Can a food market bring a fragmented community together?

“I was studying abroad in Argentina,” says Caroline Myers, Communications Coordinator for Marketshare. “My Spanish skills weren’t very strong and my host mother made a big dinner for me for my birthday. I was really homesick. I was turning 21. I didn’t have many friends.

“My host family had a house out in the country and they took me there and prepared the most delicious meal, an Argentine Asado (barbecue), for me. It was the best meal I had while I was there. The best part had to be the dulce de leche ice cream covered with bananas.

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What Makes a Good Host Anyway? Part 2

In Part 1 of What Makes a Good Host Anyway?, Carolyn and I laid out the broad strokes of event planning … but I’m never going to throw a gala (… god, I hope I’m never going to throw a gala) so how can I scale this down to the kind of event I find most challenging: A well-facilitated collaborative conversation?

Annie Swank of Drink Tank does this professionally, working at “the overlap between design thinking and dinner parties”.

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What makes a good host anyway? Part 1

In my dreams, I’m a brilliant host.

You can drop by my house and I’ll whip up something simple, yet perfect. I’ll clip something from my garden, pull a jar from my pantry and slip something out of the freezer and before you know it the airs smells buttery and I’m serving you a warm mug of tea or glass of chilled wine. And the whole time I’m comfortably chatting away with you about anything and everything.

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Michelle Eats World

So I guess it’s possible that you’re reading this blog but don’t have any idea who I am or what I’m doing this year… which is crazy because I feel like I must have told everyone on the planet by now.

Top Level: I’m spending the year studying how to build resilient communities (and as of late, that exploration has drifted into the food world, yay!) while designing my own education at Experience Institute (now accepting applications for 2016!)

More: If you want to know a little bit more about me and why I’m tiptoe-ing into the food world as I explore community, I wrote the following article for my program.

For almost 4 years, I lived in rural Southern Vermont.

There, I had the unexpected pleasures of being able to grow my own food and of having friends who owned small farms. It was easy to make my husband a plate of pasta and know that the tomatoes and basil were from my garden, that I’d made the cheese from milk from Laurie’s farm and that the eggs in the noodles were a gift from Ellen Stimson’s  chickens. I knew that the plate of food was made with love at every stage.

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Toronto’s The Dep: A hub for innovative food community

Think about the best meal you’ve ever had…

A meal where the chef was sharing a little piece of their spirit, culture and passion with you. Where you bit into something so amazing you insisted everyone else at the table had to taste and share that visceral experience. Where the hours flew by and conversation mingled with flavors and textures and laughter… These are the kinds of meals to be had at The Depanneur.

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Hassel Aviles on building a Food Community in Toronto

The other day I got to chat with Hassel Aviles. If you’re from Toronto you’ve probably heard of her… she was one of the masterminds behind the Toronto Underground Market – a social food market designed to create a platform for budding food entrepreneurs, chefs and home cooks to test new food ideas [closed now but you can see some of the work here] and a founder of La Carnita a restaurant that pairs street art with street food. Right now, she’s the Culinary Director at Feast – a new app that helps hook hungry people up with chef-made meals with local, organic ingredients and delivered in minutes. 

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Being a Generalist isn’t a Crime

A few weeks ago, I went to an after work design event. It was billed as an intro to design in my new city, but it quickly became clear that it was more of an advice for wet-behind-the-ears-designers kind of evening… but there were free snacks, it was cold outside, and I’d hauled my butt there – so I might was well sit still and wait for a useful tidbit or two.

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