The Art of Food: An Emily Carr University – VNFN Collaboration

Art is a vital means of driving social change – the sharing of ideas through creative expression, deepening our emotional relations to the subject, as a form of protest, rousing dialogue and providing meaningful opportunities for community engagement on issues of concern. Art has a way of communicating ideas beyond the traditional written reporting and sharing styles.

In this spirit, the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks were pleased to partner with the City of Vancouver’s Resilience Office and a class of Emily Carr art students in the CCID 200/300 course “Food & Community” in Fall 2023. Students were paired with local food initiatives that promote and cultivate food security within Vancouver. Each student interviewed, researched, and familiarized themselves with their respective organizations to produce designs, texts, and artworks as creative reflections and resources that explore the many ways that food justice is activated among the city of Vancouver and the ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səlilwətaɬ Nations.

Title: Plato Filipino Mural

Artists: Tanya Thind & Lei Sabaupan

Community Partner: Sliced Mango Collective

This project envisions the creation of a mural inside Plato Filipino restaurant located in the Joyce Collingwood Neighbourhood of East Vancouver.  Sketches of Filipino food and culture evoke a sense of identity through food, particularly important within diasporic communities struggling to maintain culture and identity within dominant settler colonialism society. Plato Filipino restaurant is one of several nearby restaurants threatened with dislocation due to development pressures in the area and fighting against a development proposal that threatens their ability to remain in their current location.

Title: Britannia School Garden Mapping Project

Artists: Tami Han & Sam Reynolds

Community Partner: Grandview Woodland Food Connection

Located at Britannia Community Centre and School in East Vancouver, this project identified the need for better signage and wayfinding to find the on-site food gardens. Due to the lack of directional signage, the size of the school and community centre area and the number of scattered food gardens often has people confused and lost when searching for these gardens. This project created a new map for Britannia School Garden run by the Grandview Woodland Food Connection. It comes in a printed version and pdf version that can be posted around the site.

Title: Banana Beat

Artists: Juri Sudo-Rustad & Weijin Ross

Community Partner: Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House Right to Food

This project was focused on creating a new visual identity for the Banana Beat project through the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood house. The Banana Beat Project aims to provide essential nutrients as well as dignity to hundreds of neighbours who line up in the pre-dawn hours, awaiting the opening of offices to access their monthly (or cheque day) Social Assistance payments. By creating a new, bold, punk-inspired look for the program, the students wanted to help the organizers to raise awareness of the project and gain more funding for the important work that they do. This project included a banner, poser, logo, and sticker design.

Title: Facilitators’ Guide to a Successful Workshop

Artists: Shriya Maru, Neha Adinamozhi, & Taila Briggs

Community Partner: Renfrew-Collingwood Community Kitchen

This project delivers two tangible interactions that support the running of the workshop in a more seamless way. A zine was created that helps facilitators to be better prepared before the workshop that they conduct. The zine includes mini activities to help them get their thoughts on paper and acts as a communication aspect for the organizers of the Community Kitchen. The activities included are testimonials, tips, idea box, ingredients list, tools and recipe maker. The project also designed badges or name tags for the participants that will attend the workshop with prompts that will encourage participants to further interact with each other during the workshop.

Artists: Hailey Wispinski & Kyla Zwack

Title: Seniors Lunch Collaboration

Community Partner: Kitsilano Neighbourhood House

Every Tuesday at the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, seniors ages 55 and up are invited to attend a community lunch, that includes exercise, engaging conversation, and an activity to finish everything off. This lunch not only combats food insecurity for seniors but also helps tackle loneliness, something that many seniors experience daily. This project was a three-part initiative to address the needs of the seniors and the program as a whole. After meeting with the Seniors Community Programmer, the students identified ways in which our skills could be beneficial to the program and were invited to lead an activity with the seniors. The students decided to make paper flowers as centre piece for each of the tables because they are cheerful and relatively simple to create, while engaging the seniors in a fun and accessible craft. The students also wanted to assist the program in attracting more seniors and volunteers by designing a poster and postcard that could be distributed around the Kitsilano area. 

Title: Yard Garden Harvest Project

Artists: Jiaxi Li & Catrina Pereira

Community Partner: Little Mountain Neighbourhood House/Little Mountain Riley Park Food Network

The Yard Gardens was lucky to have Cat and Jessie, two Emily Carr students create 3 beautiful brochures, highlighting some of the crops we grow at the Yards. These educational pieces, which feature their wonderful illustrations, and include nutritional info, recipes, and storage tips, will be shared with our Food Distribution Participants, Volunteers and community! 

Title: Norquay Food Forest

Artists: Gulperi Sozal & Khloe Yiu

Community Partner: Collingwood Renfrew Food Justice

The Norquay Food Forest is a cute little miniature forest. The students visited this fairy-like garden on a rainy day filled with the fresh smell of trees and grass. Nestled in a quiet neighbourhood in Horley St. the Norquay Food Forest is home to a variety of fruit-bearing, edible, and medicinal native plants. There is also a natural, low maintenance composter, a swing, and a seating area for events and workshops for the community to connect. Through an interview with one of the members taking care of the forest, the students learned more about the forest; the relationship between the community and the plants there which are meant for everyone to enjoy! The students developed the topic of ethical harvesting; an important yet sometimes neglected topic when interacting with the forest.

Title: Nourishing Anecdotes

Artists: Artem Fostach & Kasper Blyt

Community Partner: Westside Food Collaborative

Nourishing Anecdotes encourages the sharing of stories woven around food and the places they resonate with. NA wished to collaborate with the audience to create an analogue footprint illustrating how food and place come together. Participants share a small story about a place related to an experience of food that they benefited from or created a relationship with. It can be anything form a potluck to shopping at a grocery store, or perhaps just growing food in the garden, as long as it is a meaningful experience.

Title: Chéńchenstway Healing Garden

Artists: Alejandra Pacheco & Sophie Brindle

Community Partner: Vancouver Urban Food Forest Foundation

“Chéńchenstway” is a Skwxwu7mesh (Squamish Language) word meaning to uphold one another, to stand and work together. Coast Salish Nations have grown food forest gardens just like this one for thousands of years. The garden helps us remember the history of the land. Most plants in the garden are edible and medicinal. They are also found in Pacific Northwest coastal ecosystems. Yarrow is one such plant and grows abundantly in this garden and inspired this poem and art piece.