Creating social change via her community and culinary enterprise Flavours of Hope, Trixie Ling is removing barriers for newcomer immigrant and refugee women in fulfilling their dreams – to own food businesses that represent their cultures, with a feeling of belonging.
Based in Vancouver, Flavours of Hope currently has women food business owners from Burnaby, Vancouver and New Westminster enlisted in the Dream Cuisine program, and partners with Coho in their commissaries in East Vancouver to make their products availble across Metro Vancouver and beyond.
We sat down with Founder Trixie Ling to find out more.
By Avneet Takhar
Flavours of Hope focuses on helping women refugees and training them to succeed. Can you tell us more about how it began and what your set-up involves?
Flavours of Hope is a non-profit that envisions a society where newcomer refugee and immigrant women thrive through cooking, community-building, storytelling, and entrepreneurship.
Our mission is to support women to earn a livable income and build social connections in the community through cooking and sharing culinary traditions and stories. To this purpose, we develop opportunities for income-generation, and hold intercultural food events; for learning and relationship-building.
In March 2021, we created our food program Dream Cuisines in response to the pandemic. The set-up facilitates a cohort of newcomer women through a nine month food business and leadership program, providing access to mentorship, workshops, commissary kitchen space, farmers markets, and knowledge-sharing to propel women’s food businesses into the mainstream.
What an incredible initiative, Trixie! How can women who are interested in the Dream Cuisines program get started?
Since Dream Cuisines goes for nine months (February to October), we recruit a new cohort of newcomer women yearly. We hold some information sessions online, and share our program info through our digital channels.
We value relationships in our work, so strongly appreciate referrals of women who are interested in our program through connections from alumni, mentors and community partners (see here).
This year we’re excited to work with a cohort of five talented and passionate women chefs and bakers from Syria, Egypt, Mexico, Colombia and India!
Is there anything you can share about the amazing women who are part of this program, and how they’ve grown since joining?
When I think about the last two years of the Dream Cuisines program, I’m amazed by the individual transformation and collective impact of the five incredible immigrant and refugee women entrepreneurs through their personal growth, business development, and leadership in the community.
We share and count both the small and big successes, such as navigating through different systems, improving their English skills, public speaking, overcoming cultural barriers, and growing confident in their own abilities and power.
In your experience, how does diversity in food impact the tapestry of the industry here in the lower mainland?
By supporting and amplifying BIPOC-owned small food businesses, we are creating inclusive spaces and opportunities to share diverse food stories and celebrations in the community. Since we live in a multicultural community, it is important that culturally diverse foods are represented in the industry and the people. And that especially women of colour behind the businesses are seen, supported and celebrated.
Where can people purchase their products?
Are there any latest happenings at Flavours of Hope we should know about?
We are currently working with our new cohort of women to build their food businesses over the next few months and are excited to launch new food businesses in June! We would love to invite people in the community to come to our business launch celebration in the summer and visit us at the Vancouver Farmers Market!
People can sign up for our newsletter on our website and get news and updates.
And if you saw that jazzy Flavours of Hope tote bag and immediately fell in love like we did, email email@example.com to place an order (or two- you know for friends, family, a Bumble date, whatever!).