We’re nearing the end of #12DaysofYEG – where, for twelve days, we’ve been sharing ideas to bring some local goodness into this season while still keeping ourselves and one another safe. Topics range from using your voice or your dollars to support local shops, services, restaurants & breweries, to discussions about sustainability throughout the holidays, to finding ways to donate what you have (be it money, time, energy) to support those most in need in our community.
Today we wanted to share more details about EdmontonEats, who generously donated the prize pack giveaway! Anyone who participates by sharing what they are doing to support local goodness this holiday season using our hashtag #12DaysOfYEG on social media will be entered to win. The contest closes December 21, on the Winter Solstice, at 11:59 pm.
EdmontonEats connects people through the celebration of food, culture and community while providing economic and social capital opportunities for Edmonton’s immigrant and refugee communities. Cultural Hosts from Libya, Bangladesh and Syria have created culinary delights – recipe kits to experience their specialty dishes in the comfort of your home. The holiday kits also include a selection of lovely artisan gifts.
We interviewed founder Maureen Murphy-Black, who began operating EdmontonEats in October of 2019, and asked her to share a little more about herself and how she got the idea for EdmontonEats:
A few years ago, I became part of Communities United, a collective of individuals and organization committed to ending poverty in five North East Edmonton neighbourhoods. I met lots of new neighbours, developed friendships and learned things I did not know about my community and the people who live in it. The paths that individuals from around the world have taken to our home of Edmonton are amazing, and the strength and resilience of people is inspiring. Having the opportunity to share cultural rituals, food and hopes for the future has deepened my understanding of the joy and complexity of becoming part of a new country.
Combining my interests in learning about new cultures, hearing people’s stories, building welcoming communities, and with the enthusiastic support of a group of neighbours, friends, businesses and service providers, EdmontonEats emerged. I wanted to be part of a world that celebrates people’s gifts and welcomes people of all cultures to learn about each other and be part of each other’s lives and communities.
Could you tell us more about the main purpose of the business, and who else is involved?
EdmontonEats is about sharing gifts, cultural diversity, building community, addressing poverty, and having fun. I invite you to meet our team by visiting our website. We have cultural hosts who share their family recipes and traditions. We have entrepreneurs who contribute their products and talents to help food events be a success. There are community members who volunteer and assist with the organization. There are leaders in business, human services, education and social enterprise who lead and advise EdmontonEats.
Where do you see this business going? What are some goals you have for the next few years?
My hope for EdmontonEats is that it will become a self-sustaining social enterprise that will provide a platform to develop an understanding of the cultural diversity of Edmonton, to share food and cultural experiences, and to create a unique revenue stream for families who have arrived in Edmonton as immigrants and refugees.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
EdmontonEats was created on a face-to-face model. We had planned and sold tickets to guests for our Flavours of Somalia event being held at NAIT’s Ernest’s dining room scheduled for March 21, 2020. This was postponed 1 week before the event.
If EdmontonEat’s was going to survive we needed to develop a new business model. So far we turned the Flavours of Somalia into a home delivery event, created videos and stories to get the voice of the Cultural Hosts shared, partnered with several newcomer and immigrant businesses to support events, and started to focus on home cooking through recipe kits and zoom classes. Stay tuned!
If our readers like what you do (and they will!) what can they do to help support you?
We would love people to become guests of EdmontonEats by participating in events we will be hosting in the next year. Meet some of the Cultural Hosts involved with creating the food and sharing their culture, learn a little about their country and journey to Canada. Come on the adventure with us and enjoy the tastes and aromas of new and loved food.
Also, at this time we have 2 Celebration Boxes and 6 Recipe Kit Boxes available for sale. That would put us in a sold out status – a mini dream come true for our cultural hosts!
Please tell us all about the Holiday boxes – Especially the celebration box, specifically, as that will be our giveaway prize!
The stars of the Holiday Cultural Boxes include recipes and recipe kits with specialty items and unique spice blends so you can create at home:
- Afaf’s Imbakbak Chicken with Pasta Libyan style.
- Entessar’s Falafels and Doona’s Semolina Cake with a Syrian flare
- Maria’s Bengali Chicken Curry all the way from Bangladesh.
The Celebration Box is full of goodness. It has all the tasty treats that have been developed by hosts using recipes from their mothers and grandmothers. The recipes have been documented and tested by the cultural hosts with the professional assistance of Chef Cindy Lazarenko. Items from local partners have been carefully selected to provide an added twist with tastes from Egypt, Syria, Somalia and a local specialty from Culina To Go. Also included are non-edible items: a paper bowl from Sri Lanka artisans, greeting cards featuring the photography of Miguel Mayorquin from Colombia, and a beautiful candle votive from Pottery by Sabine.
Thank you for taking the time to share with us. One last question – What is something you love about Edmonton, and a way that you see local goodness being spread in this city?
Edmonton has so many things to love. I love that communities join together to create welcoming places for neighbours as is evidenced in the emergence of Abundant Community strategies in many of our neighbourhoods. I love the multicultural nature of our communities and how we can travel the world over a cup of tea and a tasty treat. I love the river and ribbon of green that weaves through our City, it keeps me physically strong and mentally healthy. I love the vibrant local “foodie” community that supports each other in their endeavours. Most of all, I love that people support innovation and step up to support ideas and business that make Edmonton a unique and fun city to live in.
(A big shout out to the Dragon Boat Community in Edmonton, love you all!)
Remember, today is the last day to participate in #12DaysOfYEG and be entered to win a Celebration Box from EdmontonEats, but we encourage you to check them out and purchase one of their holiday boxes or recipe kits any time!