Food Notes for April 19, 2021

Making Edmonton Digital Helps Businesses Get Online

The pandemic has accelerated the need for businesses to create and maintain an engaging online presence. Making Edmonton Digital, a partnership between the University of Alberta, City of Edmonton, and Digital Main Street, is helping local businesses with this transition.

Funded by the City of Edmonton and Western Economic Diversification, this free program connects business owners with a consultant who can work with them for a maximum of 12 hours. Services could include learning how to update Google listings, creating websites or accounts on social media channels, and work on branding. The program will run until September, or when they reach a total of 630 businesses. So far, approximately 400 businesses have signed up.

According to Brett Eigner, Marketing Lead on the project, services are tailored to the business owner’s level of understanding. “We walk everyone through the steps carefully and cater [to] each individual and digital literacy level accordingly”, he said. “Whether we are showing them how to edit their webpage or how to use email, everyone gets the utmost respect, care, and attention.”

Of the businesses in the food and hospitality sector that have joined the program, include farmers’ market vendors such as Sunshine Organic, shops like Carol’s Quality Sweets, long-standing restaurants like Blue Willow, and newer establishments like Pine & Dine. Food-related businesses currently make up 67 of the program participants.

Businesses run by individuals or families who may not speak English as their first language, or represent marginalized barriers, often face additional barriers. “We have a range of languages spoken by our consultants,” said Eigner. “When we have had a language not spoken by our team we have arranged to get a translator to assist our work with the business owner.”

Eigner also shared that while they have done some targeted outreach, including with an Indigenous business association and Black-Owned Market, they are hoping to do more over the summer.

Eigner acknowledged that some additional support may be required beyond the 12 hours allotted. Their partner Digital Main Street can offer some extra training, but it is limited. Eigner said they are working through various ideas, but nothing is confirmed yet.

To sign up, businesses can go to the website for more information.

COVID-19-related News


Upcoming Events

  • We loved the Twilight Picnic Experience we were treated to at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden last year, so it’s great to see the idea has expanded to include a brunch option, too! This option is available between 10am-2pm from Thursday to Sundays starting in May. Prices are $60 per adult (and $35 for children) and include an individual box, non-alcoholic beverage, and admission to the Garden.

Local News

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • The newest episode of The Well Endowed Podcast features an interview with beekeeper and gardener extraordinaire Dustin Bajer.
  • Also on the topic of bees, the Alberta Beekeepers Commission is warning that bee import delays could impact production of honey and canola this year.

What I Ate

  • PSA: just one week left to check out Downtown Dining Week deals, as the event only runs until April 25, 2021. 48 restaurants are offering multi-course meals for $20, $35, $50, and $65. Last week, we were gifted dinner from Sofra – the Kusleme Kebab (lamb medallions) were a perfect medium rare, and the bulgur pilaf was pakced with flavour (and a bit of heat!). Emily loved the pita bread and Biber Ezme (red pepper dip). It was another reminder of how fortunate we are to have so many diverse restaurants in #yegdt.


Lamb and scallops from Sofra

  • Friday night was made for balcony dining! Mack and I picked up Downtown Dining Week take-out from our neighbours Tzin and DOSC for a dinner date. We couldn’t get enough of Tzin’s gnocchi with mushrooms and Parmesan cream and bison brisket risotto. Consider mixing and matching meals to try even more restaurants!

Tzin and DOSC

Meals from Tzin and DOSC

  • I love that I am still discovering #yegfood hidden gems, even now. We hit up Hazeldean Bakery last week for the first time, and I had to use Emily for scale of the apple fritters (though we actually ended up enjoying their cinnamon buns more)! Bakeries also have to be one of the few pandemic-proof businesses.

Hazeldean Bakery

Emily loves doughnuts!

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