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Immigrants & Refugees – Connecting Our Newest Arrivals with Good Food

Updated: Feb 9, 2021

Loving Spoonful connects people with good food across the Kingston region. Working toward a healthier, more connected community, Loving Spoonful provides programs and champions policies affecting food security, poverty, social inclusion, and community health. 

Immigrants and refugees are welcomed and involved in Loving Spoonful’s Community Kitchens, immigrant students participate in the GROW Project, and all are invited to use our Fresh Food Market stands.

People from all walks of life come together in Community Kitchens programs. They learn and share cooking skills, socialize, and build community around food. Immigrant families have loved Loving Spoonful’s Cross-Cultural Cooking and Cooking with Families. “We had the opportunity to spend time with people from various cultural backgrounds, which was good for community building,” said one participant. People learn food skills to build their resume; some attend culinary school after developing a love of food and cooking in our programs.

Over 600 students in Loving Spoonful’s GROW Project elementary schools learn about good food, community and collaboration. Hands-on workshops in the classroom and in the garden teach students about food systems, social justice and food security, food and culture, healthy gardens, and cooking. Students try new foods, work together and take leadership on projects in a way that is new for many of them. A teacher remarked, “I appreciate the interactions of students teaching each other and working as a team”.

Immigrant students share their knowledge of food with classmates and their parents are frequent volunteers in the GROW Project. Their participation breaks down stereotypes and enlivens discussions. A student recently shared with the class how her family celebrates the Moon Festival by eating delicious moon cakes, while another shared what her family likes to do for Diwali. As one student said recently, “Gardens help bring people together”.

Our Fresh Food Market Stands make fresh food available to all. The stands are located where the need is greatest – local service agencies and social assisted housing – and are filled regularly with fresh produce. Anyone, including many immigrants, who needs the fresh food is welcome to take it. At the market stand at KEYS, a comment was shared, “I like the way you treat us as a community”. Many people report that the stands are a dignified way of accessing fresh food to share with their families and neighbours.

Connecting people with good food is key to building an inclusive community.


Mara Shaw is Executive Director of Loving Spoonful.


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