This is the fourth in a series of blog posts featuring each of our Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks.
Barb Wong (she, her, hers) was born and raised in Vancouver, and comes from Chinese heritage. She recently joined the Cedar Cottage Food Network Society (CCFN) in May 2020. For Barb, building connections with community members and their capacity through food is at the heart of her work with this Network—along with early memories of enjoying food with family.
“I grew up at the apron strings of my Poh Poh (maternal grandmother). I’d spend most of my days with her in the vegetable garden and kitchen,” says Barb.
“She prepared a lot of traditional foods including wind-dried duck that she would hang on the clothesline! I had an Easy Bake oven and she and I would spend hours baking little cakes.”
CCFN is an independent, non-profit organization working toward more sustainable and just food systems at the neighbourhood level. They create space for Kensington-Cedar Cottage residents to take part in different levels of food systems by providing programming, tools, and opportunities for community connections.
Business-as-usual for the Cedar Cottage Food Network involves urban farming, including gardening and food literacy workshops and seed saving. CCFN has helped meet community needs by providing access to an Indigenous medicine wheel garden and community grown food at Copley Community Orchard, along with access to low cost produce through community pop-up markets.
Prior to COVID-19, the Network operated two weekly community markets at two partner sites, where fresh produce was sold at cost to community members. To adapt to physical distancing protocols, they’ve changed their model to a pre-packaged produce box that is available to community members and agencies on a sliding scale ($10, $5 or free). Neighbours have been eager to show their appreciation for access to this food during tough times. One person places orders for a neighbour living with Multiple Sclerosis, who would otherwise have difficulty meeting her nutritional needs.
What neighbours are saying
“Thank you to everyone at Cedar Cottage and your amazing staff and volunteers. You all work so hard at making this produce program available to us. Everything is always of incredibly high quality and quantity. You make it affordable for myself, my daughter and granddaughters and my Mom to enjoy this nutritious produce.”
“You are also saving us all from having to wait in long lineups and then carry the produce home. Transit is difficult to access for them as well. My Mom is 90 years next month and my daughter has two toddler girls, so it’s difficult for them to get out at this time.”
“I have been using my portion to cook nutritious jars of soups and casseroles that I take to my Mom, so she has easy to reheat-and-eat meals at hand.”
“So thank you again from all of us to all of you. Your generosity and warm kindness is very much appreciated by us at this time. Bless your hearts.”
In the future, CCFN plans to expand on food literacy programming to include food preparation workshops, food justice advocacy, and broader partnerships with community groups. The Network’s goals include continuing to build community connections through food, and exploring opportunities to build a more sustainable local food network.
Learn more, contribute and celebrate community food action with Cedar Cottage Food Network: