Our mission is to foster integration between refugees and host communities through sharing cultural foods. We hope to create a resilient community in Augusta, built around a vibrant food market, which demonstrates a scalable model that we can apply in other Maine towns. We believe that with the right integration model, refugees and immigrants arriving in Maine can improve their livelihoods, benefit local economies, and reverse decades of demographic decline.
Our community-through-food concept is rooted in the idea that when people from different cultural backgrounds meet, food is a language that they all share. We seek to establish collaborative spaces where refugees and host communities can eat together, network, and build relationships. This initiative will begin with a pilot in Augusta. With a population of fewer than 20,000 residents, the Maine capital is exploring innovative ways to boost its economy by supporting the integration of approximately 1,000 refugees – primarily from Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan – into the fabric of the community.
World to Table, supported by the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University, is working with community members and organizations, and the government of Augusta, to research community needs and develop a unified vision for refugee integration and economic revitalization. The venue for our initiative, to be developed through a public-private partnership between the City of Augusta, World to Table, and other organizations yet to be identified, will include an area for communal dining as well as an information desk to provide convenient access to relevant social services.
Through sharing food, American communities can find mutual understanding, social and economic growth, and prosperity.