For more information about this job
For more information about this job
The Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks (VNFN) are a network of community organizations committed to promoting food security in neighbourhoods across the City of Vancouver.
VNFN is committed to food equity and access, education, skill building, and advocacy, particularly for community members who are struggling economically. This work is based on the principle that all members of society have the right to quality food. VNFN provides a space for networks to collaborate, share best practices and advocate for food equity & justice, ecologically & culturally sustainable food systems, and community food resilience with a unified voice.
Visit the map to learn about a Neighbourhood Food Network in your community!
Neighbourhood Food Networks break down barriers that prevent people from accessing nutrient-rich, affordable, and personally acceptable food.
We increase access to food includes by offering drop-in meal programs, bulk buying clubs, mobile produce markets, emergency food access, community gardens, school gardens, and more.
Neighbourhood Food Networks share knowledge and resources at every level of the food system through community-based education, advocacy, and research.
We build food literacy by hosting workshops, community kitchens, lectures, films, and discussions.
Neighbourhood Food Networks’ celebrations and gatherings involve food to meet physical, spiritual, social and emotional needs.
Our community events increase awareness around food security and reduce social isolation by helping neighbours meet neighbours.
Neighbourhood Food Networks amplify and empower the voices of underrepresented communities in the local food system.
We are working towards decolonizing food practices on Unceded Coast Salish Territories.
Over 25 years, Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks have learned to support people in growing and accessing nutritious and culturally familiar foods close to home, in neighbourhoods throughout the city. We promote access to food with dignity, and without barriers.
Many of our actions and principles reflect the global Right to Food standards, as outlined by the United Nations (tinyurl.com/UNRightToFood).
Our model is unique! We are a citywide network of networks, working together collectively through problem-solving, sharing information and resources, and advocating to increase our collective impact to build healthy food for all neighbourhoods.
Our work shows how investing in a just community food security model builds strong relationships, and quality access to food on an everyday basis. We’ve also demonstrated resilience and adaptability when crises arise.
Our model is responsive to the unique needs and cultures of each neighbourhood. Investing in community food security promotes individual and collective health, and eases strain on social and health care systems due to poverty and inequity.
Building resilience for Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks (before and beyond COVID) means:
During COVID-19, people in our city faced a food crisis that lasted long after the shelves were restocked. Many people became food insecure by losing employment and income, as well as access to affordable, nutritious food near home.
Our food systems were inequitable before 2020, and COVID worsened these problems. The 2016 Census shows 20% of Vancouverites live below the poverty line, which is closely linked to food insecurity. Numbers are much higher for our Indigenous and Black neighbours, as well as newcomers to Canada—who remain disproportionately affected by poverty, food insecurity and COVID-19.
These were just some impacts of the food crisis:
Our work creates a strong body of evidence that community food security builds everyday resiliency and crisis-preparedness in our neighbourhoods.
Our existing relationships allowed 15 Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network staff (many of them working part-time) to immediately grasp the need for filling the gaps with emergency food assistance.
Providing emergency food access during COVID was a mandate shift for us, but here are some ways we’ve boosted food security during the pandemic:
Billboards, advertising, politicians, and news media have told the public that food banks are the answer to food insecurity. We recognize the role that food banks play in helping people put food on the table, but we know through our work that building thriving, food secure communities requires a long-term capacity-building approach.
We need better legislation, more funding, and more support to help communities grow toward their vision of a just, equitable, and food secure future.
With an annual budget of about $1.76 million (just 0.11% of the the City of Vancouver’s $1.597 billion operating budget), there could be a full-time Food Coordinator in all 22 Vancouver neighbourhoods (CUPE 15, Programmer 2). Our current operating budget from the City of Vancouver is $200,000 per year, through the Sustainable Food Systems Grant.
We seek the funding to continue our pre-COVID work citywide, creating a future where every neighbourhood has a community food security network, and every household is food secure.
Story by Jenny van Enckevort, with contributions by Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks.
We invite you to give to community food networks, to support our community food security model.
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Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks’ supporters help make a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of people across Vancouver. Thank you to each of our donors and core funders. You help us create innovative and important food programs for our communities.
Donations of $15 and over can be issued a tax receipt. If you'd like to set up a monthly donation, please contact us below.
Support Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks by sponsoring one of our programs or events. Your support allows us to grow our impact in the community! Contact us below for more info.
We love our volunteers! To get involved, check out our volunteer page. Find out how to connect with the local food network in your neighbourhood.
For any other inquiries, including media inquiries, please contact us below: