people at any time. People are also expected to keep face-coverings on at all times, while seated at hawker centres, until the moment they begin their meal.ix This is often monitored by NEA enforcement officers, who will first give warnings and subsequently issue fines if faced with non-compliance.  

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated

(A screenshot of various tweets by Singaporeans about hawker centres affected by COVID-19 measures.) 

The experience of dining at a hawker centre, has dramatically transformed. On various social media platforms, throughout the “circuit breaker” period, Singaporean users have expressed disappointment at the inability to—not just eat hawker food—but to be able to physically have meals, and conversations with friends and family at hawker centres (Figure 4.) One Twitter user even stated “I miss going to kopitiam (hawker food shop)… I think if I use coffee shop/cafe, the vibe is not the same as kopitiam. [L]ocal coffee shops have their own unique vibe that I missed so much.”x 

This sentiment echoes across the board, with many wondering if COVID-19 will permanently change the way hawker food culture exists in Singapore.  


Benner, Tom. “Coronavirus Eats into Singapore’s Already Struggling Hawker Trade.” Al Jazeera, May 5, 2020. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/coronavirus-eats-singapores-struggling-hawker-trade-200504090429208.html

Jiminchun. Twitter Post. June 1, 2020, 8.57am. Accessed from: https://twitter.com/jiminchum/status/1267259053106839553  

Loke, Lena, and Nabilah Awang. “’We’d Try to Endure’: Hawkers See Businesses Plunge By Up To 50% Due to Covid-19 Oubreak.” Today. February 22, 2020. https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/wed-try-endure-hawkers-see-business-plunge-50-due-covid-19-outbreak

Singapore Consumer Price Index 2019. Department of Statistics Singapore. (2019). https://www.singstat.gov.sg/-/media/files/news/cpimar2019.pdf.  

Tan, Audrey. “Safeguarding Singapore’s Food Security at the National and Household Levels during Coronavirus Pandemic,” The Straits Times, April 8, 2020, https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/environment/safeguarding-food-security-at-the-national-and-households-levels

Tan, Cheryl. “Additional Two Months of Rental Waivers for Stallholders at NEA-Managed Hawker Centres.” The Straits Times, May 30, 2020. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/additional-two-months-of-rental-waivers-for-stallholders-at-nea-managed-hawker-centres.  

Tan, Sue-Ann. “Seating Arrangements at Hawker Centres to Change to Align with Phase 2 Dine-in Measures.” The Straits Times, June 16, 2020. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/environment/seating-arrangements-at-hawker-centres-to-change-to-align-with-phase-2-dine-in

Turnbull, C. M. A History of Modern Singapore 1819-2005 (Singapore: NUS Press, 2020). 

Yong, Clement. “Global panel recommends Singapore’s hawker culture be added to Unesco list.” The Straits Times (Singapore), November 17, 2020. Accessed November 17, 2020. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/global-panel-recommends-singapores-hawker-culture-to-be-added-to-unesco-list?utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=STFB&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR108FURxJQr4JIbZn0hfGpCSmsEmUqA9VvOV4k-dSRXNGBi9ufb68h50DA#Echobox=1605580867  

Media Highlight: Toronto-wide Socially Distanced Food Drive: December 5

On December 5ᵗʰ at 10am, residents of Toronto are invited to leave a non-perishable food item on their doorstep (clearly marked for Toronto Miracle). They will first need to register (takes 20 seconds) at: https://www.torontomiracle.org/donate.

Volunteers will collect these donations from those addresses and redistribute to those in need in the community. Its goal is to collect 250,000 non-perishable food items in one day.

The goal is to bring together all 140 Toronto neighbourhoods to raise 250,000 non-perishable food items in one day. Toronto Miracle was inspired bysimilar events held in Windsor, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec. Between 10:00am and 4:00pm, volunteers will be collecting non-perishable food items left on doorsteps. 


Media Highlight: Community Gardening during the Pandemic

For Maryama Ahmed, being a community gardener is more than just having access to fresh produce.


Stay posted for our forthcoming blogposts on Black Creek Community Farm and the Culinaria-Feeding City webinar with Indigenous and Black food sovereignty voices.

Also from our blog:



ONLINE EVENT – Feeding the City, Pandemic and Beyond: Women Farmers on COVID-19 and Food Sovereignty

Wed. Dec. 9, 2020 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EST (UTC -5:00) | REGISTRATION REQUIRED via EventBrite 

How have farmers responded to unprecedented challenges and opportunities throughout the pandemic? How has COVID-19 highlighted long-term changes that are needed in agriculture and food distribution in Canada? Join us for an interactive roundtable featuring three women ecological farmers: 

Sarah Bakker – Sarah is a livestock farmer and co-owner of Field Sparrow Farms, located near Bobcaygeon, Ontario. They deliver pasture-raised meats to the local community of Kawartha Lakes and to Toronto. Sarah is also the General Manager of the National Farmers Union—Ontario, an organization at the forefront of local struggles for food system change. 

Liz Beesley – Liz is the co-owner of Joyfully Organic Farm, which offers organic vegetables to communities in the Greater Toronto Area through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and through farmers markets. She and her partner have overcome the significant challenges that young farmers face, such as land access, in order to grow a successful business.  

Jenn Pfenning – Jenn is the co-owner of Pfenning’s Organic Farm, a company that grows, packs, and distributes organic produce from their farm near Waterloo, Ontario. Jenn has been a vocal advocate for the rights of migrant agricultural workers, as workers in this program have contributed significantly to the labour that her family performs on their farm.  

Jointly moderated by: Jayeeta (Jo) Sharma, Associate Professor of History and Food Studies at the Culinaria Research Centre of the University of Toronto, and Project Lead for Feeding the City; Sarah Elton, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Ryerson University and the award-winning author of several popular books on food systems; and Bryan Dale, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies, University of Toronto Scarborough and Project Manager for Feeding the City.

Supported by the Culinaria Research Centre, University of Toronto Scarborough. 

www.FeedingCity.org | Register here

Article Highlight: No Papers, No Jobs: The New Street Vendors of Queens by New York Times

The New York Times has released a powerful piece recording the lives of undocumented immigrants of Queens, New York, who have turned to street vending to make ends meet in the midst of uncertainty exacerbated by COVID-19. The piece demonstrates the struggles street vendors face as well as the resiliency and ingenuity they have relied on to make it through hard times.

Read the piece here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/11/15/nyregion/nyc-street-vendors-undocumented-immigrants-covid.html

Similar article by Feeding The City : Organization Highlight: The Street Vendor Project by Hannah Klemmensen

Organization Highlight: Seva Food Bank “This Diwali: Let’s share our light with others and help feed those who need it!” By Yusra Khalid

Author: Yusra Khalid, RA, Feeding City Project, 15 November 2020.

Seva Food Bank, a Canadian South Asian community non-profit organization working toward food security in Canada.

This Diwali: Let’s share our light with others and help feed those who need it!

Diwali is a very special time for South Asian families, in Canada, and beyond. The festival gets its name from the row of clay lamps that they light outside their homes to signify triumph of good over evil. Over the many other festivals and holidays that occurred over 2020, people from different sects and religions expressed their unity in celebrations by making generous donations to community organizations helping toward food security for vulnerable groups, especially with culturally appropriate and nutritious foods. One such organizations is Seva Food Bank. Each month, it provides approximately 40,000 pounds of food and a variety of support services to more than 600 families. 

Fig.1: Source Link

During April 2020, Rasheeda Qureshi, Executive Director at Seva Food Bank, made active efforts and encouraged communities during the Baisakhi festival to make generous donations to fight food insecurity. According to her, for Baisakhi, the organization “posted online, on social media the most highly needed items in the food banks so that people would know what exactly was needed… also, we conducted a food drive…there was a lot of generous individuals giving food… people would drive and drop off the food.”They hope that people will do the same during Diwali, as the need has only increased. Diwali, like all celebrations, is being conducted differently this year. Seva Food Bank calls on people to make this Diwali one where they can change the lives of vulnerable communities with gifts to help feel them!

https://www.sevafoodbank.com: has more information on Seva Food Bank and how Canadians can help.