Community Food Markets: Celebrating Harvest, Building Community and Addressing Food Insecurity at Kiwassa Neighbourhood House

August is the time when the harvest is at its peak – fresh produce is in abundance, which means that it is the prime time for community food markets that bring locally-grown produce directly to the neighbourhoods across Vancouver! 

Community food markets are small, independently organized markets that sell fresh fruits, vegetables, prepared foods and, often, artisan goods. Community food markets help address accessibility and equity challenges that are sometimes associated with regular farmers markets, such as physical access or affordability.   Community food markets, often featuring live music and community activations, create welcoming and vibrant gathering places for neighbours of all ages!  Every summer, a number of Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks host community food markets in their communities, including Kiwassa Neighbourhood House – part of Hastings Sunrise Community Food Network.

Kiwassa Neighbourhood House hosts a weekly low-cost produce market at 2425 Oxford Street, every Wednesday, 2pm-4pm. Kiwassa subsidizes market expenses (staff, materials) through grants and fundraising, and is able to offer fresh fruits and vegetables at affordable prices for the whole community. This summer, Kiwassa is excited to partner with the Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School, a program of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, rooted in the principles of regenerative agriculture and Indigenous food systems.  Thanks to this partnership, Kiwassa Neighbourhood House is now able to offer community members a selection of local (grown just 25 kilometers away!) organic fruits and vegetables. 

Part of the Kiwassa’s weekly market is the Market Greens Rx program – a subsidy program that helps people with diet-related health challenges, such as diabetes or heart disease, access fresh produce. Potential candidates are either referred by their health care practitioner or can apply directly to Kiwassa: eligible candidates are provided with a gift card that can be used to purchase fruits and vegetables at the Kiwassa market. Every year, the program supports approximately 40 households. Market Greens Rx is currently accepting new participants until the end of September. Contact Kiwassa’s Food Programs for more information via email or by phone 604-254-5401 ext. 253

The last Wednesday of every month, from May to October, Kiwassa brings its low-cost produce market to Pandora Park. Community Market at Pandora Park, organized with the support of Vines Art Festival features local vendors, community organizations, workshops, music, and art performances. Every month, the market is organized around a particular theme: in May, the market was focused on literacy, offering storytime and free books, in June, the market honored the National Indigenous People’s Day, while in July, it joined Vancouver’s Pride Week Celebrations. Next Community Market at Pandora Park is happening on Wednesday, August 31, 2pm-5pm – come join the celebration of summer harvest and community! Everyone is welcome!