A Snapshot History of Black Residents and Food at East Scarborough Storefront

By Desrene Cole with contributions from Siona Koker & Sarah Luca

In the previous post in our Black History Month social media campaign, we reflected on who the major players of KGO, and the Connected Community ecosystem are, especially the Resident Leaders and Storefront community members we support, and we know that  Community Builders play a major role in connecting communities. The East Scarborough Storefront is committed to ensuring that the people who live, work and play in East Scarborough are supported to achieve their aspirations. Connected communities thrive when power in decision-making spaces is shared with community builders. It’s important for resident leaders to work on initiatives that are important to them and reflect their priorities, so that they are part of thriving community ecosystems and see themselves, their needs and each other reflected in their communities. The evolution of P3 is an example of this process at work. 

The Planting, Preparing and Preserving group, also known as P3, is a resident-led collective of local seniors who have been working collaboratively with the East Scarborough Storefront since 2015. This program was the brainchild of Mrs. Carol Armstrong, who wanted to form a resident group to help plan community involvement activities, and the legacy of her vision has been continued and upheld by local Black Resident leaders. 

Food has the ability to bring people together and this  is especially true in the Kingston-Galloway-Orton Park (KGO) neighborhood where it has helped the community to celebrate different cultures, share school supplies, promote youth leaders, and much much more. At the same time, securing and accessing food has also been a well known challenge. The purpose of P3 is to teach and share new skills such as baking, preserving, pickling, gardening and to demonstrate how these skills can have an impact on poverty reduction and food access. The group’s vision isto “help community members respect one another, build self-esteem and therefore live with dignity and purpose”.

Over the years, the program has evolved, and leadership transferred to George Baptise with the support of other local Black residents.Together, they have achieved so much for the community, including:

  •  Increasing resident program attendance
  • Teaching residents how to cook and bake
  • Hosting intergenerational cooking classes
  • and Volunteering to support providing meals for various events at the Storefront. 

What’s even more notable, is knowing the  P3 group has accomplished all of these things with minimal to no direct funding. We cannot help but wonder about the possibilities that could arise from directly and intentionally funding Black Community Builders. On the path to food sovereignty and sustainability in KGO, it is essential that we support the resident leaders on the ground who have been doing the work and have continued to support each other, and their communities all along.

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