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Food; keeping our bellies full and our lives social.


Food is more than a nutritious substance; it identifies us, and unites us.
Converse and Cook is about creating social spaces where individuals are empowered to explore their connection to food and their community by creating meals and dining together.

About Us

Mishma and Juanita
Who or What is Converse and Cook?

Converse and Cook is a non-profit organization located in Edmonton, Alberta , CRA number is 725856488RC0001, founded by Mishma Mukith and Juanita Gnanapragasam, both alumni from the University of Alberta,  as a way to get people in our community more engaged with the food that they eat and with each other.

Food is much more than a nutritious substance, it connects us with each other, ourselves, and the world around us. Just think about how many of your favourite holidays, experiences, and even knowledge about the world is tied to food?

Recognizing that food is a gateway to building bridges in our community, we started ‘Converse and Cook’ to help alleviate barriers people have to finding culturally relevant and nutritious foods. Some of our programming includes running grocery busses, cooking classes, and creating resources on food safety and preparation. Throughout all the programming we run, we encourage people to talk and get to know each other. In fact, ask any of our participants because they’ll tell you that’s the best part of our work!

Together with volunteers and various support from other non-profits and organizations we are reducing barriers to culturally nutritious meals and helping people become more connected to food.

Mishma and Juanita would also like to thank Breanna Weseen who helped shape our cooking class programming. In addition a big thank you the Charlotte Wray who is currently donating a lot of her personal time on our cookbook projects.

Current Programming
  • Cooking Socials: Formally known as our cooking classes. These 2-3 hour classes are run for groups of 16-20 partciapnts. During this time we break participants into small groups to prepare and cook a meal together. At the end of the night we all eat together. Throughout the social we facilitate conversation and ensure everyone is learning and having fun.
  • Community Cookbooks: We work with community members to tell the story of their community through food. Cookbooks are compiled of recipes and stories. See here for a previous cookbook we did at the University of Alberta.
  • Food Literacy Workshops: Working with clinicans, dietitians, and community members we create and deliver workshops on a variety of topics. Some of our past workshops have included: Meal planning on Limited Time and Budget, What is Healthy Eating, and Busting Food Myths.

If you work with an organization or a group of youth/adults who could benefit from any of our programming please get in touch by emailing us at converseandcook@gmail.com. We’d be happy to run some programming for you. In addition, we sometimes have funding to cover costs for cooking socials.

Sponsors and Partners

Interested in partnering with us or sponsoring future programming? Click here to read more about our past sponsors and partners and figure out how you can help out 🙂

Converse and Cook Updates

Research into the accessibility of culturally relevant and nutritious meals for International students was done

January 4, 2016

Research into the accessibility of culturally relevant and nutritious meals for  International students was done

In 2016 research was conducted at the University of Alberta by Juanita Gnanapragasam and Dr. Naomi Krogman on the importance of maintaining ethnic diets and the accessibility of culturally relevant nutritious meals for newcomer students at the University of Alberta. The results of this research…

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Pilot Cooking Classes happened with the support of CSL and SFWG

September 4, 2017

Pilot Cooking Classes happened with the support of CSL and SFWG

Based off the research findings we recognized that there was a gap of knowledge around basic cooking skills and cooking ethnic meals. In order to address this the  Sustainable Food Working Group (SFWG) helped us co-mentor 8 Community Service Learning (CSL) students in piloting two cooking classes…

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Piloting more cooking classes and grocery buses thanks to UAlberta Alumni

January 22, 2018

Piloting more cooking classes and grocery buses thanks to UAlberta Alumni

It was clear from the research that transportation was a huge barrier for students to access culturally relevant and nutritious foods.   Hence, a grant from the University of Alberta’s Alumni Student Council allowed us to pilot several grocery buses that took students to and…

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A new partnership with the Campus Food Bank+our logo

July 2, 2018

A new partnership with the Campus Food Bank+our logo

As Converse and Cook started to take off we realized that there was a huge need for this type of programming in the City of Edmonton and beyond. In order to grow Converse and Cook to various communities outside the University of Alberta that meant…

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We got non-profit status

November 14, 2018

We got non-profit status

Recognizing we were going to need funding to be able to run programming in the City of Edmonton and beyond we applied for non-profit status back in September and finally got approved today 🙂

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Looking into 2019

November 15, 2018

If there’s one thing we learnt about our programming is that there is more demand that capacity, particularity when it comes to our cooking classes. As such we’ve applied and were successful for another UAlberta Alumni Student Council grant where we’ll be working on making…

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Our First Community Service Student finishes her non-credit hours with us.

December 21, 2018

Our First Community Service Student  finishes her non-credit hours with us.

  Breanna Weseen has been a student volunteer with Converse and Cook since the very beginning and has helped us grow to the program we are today. In Fall 2018 she did her Community Service hours with us helping us develop a guidebook that supports…

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Our programming at the University of Alberta is officially handed off the Campus Food Bank

December 21, 2018

We got our start at the University of Alberta but now it’s time to hand things off so that we can move on to supporting programming in the City of Edmonton and beyond.   If you’re a student at the UofA you can visit https://campusfoodbank.com/ to…

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We got funding for a cookbook!

March 15, 2019

We got funding for a cookbook!

Thanks to the University of Alberta Alumni Student Council we received a grant in early 2019 to re-create a Unversity of Alberta Campus-wide cookbook. Our hope is to take a Humans of New York spin to this cookbook where we feature both stories and recipes….

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Rising Youth Grant and Branching out to ELS programs

June 30, 2019

Rising Youth Grant and Branching out to ELS programs

It’s been a while since we’ve posted an update and that’s because we’ve been busy hosting more community pop-up pot lucks, compiling our cookbook and now hosting cooking classes with a new purpose. Our cookbook is well on its way. We’ve done close to 20…

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Our Cookbook is Published!

November 30, 2019

Our Cookbook is Published!

Our new cookbook Our Stories Our Food: A University of Alberta Cookbook just launched. This book features stories and recipes from faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the University of Alberta. If you’d like a copy you can visit the SUB UofA North Campus Bookstore starting Friday…

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