In this episode from Voices from the Food Frontlines, the Feeding City Lab takes listeners on a tour of food and urban growing programs offered by the Toronto-based Centre for Immigrant and Community Services (CICS). In conversation with Serena Yuan, Brian Joyce, Director of Community Services, Facilities and Operations at CICS, discusses the organization’s experience during the Covid-19 pandemic. Brian explains how its programs and facilities evolved in response so that it could continue assisting newcomers and refugees. Through food banks, cooking workshops, a new greenhouse, a community collective of raised garden beds, a seed library, and a meal delivery service in partnership with a local cafe, CICS has helped facilitate community food initiatives in the service of well-being, social health, and connection. CICS’ kitchen and garden-based programs continue to grow. It is on track to grow more than 2500lbs of food this year alone, with a range of organic produce and culturally specific vegetables – from gai lan to bitter melon and fig trees – going towards their other programs, including their food bank. The episode concludes with a peek into the organization’s plans for the future and its continued efforts to work towards developing a sustainable model that could be shared with and adapted by other communities. This episode was recorded on June 16, 2023.
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