Community Partner:

Carnegie Community Centre

Carnegie Community Centre – often referred to as the living room of the Downtown Eastside – provides social, educational, cultural and recreational activities on-site, at nearby Oppenheimer Park and through an outreach team. Carnegie’s Outreach team works with the staff of several local Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels to program classes designed to get residents cooking and eating together, sharing healthy meals, and building community to fight social isolation. Through 6 years of on-the-ground experience, the Carnegie team identified a trend in user groups: there seem to always be 2-3 champions of each community kitchen, who are dedicated to learning and teaching new skills.

This project inquired as to whether there was untapped potential for food start-ups in the DTES by piloting a cooking collective designed by and for residents of SRO hotels.

Three months into the Connected Kitchens projects, all the partners were disappointed with what had been accomplished. We hadn’t been able to pin down a core team of DTES residents that would help lead the project, and we hadn’t started using community kitchens to produce some food to sell. When we couldn’t find traction or community buy-in, we trusted ourselves enough to take a step back and reexamine our commitments and priorities. After careful discussion, the Carnegie team and LEDlab decided not to continue continue with the Connected Kitchens project for a second semester.

Read our blog on closing the Connected Kitchens project.