How have communities mobilized to bring emergency food relief to diverse neighborhoods in the city suburbs? What programmes have they developed to make nutritious and culturally appropriate food available to local residents in need? How has the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted systemic barriers to food access and equity? Join us for an interactive roundtable from Toronto to learn about food insecurity and emergency food distribution, from food banks, buses and baskets to online cooking demos and more.

Melanie Blackman is Community Development Coordinator at the University of Toronto Scarborough. UTSC jointly led C.A.R.E.S., Collective Action and Response for Everyone in Scarborough, to provide emergency food and hygiene kits to partner organizations in local high priority neighbourhoods.

Zaid Mirza is a National Manager of the National Zakat Foundation (NZF), which tackles local poverty in Canada by providing emergency and short-term relief to vulnerable people. In addition to Halal food assistance programs, NZF provides housing support and debt management assistance. The Mississauga-based Foundation is a member of the Canadian Muslim Response Network and through this initiative has partnered with dozens of organizations to widely distribute essential food and hygiene kits.

Suman Roy is Founder of Feed Scarborough. The volunteer-based Scarborough Food Security Initiative leads various initiatives to distribute food to more than 3,000 neighbours every week. It operates multiple food banks and an emergency food bus, and will soon open a local hospitality and culinary training centre.

Vijay Saravanamuthu is Health Promoter, Community Capacity & Stakeholder Engagement, at TAIBU Community Health Centre, a Scarborough-based community organization that broadly supports Black communities across Toronto. In its pandemic food response, TAIBU has developed online nutritional education and partnered with local organizations to distribute emergency food baskets, ensuring access to staples and fresh produce that are central to diverse African and South Asian cuisines.

Organized by Culinaria Research Centre Postdoctoral Fellows Jaclyn Rohel and Bryan Dale; and Jayeeta (Jo) Sharma, Associate Professor of History and Food Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Supported by the Culinaria Research Centre and Community Partnerships & Engagement, University of Toronto Scarborough.