NEWS

  • ADAPTING TO CHANGE: COMMUNITY FOOD ACTION WITH RENFREW COLLINGWOOD FOOD JUSTICE

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Advocacy, Dignified Food Access, Food Justice, Neighbourhood Food Networks, News, Poverty Reduction, Renfrew Collingwood Food Justice // July 30, 2020

    This is the third in a series of blog posts featuring each of our Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks.


    Founded in 2002, Renfrew-Collingwood Food Justice (formerly known as the Renfrew-Collingwood Food Security Institute) is a neighbourhood food network that facilitates learning, leadership, and networking for local residents around food sharing, organic growing, food justice, food sovereignty, and nutrition to increase individual, family, and community capacity to attain food security.

    A banner of several small images showing people engaged in food-related activities, along with the Renfrew-Collingwood Food Security Institute logo

    Renfrew-Collingwood Food Justice focuses on community meals, cooking and nutrition workshops, gardening and urban farming—including workshops and seed-saving. For this food network team, food justice advocacy is an essential aspect of the work.

    “We really try to integrate an approach in all of our programs that is holistically rooted in community development-based, anti-oppressive, and justice-oriented frameworks.”
    “Our work includes expanding beyond just service-provision based work and trying to focus also on advocacy and solidarity work in food justice.”

    Renfrew-Collingwood Food Justice

    The pandemic hasn’t stopped the network team from doing good work, like addressing social isolation, lessened nutrition, and food security due to barriers of income, race, language, age, citizenship status.

    Once the COVID-19 restrictions came into place, the network adapted quickly. Resources and staff time dedicated to community kitchens and regular weekly community meal programs have now been redirected to producing frozen meals for weekly emergency food response distribution.

    The network’s urban agriculture programming—including gardening skills workshops—initially shifted to being delivered in online workshop formats like Zoom and through the creation of digital content like pre-recorded videos. Now, some physically distanced in-person urban agriculture activities are resuming on-site at garden spaces.

    “We use the universal experience of food as a connecting point to bring people together for community development.”

    Renfrew-Collingwood Food Justice

    The Renfrew-Collingwood Food Justice team aims to continue developing the existing interest—already demonstrated by our community members—in civic engagement, advocacy, and community dialogue around food justice and related issues.

    Learn more about Renfrew Collingwood Food Justice, get involved, and celebrate community food action:

  • 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:

  • 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!

  • CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF COMMUNITY FOOD

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Advocacy, Cedar Cottage Food Network, Community Gardening and Urban Farming, 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, Little Mountain Riley Park Neighbourhood House, Marpole Oakridge Neighbourhood Food Network, Mount Pleasant Food Network, Neighbourhood Food Networks, News, Poverty Reduction, Renfrew Collingwood Food Justice, Reports, South Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network, Strathcona Community Centre, Village Vancouver, West End Neighbourhood Food Network, Westside Food Collaborative // November 13, 2019

    As 2019 comes to a close, the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks continues to celebrate 25 years of delivering food programs for our neighbours.

    In 1993, Strathcona Community Centre started their first breakfast program and from there, we have grown to a coalition of 15 Neighbourhood Food Networks across Vancouver to meet the needs of those who face barriers to food security. We have provided food literacy, food skills workshops, community lunches and dinners, community kitchens, gardening programs and have shared many meals and celebrations with our neighbours.

    Thank you so much for joining us on our adventures these past years, and here’s to many more together!

  • VANCOUVER NEIGHBOURHOOD FOOD NETWORKS CELEBRATE 10 YEARS OF LOCAL FOOD WITH SUSTENANCE FESTIVAL

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Events, Grandview Woodland Food Connection, Little Mountain Riley Park Neighbourhood House, Mount Pleasant Food Network, News, Strathcona Community Centre, Village Vancouver, West End Neighbourhood Food Network // September 20, 2019

    This September marks the 10th annual Sustenance Festival, a food, art & culture celebration which brings community groups, artists, and advocates together who use food and art to cultivate dialogue, celebrate traditions, and push for social change.

    Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks have been longtime supporters of Sustenance Festival and are excited to participate again this year as community partners.

    Feasting for Change includes stories from the community about how Neighbourhood Food Networks have impacted their lives. Photo by Ian Marcuse.

    The 2019 Sustenance Festival program features the Feasting for Change exhibit at Roundhouse Community Centre. Centring Indigenous perspectives and curated by Dawn Morrison of Wild Salmon Caravan, this art exhibit explores themes of regeneration in relation to wild salmon and holistic perspectives on food, culture, and healing.

    Feasting For Change features visual art by csetkwe. Photo by Ian Marcuse.

    Last week, the Sustenance Festival launch and Feasting For Change exhibit opening followed traditional Coast Salish protocol to honour the work of contributing artists, community groups, and matriarchs from Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh. Volunteers served food by Kurdish- and Ugandan-Canadian women as guests appreciated drumming led by Sto:lo elder Eddie Gardner and original music by local singer-songwriter Ava Caldwell.

    Art installations include Wild Salmon Caravan bike floats. Photo by Ian Marcuse.

    The exhibit gallery also features work from the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks. It highlights the VNFN’s 25-year history of community food initiatives and stories of change from people in our local communities.

    Kaitlyn, Erica, and Ian from the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks at the Feasting for Change exhibit opening.

    In recent years, Sustenance Festival has worked hard to uplift issues of food justice which persist locally and impact a wide range of marginalized communities in Vancouver. Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks’ work brings an important neighbourhood-focus to local food issues.

    This year, Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks events at Sustenance include:

    Other upcoming Sustenance Festival events at Roundhouse Community Centre include a workshop on cooking with Chinatown dried goods and a panel discussion exploring cultural perspectives on food waste.

    Sustenance Festival runs from September through October. All programming is free or low-cost and led by non-profit community groups and community centres. See the full program of events at sustenancefestival.ca


    Sustenance Festival is an annual initiative of the Arts, Culture & Engagement team at the Vancouver Parks Board which features food, art, and culture events such as family-friendly celebrations, workshops, and dialogues. This festival centers community food traditions alongside artists, activists, community groups, and social service organizations across the City of Vancouver.

  • WE ARE HIRING!

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Job Opportunities, News // August 20, 2019

    Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks (VNFNs) are looking to hire a highly-organized individual with a passion for food justice and community development.

    This self-directed individual will organize and facilitate a community of practice for food security professionals across Vancouver.

    This role will support the primary organizational objectives of 1) Operations and Administration, 2) Communications, and 3) Financial sustainability.

    Type of position: Part-time position at 16 hours/week. Flexible schedule and potential for increased hours. 1-year contract to start, with option for extension.
    Start date: Early October 2019
    Compensation: $28.00 per hour
    Location: Vancouver-based work and remote work from home

    See details of this job posting here.

    Work with food security practitioners who are leading grassroots food initiatives across the City of Vancouver.

    Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks are composed of 15 food security organizations and social service agencies across Vancouver who gather bi-monthly to share best practices. Members of the VNFNs collaborate on community-based food initiatives and programs to support food access and resilience at the neighbourhood level. With a unified voice, VNFNs advocate for food justice through a poverty reduction lens.

  • FIRST-EVER IMPACT REPORT SPOTLIGHTS 109,900 MEALS SHARED IN COMMUNITY

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: News, Reports // June 26, 2019

    Inaugural impact report from Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks highlights city-wide food security efforts in 2018

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    June 26, 2019  

    VANCOUVER, BC– Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks provided affordable meals, food skills programs, and social connections to over 30,000 people in 2018, as indicated in their inaugural impact report.

    “This report has been a long time coming,” says community food programmer Ian Marcuse from Grandview Woodland Food Connection at Britannia Community Centre. “We have seen a significant spike in use of our food services in recent years. With the rising cost of rent and food, families are forced to cut costs wherever possible. This impact report from the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks provides crucial data on food access and services city-wide.”

    Diverse group of women participate in a community kitchen at Little Mountain Neighbourhood House
    Program participants learn new food skills and share meals together.

    Combining the need for affordable meals with the need for more social spaces in Vancouver, Vancouver Food Networks served more than 109,000 community meals in 2018, according to the report. On average, these meals cost between $3.00 to $7.00 and offered an affordable menu of seasonal and cultural home-style dishes.

    Beyond serving meals, the report indicates Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks coordinated over 1,100 skill-building workshops, which generate lasting effects on community members’ well being: “I have grown because I cook better…when you cook and it’s really good and healthy, you feel proud and you get the courage to try new things,” shares a workshop participant from Mount Pleasant Food Network.

    Read the full impact report for more details on Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network’s city-wide initiatives in 2018, including fresh food distribution, seasonal celebrations, community and school gardens, and more.

    Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks are made up of 15 community organizations committed to promoting food security across Vancouver. Based on the belief that all members of society have the right to quality food, they are committed to food equity and access, education, skill building, and advocacy, particularly for community members who struggle economically.

    -30-

    Contact: Erica Isomura, Communications and Network Developer
    info@vancouverfoodnetworks.com

  • JOB OPPORTUNITIES

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Gordon Neighbourhood House, Grandview Woodland Food Connection, Job Opportunities, Little Mountain Riley Park Neighbourhood House, News, Strathcona Community Centre, Village Vancouver, Westside Food Collaborative // May 8, 2019

    Interested in working in food security?

    Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks are currently hiring.

    Permanent full-time positions:

    Food Security Coordinator, Strathcona Community Centre – deadline May 15, 2019

    Part-time contracts:

    Indigenous Youth Cook, Britannia Community Centre – applications accepted until position filled

    Neighbourhood Network Developer (Community Food Liaison), Collingwood Neighbourhood House – deadline June 7, 2019 at noon.

    Current youth opportunities through Canada Summer Jobs:

    Riley Park Community Garden & Education Coordinator, Little Mountain Neighbourhood House – deadline May 30, 2019 or until filled

    Riley Park Community Garden Communications Coordinator, Little Mountain Neighbourhood House – deadline May 30, 2019 or until filled

    Summer Breakfast Program Assistant, Strathcona Community Centre – deadline June 11, 2019 or until filled

    Schoolyard Gardener, Grandview Woodland Food Connection – deadline June 7, 2019 or until filled

    Food Programs Assistant, Gordon Neighbourhood House – deadline May 31, 2019

    Urban Farming Assistant, Gordon Neighbourhood House – deadline May 31, 2019

    Community Engagement Assistant, Kits Neighbourhood House – deadline May 22, 2019

    Community Food Facilitator, Renfrew Collingwood Food Security Institute (Collingwood Neighbourhood House) – deadline May 10, 2019

    Assistant Seed Librarian and Community Gardener, Village Vancouver – deadline June 27, 2019

    Administrative and Programming Assistant, Village Vancouver – deadline June 27, 2019


    For more information about each Neighbourhood Food Network, please see the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks map. Visit individual Neighbourhood Food Network websites for other employment and volunteer opportunities.

    This posting has been updated as of May 10, 2019.

  • HOLIDAY MEALS AND LESSONS FROM THE DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Dignified Food Access, Downtown Eastside Kitchen Tables, News, Resources // November 26, 2018

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    Last year, chefs in the Downtown Eastside reported many challenges associated with their annual holiday meals. We heard stories of food waste and efforts to put on dignified experiences being hampered by the many ‘parachute’ groups that drop into the community and serve meals–often fast food–on the street.

    DTES Kitchen Tables’
    Holiday Meal List

    Neighbourhood Food Network member DTES Kitchen Tables Project sees the distribution of the holiday meal list as an opportunity not only to inform community members on where to find holiday meals but also for people serving meals to make more informed decision on when and where to do so.

    Here, we share the updated meal list for the 2018/19 holiday season in the Downtown Eastside. Please share with anyone you know who might be organizing a “one-time” meal or distributing food in the Downtown Eastside in the coming months.

    We are also sharing Vancouver Coastal Health’s DTES Food Standards to help guide those who wish to create a more nutritious and dignified holiday meal experience.

    Note: Updated on December 5, 2018. 
    Thank you to those who sent in feedback and corrections for the Holiday Meal List. Dounia Saeme of DTES Kitchen Tables has updated this list to reflect changes and additions. 

  • SHIFTING FROM FOOD BANK TO FOOD HUB IN SOUTH VAN

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Food Hub, Gordon Neighbourhood House, News, South Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network // June 8, 2018

    A South Vancouver Food Hub is now being offered from a partnership between South Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network and Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

    The South Vancouver Food Hub will replace the South Vancouver Food Bank, formerly held at Faith Fellowship Baptist Church. The South Vancouver Food Bank served an estimate of 160 households each week, including 35% seniors and 8% families with young children.

    The new food hub is located at South Vancouver Neighbourhood House, 6470 Victoria Drive (at 49th Avenue) on Tuesdays from 10am-12pm. (This excludes the week when provincial Social Assistance cheques are issued).

    This move to the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House enables individuals to connect to programs and services such as settlement support, family programs, language classes, seniors’ services, and other resources.

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