From Food Charity to Food Justice: Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks Annual Report 2022

Read our 2022 report here to learn about VNFN’s food justice model, our impact in neighbourhood-based food provision and community development, as well as our collective efforts towards food systems change.

Message from VNFN Coordinator:

The Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks (VNFNs) continue to grow our efforts to address food injustice through a community model that prioritizes local relations and builds on community skills and resources. We recognize that food security is a core social determinant of health (SDH) and is impacted by a variety of factors, including income inequality, gender, culture, physical wellbeing and illness, community support, access to services and more. Working through the SDH lens and community development approach allows the VNFN to help address community food security needs and build community resilience.

Despite our best efforts, our food systems are increasingly vulnerable as food costs escalate and climate impacts are worsening. 2022 saw the largest rise in food prices in 40 years, furthering the grim inequity in our communities. The many media stories are finally acknowledging the limitations of the food charity model in addressing this problem. Climate wise, BC set eleven October temperature records amid a record-breaking drought, which killed tens of thousands of spawning salmon in dry creek beds. The implications for this important Indigenous food source are sobering.

Local NFNs are actively engaged in these and more food concerns and we are proud of the wide diversity of food programs that we run, and which continue to enhance community well-being by improving access to food programs, food education, literacy and skills, increased social connection and food engagement, as well as improved food systems resilience. As a result, the VNFNs continue to help foster a stronger food culture across Vancouver.

VNFNs build strong community food cultures thanks to their unique model which ensures that food programs respond appropriately and efficiently to the needs within their respective neighbourhoods. VNFNs’ collective impact model builds on the neighbourhoods’ efforts through a broad networked approach, by amplifying the local efforts through collaboration as well as forming a collective voice city-wide to address food policy issues on a more systemic level. VNFN’s food justice model spans the entire food support continuum: from much-needed efforts in basic food provision and community development to collective impact towards systems change and food justice.

This past year, VNFNs, developed a mandate to strengthen our policy advocacy and systems change work, which became a critical part of our efforts in 2022. Together, we have been calling for budget investments and political action to help strengthen our fragile food system. We are honoured to be working with Vancouver’s diverse food organizations and activists and very excited to help build a food justice vision for Vancouver.

Ian Marcuse,

VNFN Coordinator

Cover page of VNFN 2022 Year End Report. Three gardeners are tending to a flower bed with sunflowers in the background