Wolfville community oven serves up meals with side of neighbourly connection

·2 min read
The Front Street Community Oven is situated in a small park at the corner of Front Street and Elm Avenue in Wolfville. (Victoria Welland/CBC - image credit)
The Front Street Community Oven is situated in a small park at the corner of Front Street and Elm Avenue in Wolfville. (Victoria Welland/CBC - image credit)

A community oven project in Wolfville, N.S., is cooking up food and helping townspeople connect with their neighbours.

The Front Street Community Oven was founded in 2019 by Duncan Ebata. Growing up around an Italian family meant Ebata knew the power food had to unite people.

"People just love being outside and cooking together," Ebata said. "Food brings up a lot of memories of love and connection."

The organization hosts a cookout every Thursday, but also does special events for different cultural groups.

The oven can be used as a pizza oven, but also can work like a tandoor and other types of high-heat appliances used in international cuisine.

Victoria Welland/CBC
Victoria Welland/CBC

Ebata said he loves seeing people's faces light up as they watch their food in the oven.

"There's this moment when people get here and they start putting their hands in the dough or chopping vegetables and their whole body language changes," Ebata said.

"They relax, they ease into it, they start to laugh, make jokes. Yeah, those are really special moments for me."

On Sunday, the organization hosted a pizza lunch for newcomers to the Valley community. Over 40 people attended to make their own pizza and watch it cook in the large stone oven.

Victoria Eyoma attended with her family. They arrived in Wolfville three weeks ago from Nigeria.

Eyoma is enrolled at Acadia University for the fall to begin her bachelor of education.

"The people have been really warm and nice, so it was easy to fit in," Eyoma said.

Victoria Welland/CBC
Victoria Welland/CBC

Kelvin Chan also attended. He came to Wolfville four years ago as an international student at Acadia.

He said it was difficult to meet new people when he arrived.

"When we first come over here, you might not know people, you might feel shy and you might be more introverted in a way. But these events kind of help bring us out to the open," Chan said.

Ebata said he also started the project to address food insecurity. He hopes to reach even more people with the project in the future.

"For me, it's an expression of love to share something from a culture or my family or just something I created with my community and friends," he said.

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