POSTS BY VANCOUVER NEIGHBOURHOOD FOOD NETWORKS

  • ADAPTING TO CHANGE: COMMUNITY FOOD ACTION WITH LITTLE MOUNTAIN-RILEY PARK NEIGHBOURHOOD FOOD NETWORK

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Advocacy, Community Gardening and Urban Farming, Dignified Food Access, Food Hub, Food Justice, Little Mountain Riley Park Neighbourhood House, Neighbourhood Food Networks, Poverty Reduction // July 28, 2020

    This is the second in a series of blog posts featuring each of our Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network coordinators.


    Joanne MacKinnon has represented Little Mountain Neighbourhood House as their Neighbourhood Food Network and—most recently—as the Community Engagement Coordinator for five years. 

    The food security priorities for the Network are the Riley Park Community Garden, a food asset map and educating the community about food insecurity. The Network addresses food security and community involvement, and brings community members closer through participation, education and events. 

    The Community Garden is an inclusive gathering point reflecting the Network’s core visions to improve food security, ecological sustainability and community development. It is a collective public space where people can engage in co-creation, feel a sense of belonging and ownership, and increase networks.

    Long-term sustainability depends on the development of social capital and the intention to grow produce that may be given back to the community. The garden is a David Suzuki Foundation Butterflyway project site, and has drip irrigation to educate about water conservation. The shed is a demonstration of a vertical garden and renewable energy. 

    Before COVID-19, Little Mountain Neighbourhood House provided community meals and food for our clients and members, with almost 7,800 meals and snacks provided each month. These included a hot breakfast for preschool children, a hot lunch for a family drop-in program, snacks for after-school and daycare programs, community kitchens for newcomers, Arabic family and single moms drop-in programs. 

    An image of the poster for the Harvest Matchmaking Program

    When the Neighbourhood House closed in March due to COVID-19, the organization secured funding from Community Food Centres Canada to support vulnerable families and community members  with access to food. More than 470 individuals were served by this program—including more than 170 kids under 18, and more than 175 families.  

    Food hampers were delivered by East West Market, serving 31 families and 26 seniors. The Network’s outreach and engagement to community included: 

    > Starting Garden Guides through a partnership with the SPEC, to provide resources and support on how-to grow your own food in small spaces—like containers and on patios—and in backyard and other community gardens; 

    > a BackYards program where residents have requested to have their yards used for food production, for those who need food support; and,

    > Harvest Matchmaking—which includes providing veggie bags with produce from the Network’s gardens, urban farmers and farmers market vendors.

    > The monthly Donation Station at the Riley Park Farmers Market has re-started, and the Network is grateful for the support of the community with funds, and farmers with produce. 

    “The video provided by Garden Guides have truly helped me start my own garden. They are a great tool for any gardening but it was especially helpful to me as a beginner. There are so many knowledgeable people in the community willing to share their skills. Thanks to Riley Park Garden Guides team the information is directly accessible wherever you are.”

    Esme Stumborg, Urban Ethnographic Field School 2020 Cohort

    Phase 2 emergency food access is underway. Little Mountain Neighbourhood House is now a Food Bank Hub and with funding from the United Way as a Local Love Food Hub, and Community Food Centres Canada with grocery gift cards, the Food Network is able to serve 1,925 vulnerable people in the community. 

    I have received food products delivered to me. I am very moved by your compassion towards the elderly such as myself. I would like to express my sincere thanks to you. Wishing you a wonderful and safe summer.

    Thank you card from a neighbour

    Learn more, celebrate community food action, and get involved with Little Mountain Riley Park Neighbourhood Food Network:

    Visit the Little Mountain Neighbourhood House website: https://web2.lmnhs.bc.ca/community-programs

  • ADAPTING TO CHANGE: COMMUNITY FOOD ACTION WITH WESTSIDE FOOD COLLABORATIVE

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Advocacy, Dignified Food Access, Events, Food Hub, Food Justice, Mobile Markets, News, Poverty Reduction, Westside Food Collaborative // July 21, 2020

    This is the first in a series of blog posts featuring each of our Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network coordinators.


    Hillary Ko (she, her, hers) is Chinese-Canadian and a true Vancouverite. She represents the Westside Food Collaborative, which serves a very large area in Vancouver. Often, the West side is seen as an affluent area but parts of these communities do experience food insecurity and is often unseen or unaddressed.

    The Westside Food Collaborative is a Neighbourhood Food Network of community members and organizations working in just and sustainable food systems on Vancouver’s Westside, based out of Kitsilano Neighbourhood House.

    An image that says Celebrate Community Food Action, with photos of food

    This Network seeks to bring key organizations and community members to the table in order to understand barriers to food access in Vancouver’s Westside and to work towards addressing these barriers.

    For Hillary, community development and empowerment is what’s most important about working with Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks.

    “It is amazing to see the community come together to support each other and work together to address needs of the vulnerable population,” says Hillary. “I want to continue building connections and getting different partners to support each other in addressing the barriers to food security.”

    Food insecurity is one of the greatest needs in Vancouver that the Westside Food Collaborative strives to address, and typically the Network engages in gardening, food distribution, community meals, and cooking and nutrition workshops. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the network’s ability to respond to increasing needs.

    An outdoor image of Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, showing tables filled with grocery bags.

    When public gatherings were no longer possible, the Network began engaging in food recovery and offering a weekly emergency food response program. “Many have told us that our service of providing one hot meal and one large grocery bag helps them get through the week,” says Hillary. “It’s also the only time some people get out of their house and connect with other neighbours.”

    From a young age, Hillary understood the power of food, and this informs her work to support community food security.

    “Food has always been a big part of my life,” she says. “My best memories about food are when I learned how to make traditional Cantonese dishes with my grandma and when I invite friends and family over to make and eat food together.”

    An image of a person forming a large batch of Chinese dumplings.

    Challenges & Goals

    The greatest challenges facing neighbours of the Westside Food Collaborative are isolation and lack of community. Many people, especially seniors, are experiencing isolation and depression during this time. “We cannot reopen programs any time soon due to COVID measures,” Hillary explains, “but in the future, this is something that the Network will try to address by using food as the vehicle for community building.”

    The Westside Food Collaborative hopes to connect with organizations and businesses in the area that are providing services during COVID-19 and work together towards a more coordinated approach to community emergency responses.

    Learn more about Westside Food Collaborative and celebrate community food action:

  • FOOD JUSTICE REQUIRES RACIAL JUSTICE

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Advocacy, Cedar Cottage Food Network, Dignified Food Access, Downtown Eastside Kitchen Tables, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House, Food Justice, Gordon Neighbourhood House, Grandview Woodland Food Connection, Hastings Sunrise Community Food Network, Indigenous Food Sovereignty, Little Mountain Riley Park Neighbourhood House, Marpole Oakridge Neighbourhood Food Network, Migrant Justice, Mount Pleasant Food Network, Neighbourhood Food Networks, Poverty Reduction, Renfrew Collingwood Food Justice, South Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network, Strathcona Community Centre, Village Vancouver, West End Neighbourhood Food Network, Westside Food Collaborative // June 5, 2020

    The Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks’ ongoing commitment to food justice and food sovereignty means committing to racial justice.

    We stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and Racialized Peoples.

  • 2020 ROGER INMAN MEMORIAL AWARD

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: News // March 2, 2020

    Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks are proud and grateful to have been chosen as a runner-up for the 2020 Roger Inman Memorial Award. This annual award is given by CCEC Credit Union in recognition of a project that has made a significant contribution to the economic development of the community. CCEC is committed to keeping our money and resources working in our community by actively supporting and promoting the development of strong, successful community businesses, projects and organizations.

    The award honours the memory of Roger Inman, a past president of CCEC, whose contributions to the wellbeing of the credit union were numerous. Roger became a member when CCEC first opened in 1976 and shortly after began serving as a volunteer teller. He was also a member of the credit committee, and later joined the Board of Directors where he served as co-chair and spearheaded the newsletter. A warm lovable man, Roger always contributed his time, insights, and humour to the many community initiatives with which he was involved. He was also active in local politics where his keen mind and natural optimism were always appreciated. Through this award, we acknowledge his devotion to community economic development, his commitment to his ideals and his generosity in spirit.

    Thank you CCEC and congratulations to the 2020 winner – The Peoples Prom!

  • CCEC ARTICLE: TURNING UP THE BEET ON POVERTY

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Uncategorized // June 15, 2017

    Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks Work Towards a Poverty Free BC

    Lettuce Turnip the Beet on Poverty Reduction Campaign

    Meet CCEC Member, Vancouver Neighbouhood Food Networks (VNFN) and Ian Marcuse, long-time CCEC Member who is one of the sponsors for this group.  Ian works for the Grandview Woodland Food Connection, one of the 14 neighbourhoods across Vancouver who belong to this Food Network.

    The VNFN’s are a grassroots network of people, organizations and agencies collaborating on food initiatives to ensure that all community members have access to healthy, culturally appropriate and sustainably produced food.  Ian says, “We know that food brings people together and help to build connections, but it also divides us as a community.  There are too many people that don’t have enough money to pay for food.”  Financial constraints have been identified as an underlying cause of food insecurity by groups including the Dieticians of Canada.

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  • GET OUT THE VOTE TO END POVERTY

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Uncategorized // May 18, 2017

    The Vancouver Neighborhood Food Networks helped get out the vote with our Lettuce Turnip the Heat on poverty reduction. Partnering with the Food Bank, several of the VNFNs tabled at local Food Bank depots providing information of voter registration and the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition’s poverty reduction plan for which many Food Bank members were interested to receive the information. The tabling went well and we look forward to more poverty reduction advocacy in the near future.

  • LETTUCE TURNIP THE HEAT ON POVERTY REDUCTION

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Uncategorized // February 25, 2017

    We are pleased to present this campaign, Lettuce Turnip the Heat on Poverty Reduction – Vote! alongside the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition’s Poverty Free BC Action Week.

    February 25, 2017 to March 3, 2017 is a week of action, leading up to the Poverty Free BC Rally on March 4th. Each day of the week lines up with an essential pillar the proposed poverty reduction plan.  You can read more here: http://vancouverfoodnetworks.com/vote/

    For the campaign, we have developed a fact sheet for each day, with some copy, to be shared on social media. Please see below for the schedule and content to be shared! It would be amazing to have as many networks as possible sharing these.

  • SUPPORT A POVERTY FREE BC

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Uncategorized // February 16, 2017

    The Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks are proud to join the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, Raise the Rates BC and the BC Federation of Labour and many other groups to Rally for a Poverty Free BC. We understand that lack of food access is largely a consequence of poverty.

    This is our chance to raise our voices together and show candidates in the provincial election that we’ll be voting for politicians that commit to a strong, comprehensive poverty reduction plan.

    There will be a week of action leading up to the rally (Feb. 25 – Mar. 3) with each day of the week lined up with an essential pillar of an effective poverty reduction plan. There will be film screenings, panel discussions, webinars and more. Stay tuned for more information!

    Poverty Free BC Rally
    Saturday, March 4th 2017, 12-2pm
    Vancouver Public Library, Robson side

  • WELFARE FOOD CHALLENGE – LET’S TAKE ACTION

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Uncategorized // October 31, 2016

    Thank you to all who supported the Raise the Rates 2016 Welfare Food Challenge. Those of us who participated in the Challenge learned first hand of the harsh experience of people in our province who are having to survive on the current social assistance rates. Eating on $18 week is extremely cruel.

    Now that the Challenge is over, let’s funnel the energy and enthusiasm into action.

    Here are some suggestions:

    • Ask people to sign our online petition.
    • Write to your member of the Legislative Assembly, find their contact here, and Premier Christy Clark and Leader of the Opposition John Horgan saying welfare needs to raise now by hundreds of dollars a month.
    • Go to the ‘Take Action’ section of our website (https://welfarefoodchallenge.org/take-action/), and do some of the suggested actions.
    • Tell people about our new campaign, called We Can’t Afford Poverty. We Can’t Afford Poverty is an arts-based campaign that is aiming to keep poverty and homelessness at the forefront of the coming election campaign. By signing onto our mailing list, people will be tapped into Raise the Rates’ action campaign as we move towards the election.
    • Donate the money saved on food purchases this week to Raise the Ratesto help support and broaden our campaign efforts. Paste this link into your browser for the online donation form: https://www.gifttool.com/donations/Donate?ID=2022&AID=4470. The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition will pass on the money to Raise the Rates as we don’t have an online form.

    Thank you for helping to raise the rates and end poverty in BC.

     

    Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks participated in the 2016 Challenge. Read some of their stories below.

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    Ian Marcuse, Grandview Woodland Food Connection

    Raise the Rates Welfare Food Challenge Preparation

    Day 1

    Day 2

    Day 3

    Day 4

    Day 5

    Day 6 

    Laura Gair, South Vancouver Neighbouhood Food Network

    Raise the Rates Welfare Food Challenge Intro 

    Day 2

    Day 3

    Day 4

    Day 5

    Day 6

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Chantille and Sebastian, Gordon Neighbourhood House

    Read their story

     

     

    rory-headshot

    Rory Sutherland, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House

    Whittam Family, Grandview Woodland Food Connection

    Read their story

  • NEIGHBOURHOOD FOOD NETWORKS SUPPORT THE 2016 WELFARE FOOD CHALLENGE PRESS RELEASE

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Events // October 17, 2016

    This year’s Welfare Food Challenge starts on October 16th and participants will be expected to purchase all of the food that they consume for 7 days with only $18. This is the amount that Raise the Rates, the organizer for the challenge, has calculated someone on welfare has left for food after paying their expenses. Last year the amount was $26, but the rising cost of rent has reduced the amount by $8 to a measly $18. It’s clearly impossible to adequately feed oneself with $18 per week and the Challenge emphasizes the absurdity of a social welfare system that produces such an outcome in a rich country.

    Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks (VNFNs) work to reduce food insecurity through initiatives such as community kitchens, food rescue, bulk buying, skills building workshops, meal programs, and advocacy, and recognize that policy action is needed to address the root causes. “Sadly, we are seeing a rise in demand and increasing waitlist for some of our food distribution programs….many people simply cannot afford to buy food when faced with the increased cost of living in Vancouver. People are forced to choose between paying rent and buying food. We recognize that the Welfare Food Challenge is not a Challenge that can be won” says Ian Marcuse of the Grandview Woodland Food Connection.

    Income assistance rates in BC have been stagnant for the last 9 years, with a single person receiving only $610 a month. This is not enough to support basic needs, nor positive health outcomes. Furthermore, these rates violate people’s human rights and basic dignity. The Dietitians of Canada (2016) point out that there are serious negative effects on physical and mental health when people cannot afford a healthy diet – food prices in BC have risen 12% since 2009 and “it is timely for further income and disability assistance reform so that more British Columbians can afford sufficient healthy food and meet their nutritional needs.”

    Raise the Rates’ Welfare Food Challenge draws attention to this issue from the lens of food insecurity. VNFNs support Raise the Rates’ call to action to raise income assistance rates recognizing that people require the financial means to purchase their own food, and will be participating in the Challenge. Charitable food solutions to hunger are not solving the problem: more than 12% of British Columbians remain food insecure even with substantial amounts of support from the charitable food sector. Local communities are doing their part and VNFNs call on the provincial government to increase food security by raising income assistance rates.

    VNFNs represent 12 neighbourhoods across Vancouver and engage with the most marginalized community members, witnessing first-hand the detrimental impact that barriers to accessing food and abject poverty can have on complex health conditions, such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, and cardiovascular disease. It is often those with the greatest need for high quality nutritious food that face the most difficult barriers to accessing it.

    Information on the Welfare Food Challenge can be found at: welfarefoodchallenge.org