Liberty Bank Foundation grantee City Seed was up to something delicious yesterday. Refugees from Syria and Afghanistan participating in the organization’s Sanctuary Kitchen Catering program were preparing dishes from their home countries for sale at the New Haven Farmers Market. One bread spread featured roasted red peppers, tahini, olive oil, and walnuts. As far as combos go, it doesn’t get any better than that. The occasion for the visit was the presentation of a $5,000 grant check to keep the program running.
City Seed strives to reduce barriers to food entrepreneurship and increase job opportunities for immigrants, refugees, and people of color. Barriers to self-employment in the food business include: high cost of entry and lack of start-up capital; lack of accessible, shared-use commercial kitchen space in the New Haven area; lack of knowledge to navigate the complicated licensing and inspection process; lack of access to markets; and insufficient culinary training and experience.
Through City Seed’s Sanctuary Kitchen Catering refugee and immigrant chefs gain experience and professional development training. Currently, Sanctuary Kitchen Catering employs six chefs who receive assistance to develop a menu from their home country’s cuisine, set pricing, and find catering jobs.
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