Upcoming Webinar: A Place for Food in Public Spaces - Wisdom from community builders

Our July 3 webinar on placemaking through food features community builders, Jutta Mason (left) and Sabina Ali (right)

Thursday, July 3, 12-1pm EDT


One of the beliefs that underpin our work is that space matters. Through a diverse suite of food programs located in a multi-faceted hub, Community Food Centres work from a place-based approach and act as a much-needed free public place for low-income people to gather and connect. We believe that bringing diverse groups of people together in a shared, welcoming space leads to stronger and more resilient communities.

Placemaking is both an art and a science. In this webinar, we’ll explore different ways community-builders are using food programs like community gardens, markets, public suppers, and bake ovens to animate local parks, and we’ll highlight how the principles of placemaking can transform public spaces by highlighting local assets and serving common needs.

Join us for a conversation with several community placemaking leaders who are bringing their local parks to life through food. Jutta Mason has led the transformation of Toronto’s Dufferin Grove Park to a vibrant, community-supported park. Sabina Ali co-founded a Women’s Committee in her culturally diverse neighbourhood of Thorncliffe Park – a group that then went on to start a plein air South Asian bazaar and community Tandoor oven. Moderator Liz Curran, the Manager of the Regent Park Community Food Centre at CRC, is developing a suite of food programs to animate the newly re-developed Regent Park neighbourhood, including gardens, a greenhouse, and bake ovens.

When: Thursday, July 3, 12-1pm EDT

Where: Your computer

How much: Free!


Who our webinars are geared towards: CFCC’s webinars are conversational in nature, and are not intended to be a definitive resources on the topics covered. This webinar will provide a great overview of the work happening on the ground in several public city parks, while referencing the wider placemaking movement and best practices from other communities.

Can't Attend? As with all our webinars, this one will be posted to The Pod Knowledge Exchange along with a host of downloadable resources a week or so after the event. Become a member of The Pod to stay in the loop about this webinar and others yet to come.


About the Panelists:

Jutta Mason has been leading a transformation at Toronto’s Dufferin Grove Park since 1993. Initially interested in how to build community in a large, multi-cultural city, public spaces seemed like a good place to start. Since then, Jutta created the Centre for Local Research into Public Spaces (CELOS) – a small charity that grew out of the park and their experiences with public spaces across Toronto. Through CELOS, a partnership with the City, and community support, Dufferin Grove now hosts an array of programming, much of which revolves around food, including camp fires, two outdoor bake ovens, a community garden, a farmers’ market, and community suppers.

Sabina Ali has been nothing short of a change maker in her Toronto neighbourhood. Originally from India, Sabina came to Canada in 2008 and settled in Thorncliffe Park, an area known for its apartment towers and a concentration of new immigrants, predominantly from South Asia. Envisioning a more vibrant public space for families to enjoy, Sabina co-founded the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee which went on to start a community vegetable garden, fundraise for and import a traditional tandoor bake oven, and launch a weekly South Asian-style food and clothing market in Thorncliffe’s R.V. Burgess Park – the latter which has been a launching pad for several budding food entrepreneurs. In 2013, R.V. Burgess Park and the Thorncliffe Women's Committee won the City of Parks Alliance Frontline Park Award – this was the first time a Canadian park has been selected. Honouring her inspirational work transforming public space in her community, Sabina was awarded the 2014 Jane Jacobs Prize.   

Liz Curran is the Manager of the Regent Park Community Food Centre. Culturally diverse and historically low-income, the neighbourhood is currently undergoing a City-led revitalization project that includes mixed-income housing developments and more community infrastructure. Within the Regent Park neighbourhood, a large swathe of green space of the same name is in the process of getting community gardens, a bake oven, and a greenhouse installed which will all be managed by the Community Food Centre, enabling Liz and her staff to spearhead programs and engage the community with the support of the City. She’s excited to explore how such a partnership can enable the Community Food Centre to extend its food and place making activities beyond its walls and engage the community more fully in the process.


Photo credits: Jutta Mason (left panel) by Laura Berman; Sabina Ali (right panel) by Chloe Ellingson