July 20th VFPC Meeting

Join us this Wednesday for our regular VFPC meeting. Following our regular business, our Development working group will present information and a proposed motion on the False Creek Flats. The final hour of the meeting has been organized by the Waste working group, and includes a presentation from the City of Vancouver about the Zero Waste strategy and opportunity us to discuss how we might be involved.

Wednesday, July 20th, 6-8:30pm,
Town Hall Room, Vancouver City Hall

All Welcome

Full agenda here

June 22nd VFPC meeting

Wednesday, June 22nd, 6-8:30pm, Town Hall Room, Vancouver City Hall
All Welcome

The regular business of the VFPC will be followed by the following special feature on school food, which starts at 6:55pm. Full meeting agenda here.

School Food Systems in Vancouver and Beyond

The Vancouver Food Policy Council recently joined the Coalition for Healthy School Food, which is seeking a significant investment from the federal government to fund a universal school meal program in Canada. To develop a better understanding of the school food system in Vancouver, the School Food working group of the VFPC will host an evening that brings various perspectives to the issue. Jessica Land from the Vancouver School District will begin by providing an overview of meal supports in schools in the district, and Sarah Carten of the City of Vancouver will describe the funding that the City provided to meals this past year. Following this, a panel of diverse speakers will provide unique outlooks on a series of three questions. Laura Track will speak to children’s legal right through the international Right to Food framework. Brent Mansfield will provide a province-wide perspective on the landscape of school food, and Matthew Kemshaw will provide his views from his experience delivering food programming in Vancouver. An open discussion will conclude the evening.

Speaker Bios

Jessica Land is the Supervisor, Enhanced Services at the Vancouver Board of Education. She has been working in Education and Community Development for over twenty years in a variety of capacities in public and non-profit agencies.  Her current position focuses on ensuring supports and services are in place for those learners who may face barriers (e.g. socio economic challenges) in reaching their educational goals.

Sarah Carten is a Social Planner at the City of Vancouver where she works on the implementation of the Food Strategy. Prior to joining the City’s food policy team last year, she worked for over a decade as a public health dietitian with several health authorities. She worked on programs, plans, policy, and research related to early childhood, school health, and food security.

Laura Track is a lawyer with the BC Civil Liberties Association, Canada’s oldest and most active civil liberties and human rights organization. Laura works primarily on legal cases that raise issues under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In 2015, she authored a report entitled “Hungry for Justice: Advancing a Right to Food for Children in BC”, which argued for an enforceable right to food under the Charter.

Matthew Kemshaw is currently Farm to School BC’s Vancouver Area Animator, and is also a program manager with the Environmental Youth Alliance and the LifeCycles Project Society. Matthew has worked as an environmental educator for the last decade, with a focus on schoolyard food gardens and school food systems.

Brent Mansfield has broad interests and experience in food systems policy, planning and education and is passionate about working collaboratively across sectors to catalyze change in the food system. He is the Director of the BC Food Systems Network, a provincial network focused on developing more healthy, just and sustainable food systems in urban, rural and remote communities across British Columbia. He is also currently working on a contract as the Project Lead for Food Literacy in Schools with the Directorate of Agencies for School Health (DASH-BC), supporting school communities across the province to work together to take a whole school approach to food literacy. From 2010-2014 he worked as the Community Liaison and Food Policy Research Lead for the Think&EatGreen@School Project, playing a number of roles around partnerships, professional development and policy development. Previous to working at UBC he was the Garden Program Coordinator the Garden at Grandview/¿uuquinak’uuh Elementary School and a teacher in the Vancouver School Board.

Thanks for Celebrating Food With Us!

In place of our regular meeting in April, the Vancouver Food Policy Council and the City of Vancouver Food Policy co-hosted a Celebration of Food Policy in the City. We had a great turnout of old and new friends of the VFPC including some of our past members and City of Vancouver liaisons.

The evening opened with a history of food policy in the city that was shared by James O’Neill,  a planner with Social Policy at the City of Vancouver and one of our awesome staff liaisons to the VFPC. Some key achievements since adopting the Food Strategy in 2013 include:

  • Adoption of the Parks Board Local Food Action Plan – a policy to support and enable food related activities in our parks and recreation centres.
  • Development of Vancouver’s Food Cart program – not that many years ago, we only had hot dogs on the street, Food Carts are now a permanent fixtures on our streets with food styles from all over the world.
  • Reaching and exceeding the “2010 by the year 2010″ garden plots target, and ongoing support of these gardens through infrastructure improvements.
  • Establishing beekeeping and backyard hen guidelines
  • A Farmers Market Policy that allows farmers markets as defined use on zoned lands, and not just a special event permits – there are now 13 seasonal farmers markets
  • Funding to support Neighbourhood Food Networks through the Sustainable Food Systems Grants available each year.
  • Initiating food scraps/green bin pick up from all single family homes.
  • Supporting urban farming through zoning and development and licence bylaw changes.

Former VFPC co-chair Trish Kelly moderated our panel of engaging speakers who touched on some areas of the food system that have been especially impacted by the Food Strategy, including street food/food carts, waste management, emergency food provisioning, and the neighbourhood food networks.

We wrapped up the evening with our Golden Carrot Awards Ceremony. The awards were intended to honour and celebrate the significant and positive advances that have been made to create more just and sustainable food systems in the City of Vancouver. We invited members of the public to nominate individuals, teams, or organizations in each of five award categories, each aligning with a Vancouver Food Strategy goal.


In the goal area of ”support food friendly neighbourhoods”, congratulations to award winner Jason Hsieh from Vancouver Park Board Staff and Renfrew Collingwood Food Security Institute!

Celebrate Food With Us - Jason Heish

Jason has been a champion of food friendly neighbourhood for many years, beginning with his work in the Renfrew Collingwood neighbourhood, and scaling out across Vancouver since working with Park Board with a food policy portfolio.  He is skilled at building relationships and connections as a frontline facilitator, and in bringing stakeholders together across sectors  at the policy level.  From his work at the Neighbourhood House, Jason implemented “a vision premised on fresh ingredients, high nutritional quality, and creative reciprocal learning. He also established a neighbourhood reputation as someone who created warm, inclusive and food-friendly spaces”. He has been instrumental in leading community gardens, community food workshops and kitchen programs and mentoring youth leaders. At the Park board he has been a champion and tireless worker to increase access to gardening spaces, ensure the Park Board continues to support food programming as a tool of community development in community centres and park, and helped realize the food-focused Field House residency program.

In the goal area of “empower residents to take action”, congratulations to award winner Hives for Humanity!

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Hives for Humanity is a non-profit organization that encourages community connections through beekeeping.  They have grown from one bee hive to over 100 hives around the city with over 1 million bees! They were nominated for their work that empowers residents through learning and mentorship, as well as for the work they do building strong partnerships and collaborations between individuals and organizations in the DTES. They foster connectivity to nature and to each other. They support at-risk populations of people and pollinators, and they do it with respect and joy. They also participate in and create local sustainable economies with the honey, candles, salves and tinctures that they develop with community. You can purchase their yummy honey at a number of retailers around town.

In the goal area of “access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food”, congratulations to award winner Najia Elacel from the Renfrew Collingwood Food Security Institute!

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Najia wears many hats: she is a kitchen facilitator, community connector and community chef all at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House. Najia goes above and beyond to improve access to healthy, affordable, and culturally diverse food for all residents whether for a group of 20 at a community kitchen workshop or 150 at a neighbourhood wide Christmas lunch. She is extremely successful in creating a safe space for stories to be shared and skill-building opportunities to take place.  She uses food as a tool to work across communities and differences to bring people and programs together in unique and innovative ways. E.g. working with the Collingwood Building Service Workers to facilitate an evening workshop on Tandoori Chicken, and collaborating with Collingwood’s Settlement Team to connect and support Syrian families to build safe and inviting space around the kitchen to share their stories as they navigate the settlement in Canada. It is evident that Najia continues to inspire other community members to get involved and see their own strengths and potential. She continues to give a tremendous amount to the neighbourhood.

In the goal area of “Make Food A Centrepiece of Vancouver’s Green Economy”, congratulations to award winner Sole Food Street Farms!

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Founded in 2008 by Michael Ableman and Seann Dory, Sole Food’s mission is to provide low-income residents of the Downtown Eastside with “jobs, agricultural training, and inclusion in a supportive community of farmers and food lovers.” Being a non-profit social initiative, priority is placed upon improving the community and providing employment for people with barriers to traditional employment and who may be struggling with other challenges. Employees receive paid training, secure and flexible work hours, and gain skills that are transferable to other employment opportunities.  In 2013, Sole food distributed $40,000 worth of healthy and local produce to DTES agencies and kitchens. Sole foods continues to push the boundaries and innovation on urban farming and the green economy.  Through their innovation and leadership they make us all think about the new possibilities of what our food system could be in an urban setting.

In the goal area of “Advocating for a Just and Sustainable Food System”, congratulations to award winner the Greater Vancouver Food Bank!

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The Greater Vancouver Food Bank is leading significant change. They are moving from a traditional food bank model to one that focuses on quality of food, food access and choice and building food skills and food literacy. The Food Bank is transforming the way they do business empowering people to nourish themselves by providing access to healthy food, education and training.  As they themselves make these changes, they are pushing others to make changes as well – and make others think about the role of food banks in our community. They’re leading by example by: buying directly from farmers, changing their model of food depots to community food hubs,  and developing Curbside Fresh Program which provides affordable healthy food in neighbourhoods.

Thanks to UBC Food Services for providing the delicious and colourful platters of food that provided the important nourishment for us the night

Thanks to UBC Food Services for providing the delicious and colourful food that provided the important nourishment for the night

Thanks to everyone who made it out to the event and who put in extra time to make the event happen, especially David Speight from UBC Food Services for the delicious and colourful platters of food that provided the important nourishment for us that night, our staff liaisons Sarah Carten and James O’Neill who did much of the organizing, our special guests Sarb Mund, Patrick Chau, Aart Schuurman Hess, Lauren Brown, and Trish Kelly, our staff, Council, and Parks Board liaisons for handing out our Golden Carrot Awards, and to Maria – our official event photographer! 

Celebrate Food With Us - Group Shot

Some of the past and present Food Policy Council members in attendance

 

Special April Meeting: Celebrate Food With Us!

Come Celebrate Food with Us on Wed. April 13th!

In place of our regular meeting this April, the Vancouver Food Policy Council and the City of Vancouver Food Policy team are pleased to co-host a Celebration of Food Policy in the City.

 Wednesday, April 13th | 6-8:30pm
City Hall – Town Hall room | All Welcome

As part of the evening, a panel of speakers will help visualize the impact of Vancouver’s Food Strategy.

Panelists:

  • Sarb Mund – Founder and Owner of Commissary Connect
  • Patrick Chau – Solid Waste, City of Vancouver
  • Aart Schuurman Hess – CEO of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank
  • Lauren Brown – Strathcona Community Centre Food Security Program and Neighbourhood Food Network

Facilitator:

  • Trish Kelly, Community Food Hub Director of Greater Vancouver Food Bank, and past member and Co-chair of the Food Policy Council

The evening will also celebrate and recognize 5 champions in the food movement in Vancouver, each nominated for their work impacting one of the Food Strategy goals. If you haven’t already done so, nominate someone for the Golden Carrot Award (deadline March 21st).

Please share this invitation with other key food policy influencers and in particular, any past VFPC members.

February 17th VFPC Meeting

All are welcome to join us for our next meeting:

Wednesday, February 17th, 6-8:30pm, Town Hall Room, Vancouver City Hall

Our agenda includes an extended update from the Right to Food Working Group featuring Kevin Huang, guest speaker from the Hua Foundation, who will be speaking about independent grocery stores and cultural food assets in Chinatown. We also have time allocated to a discussion of potential changes to urban farming policy with one of our City staff liaisons, James O’Niell.

Download the full proposed agenda here.

Vancouver Soil Celebration

This Friday, in honour of World Soil Day and to finish off celebrations of the 2015 UN International Year of Soils, we are pleased to bring you the Vancouver Soil Celebration at City Hall. Please join us for a free soils tour around City Hall. Andrea Reimer, Deputy Mayor, will read the Vancouver Soil Day Proclamation.

The event is presented in partnership by City of Vancouver, UBC Botanical Garden, Society Promoting Environmental Conservation and the Vancouver Food Policy Council.

What: Free tour and reading of Vancouver Soil Proclamation
When: Friday Dec 4th – World Soil Day
Time: 12 – 1 pm
Where: City Hall (453 West 12th) **meet at the community garden on the North Side of City Hall
Who: YOU! and Andrea Reimer, Deputy Mayor; Dr. Tara Moreau (VFPC Co-Chair); and Dr. Art Bomke
Van Soil Celebration

November 25th Meeting

We invite you to join us at our next meeting:

Wednesday November 25th, 6-8:30pm, Town Hall Room, Vancouver City Hall

We will be hearing updates from our Liaisons to the VFPC about food policy activities happening in their departments, continuing our strategic planning process, and forming working groups on specific issue areas that we will be focusing on over the coming months. Members of the public are welcome to join VFPC working groups so if you are looking for ways to get involved with the work of the council, this is a great time to come out and see where you can contribute.

See the full proposed agenda here.

June 24 Meeting: The Vancouver Food Strategy & The Right to Food Special Event

Join us for our June meeting at a special location and time! We will be having a 1-hour condensed meeting so that we can participate in the ‘Right to Food in Canada’ event hosted by the BC Civil Liberties Association.

Wednesday, June 24

5:45-6:45 – 1-hour council meeting at Woodward’s Building (Hastings @ Abbott) 5th Floor (take main elevators up to 5th floor)

*note that we are starting 15 minutes early*

AGENDA

5:45-6:00 – Introductions & Updates

6:00-6:45 – Vancouver Food Strategy Updates and the role of the VFPC in moving it forward

6:45-7:00 – Travel to Carnegie Centre

7:00-9:00 – ‘A Right to Food in Canada’

On June 24th, join us as we explore what it means to have a “right to food” in Canada.  Come and learn about the BC Civil Liberties Association’s right to food project and our research on how Canadian law can be used to enforce the right to food.  You’ll also hear from a panel of Vancouver experts about what communities are doing in the absence of a rights-based national food strategy and the ways they are working towards food justice and an end to poverty.

Laura Track, BCCLA lawyer and Right to Food project lead will join in conversation with:
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Paul Taylor, Executive Director, Gordon Neighbourhood House
Doris Chow, Downtown Eastside Kitchen Tables Project
Gil Aguilar, BC Poverty Reduction Coalition and Migrant Workers Dignity Association
Graham Riches, UBC Professor Emeritus

Light refreshments will be provided.

This event will take place June 24th, 7-9pm at Carnegie Community Centre Theatre, 401 Main St. Vancouver.  Click here to visit our Facebook event page.  Click here to download an event poster in PDF format: Vancouver-Right-to-Food-poster.pdf

Event website: https://bccla.org/events/2015/06/a-right-to-food-in-canada/