Dionne is a Caribbean Canadian ‘farm girl stuck in a city girl’s body’ using her writing and events to connect Toronto residents back to the land. Her unique dining events showcase Caribbean cuisine using local farm fresh ingredients and give guests a taste of incredible local flavours. We chatted with Dionne to learn more about her mission in food, check it out:
What is restorations farms?
Restoration Farms Group is a lifestyle brand restoring the love of farm fresh foods, a connection to land and culture through food & drink. We produce events, educate via digital media and connect our audience with the local agriculture of a region.
What inspired you to create this initiative?
I’ve been in the marketing + events industry for over 10 years and got certified in 2015. My passion to create new experiences started involving a strong focus on local food and showcasing where that food comes from. Restoration Farms is part of my calling to connect us back to the land and understanding unique culture through local food and drink.
What do you hope to achieve?
I hope to increase the support of local farmers and other food producers in Ontario and offer education to my audience about how they can use local ingredients to create world foods and local favourites. Through the events I hope to engage, educate and inspire the guests to shop local and get creative with their food offerings as a means of personal restoration.
How does your identity shape the way you approach urban farming?
For many years I have felt like a farm girl trapped in city girls’ body. My heritage is Caribbean and stories of picking mangoes straight from the tree have always been a part of my families’ history. Growing up in North Toronto as a 1st generation Canadian via Trinidad & Tobago, I straddled the line between my concrete jungle lifestyle and the stories of my family’s rural style past. I approach urban farming with the knowledge of how adapting farming practices to urban settings can benefit the community and us individually as we use it to better connect with the land, no matter where we are.
How can the Black Foodie readers apply the restoration farms principles to their routine?
Start each day with gratitude for things that provide a source of life and have conversations about their culture and heritage with regards to food + drink. Fall back in love with farm fresh ingredients, sustainable landscapes, non-processed foods and/or overly packaged goods. Learn how to grow some basic herbs and produce (eg. windowsill containers) so they can address their own food security and share food stories with their own families within the community.
Can you tell us more about Sunday lunch?
Sunday Lunch was inspired again by my heritage, since the term ‘sunday lunch’ refers to a specific meal time that families would typically eat together and connect over food. The Sunday Lunch guests will come together in an intimate affair to enjoy a 3 course meal, raffle draws, individual giveaways, music and specialty drinks. We are bringing back the art of conversation and will start and end on time (1pm-4pm). Guests can come dressed Summer stylish and will walk away having eaten a fantastic meal, learned some tips for gardening, food history, and a great time! Tickets are limited and can be found HERE for $59 Early bird and $79 Regular. Both men and women are encouraged to attend.
What’s next for Restoration Farms?
Restoration Farms is looking to feature and partner with local chefs in the area to highlight how they make creative meals using fresh ingredients. The blog will continue with a feature called ‘Grow. Cook. Eat’ that highlights how the reader can grow one of the main ingredients, get a chef’s favourite recipe to cook it and the specialty drinks that can be paired with the final meal. The Sunday Lunch event series will continue to bring these recipes to life and engage the guests in delicious food + drink.