Connect with your community through a love of food

Everyone loves friendly and welcoming communities. And there are many benefits of living in a connected neighbourhood ( like feeling safe and providing a good environment for children. But a recent survey from Whirlpool Canada shows that only a third of us actually feel connected to the people closest to us — our neighbours.

For those looking to establish a closer connection, sharing a meal is a great way to get to know one another. Whether you are new to your neighbourhood or have been living in the same community for years, food sharing and meal preparation are fun ways to help you connect with those around you. Food and lifestyle expert Pay Chen has helpful tips on how meal prep can bring you closer together. 

Share something that you enjoy making. If you know somebody is new to your neighbourhood, or new to Canada, make and share something that reflects you or your background. Sharing new foods is a great way to get to know someone as you can bond over the ingredients, cooking techniques or the preparation of the meal.  

Spread the bounty by offering extras. Summer and fall are great times to grow fresh vegetables or herbs in your garden, or buy in abundance from local farmers' markets. Often these hauls of leafy greens or fresh tomatoes are more than you need in a week, so why not offer this farm-fresh produce to a neighbour?

Try new ingredients. Being exposed to a different culture's cooking techniques gives us the opportunity to try many new foods and flavours. Accompanying a neighbour to their favourite local store or inviting them to join you on your weekly trips is an easy way to learn about new ingredients to try. You can even ask someone to teach you how to use them while they prepare a meal in their own home.

Whether it's a neighbourhood barbecue at a local park or a potluck get-together, enjoying these moments together will help grow and develop a strong, connected community.