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  • Writer's pictureOlive Tree

The Center for Great Neighborhoods works to create diverse community through food and culture

Reposted from Northern Kentucky Tribune, Dec. 5, 2019

Baked Kibbeh from a Syrian Refugee, Paella cooked over fire by a Venezuelan chef, and Applestack Cake from local baker known for her Appalachian Heritage desserts.

These are just a few of the dishes brought to Covington over the past two years through the Center for Great Neighborhoods FreshLo Chef Fellowship program.

The FreshLo Chef Fellowship grew out of the local community’s desire for access to affordable, healthy, culturally-diverse food options. This program creates opportunities for those with barriers to starting a food business and gives them access to their dream through education, connections, and support.

The program is unique in the region, providing a hand up and a push forward for those struggling to take the first step towards turning their idea into an actual, sustainable food business.

In addition to their delicious food, each of the chef fellows has a unique story to share.

Ibtisam Masto, a refugee from Syria, had know-how and passion but was heldback due to language and a lack of connections and knowledge of how to navigate a new system of regulations and business.

The Fellowship gave her an understanding of the local food system, introduced her to mentors and opportunities, assisted her in gaining employment in a supportive food business environment, and gave her direct support to start her own company, Olive Tree Catering. The program gave her the guidance and knowledge to achieve her dream of providing for her family while becoming a thriving member of her new community.

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