This month, we are excited to highlight the work of our member, Gordon Neighbourhood House in the West End neighbourhood.
Part of Gordon Neighbourhood House’s food philosophy is to work towards increased food access in the neighbourhood.
This means sharing fresh, non-expired, healthy, and locally-sourced food whenever possible. Last year, farmer and community programmer Joey Liu led a team of 45 volunteers to grow and harvest over 350 lbs of produce for Gordon Neighbourhood House.
Their harvests included a wide range of veggies, including bok choy, tomatoes, garlic, zucchini, salad greens, beets, broccoli, beans, peas, leeks, turnips, kale, kohlrabi, basil, and cucumbers.
These fresh vegetables supplemented Gordon House’s community lunch program, which serves healthy and affordable meals for less than $5.
Now that spring has arrived, a new growing season is starting up again. Gordon House is growing at three urban garden sites in the West End and caring for ten community herb boxes.
The community herb boxes provide the public with access to free herbs all-year long.
In addition to their urban gardens and community lunches, Gordon House hosts a number of other community-building projects.
Rainbow Soup Special is a weekly gathering for LGBTQ+ community members and allies to gather and cook soup together. The soup is served the following day at the West End Community Food Hub.
The West End Community Food Hub is a partnership with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Food hubs are a new approach to the traditional food bank. This particular food hub offers a hot meal, free coffee and smoothies, and subsidized fresh produce. Local service providers offer food demos, access to health services from Coastal Mental Health, and library books from the Vancouver Public Library. This has a huge impact for community members, especially during the winter when fresh food access is especially limited.
Gordon Greens Mobile Produce Market brings fresh and affordable produce to various locations in the West End. Gordon House will be bringing this program back for its second year in July 2018.
The West End Food Series collaborates with community members and local organizations to offer free workshops and events to celebrate food in the West End. Gordon House is currently transforming the West End Food Series from a 6-day festival into year-round programming. They are surveying community members to find out what kinds of food workshops and events they would like to see for the coming year.
Creating welcoming spaces
Of all the work that goes into their food initiatives and other programming, there is a lot to be proud of. Joey says, “I’m especially proud of the work we did last year to develop a Respect Policy that ensures that every person who walks through our door feels welcome, safe and respected. It’s not always easy work but it’s extremely impactful and rewarding.”
Do you live in or around the West End? Are you interested in getting involved with Gordon House’s urban farming projects, sharing your food skills, or anything else related to food? Reach Joey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604.683.2554.