April 12th meeting agenda

Agenda for the April 12th meeting:

  1. Homelands acknowledgements
  2. Introductions & Housekeeping
    1. Introductions
    2. Housekeeping
    3. Meeting Supporting Working Group
  3. Approve minutes from March 2017 meeting
  4. Liaison and WG Updates 10 min
    1. City Staff Liaisons
    2. Parks Board
    3. Vancouver Coastal Health – Claire Gram
    4. Waste – Zero Waste 2040
    5. Provincial Questionnaire Update
  5. Parks Board: Food Programming Opportunities
  6. Break
  7. Food Strategy Reheat
  8. Bread Basket
  9. Motion to Adjourn

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!

IMGP0786

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!

IMGP0771

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!

IMGP0777

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!

IMGP0782

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

 

May 13th Meeting

Please join us for the next Food Policy Council meeting:

May 13th, 6-8:30 PM, Town Hall Room, Vancouver City Hall

There will be a presentation by the Park Board on their Local Food Action Plan, as well as in-depth discussions on the Roles and Responsibilities of the VFPC.

See the proposed agenda here >>

Click on the links below to view presentation made at the meeting:

City of Vancouver Presentation

Food Policy Council Presentation

November 13 Meeting: Intercultural Food Literacy & the Hua Foundation

We are back in our regularly scheduled location and time for our next meeting November 13, 6-8:30 PM, Town Hall Room, City Hall.

This month we are welcoming the Hua Foundation.

Hua Foundation is a new youth-driven nonprofit that grew out of the program Shark Truth. Their mission is to reunite the worlds of cultural heritage and environmental action in their community starting with the topic of healthy, sustainable eating. What does that mean around our family’s dinner tables? Where can we get locally-grown organic bak choi? These are some of the questions they’re trying to answer. At this Food Policy Meeting, they will present their idea to start an “Asian CSA” through partnerships of local urban farmers as a sort of Case Study. The short-term goal is to get a conversation around building a market for local, organic Asian produce but what should the CSA model look like? What are good long-term objectives for making it accessible to the masses? Should it be through supermarkets? Encouraging people to grow on their own? What will it take to support our community in localizing/making our diets as sustainable as possible? Can the City of Vancouver support these goals, in what ways?

The proposed meeting agenda can be found here: VFPC – November 2013 Draft Meeting Agenda

July 10 VFPC meeting on Indigenous Food Sovereignty

On this very proud day for our city when Mayor Gregor Robertson proclaimed June 21st, 2013 to June 20th, 2014 as the “Year of Reconciliation” we would like to invite you to a potluck dinner, presentation and discussion on Indigenous Food Sovereignty in Vancouver and the bioregion hosted by the Vancouver Food Policy Council and the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty (http://www.indigenousfoodsystems.org/about). Click here for a pdf of the poster and agenda with more details.

June 12 Meeting: Transitioning Away from a Charitable Food System

We are excited to announce that we are going to be having Anna Cavouras, the Right to Food Programmer from the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House (http://dtesnhouse.ca/food-philosophy) and Doris Chow, Project Manager for the Downtown Eastside (DTES) Kitchen Tables Project (http://dteskitchentables.org) with us at our June meeting to explore our theme, “Transitioning Away from a Charitable Food System: Grounding the Right to Food in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside”. Click here for a link to the agenda.

As per usual we will be meeting from 6-8:30pm in the Town Hall Room at City Hall. As it is after hours please enter the building through the south entrance off of 12th Avenue. Please forward the meeting information to those who you think would be interested in coming . We hope to see you there!

Download the meeting agenda >>

May Foodie Updates

vfpc-may2013

Some notes from our May VFPC meeting…

The Bread Affair just received their new flour mill recently, allowing them to localize and control the processing of local flour! The Bread Affair is BC’s only certified organic artisan bakery serving Greater Vancouver with ties throughout BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. They will be at various Farmers Markets throughout, including Haney Farmers Market (Maple Ridge), Burnaby Farmers Market, and Trout Lake Farmers Market! Yum!

There is a new mobile food market in town! Allowing affordable and fresh produce to areas where people who have difficulty getting nutritious food, the project is critical to the health of the community.  Thank you South Granville Seniors Centre and The Westside Food Collaborative for making this happen! How exciting!!

The Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC) is looking to getting more school gardens into the schools in our community. Wouldn’t it be nice to see some more in our lives? Especially ones like the newly constructed School Farm at Vancouver Technical Secondary School!

Also, look out for a new School Garden opening up at David Thompson Secondary School with the collaboration of Fresh Roots Urban Farm and the Vancouver School Board!

Calling out to all questions that you have about the food system in Vancouver! What do you want to discuss? What topics do you think we should look at? We want to hear from everyone!  Email us at education@vancouverfoodpolicycouncil.ca

– Lihwen Hsu – VFPC working group 

South-West BC Food System Design and Planning Project

Slides from Kent Mullinix’s Presentation at March Meeting It was another great turnout for our March meeting as Kent Mullinix and some of his team from Kwantlen University were with us for the second half of the meeting to talk about the South-West BC Food System Design and Planning Project that they are working on. Kent gave an inspiring overview of the project and then there was some questions and comments followed by some lively discussion in small groups.

vfpc-mar-photos2013
VFPC March Meeting

Meatless Mondays

By Lihwen Hsu, VFPC Working Group 

After the presentation and co-facilitation of a discussion on sustainable diets by Eleanor Boyle, author of “High Steaks: Why and How to Eat Less Meat”, at the Vancouver Food Policy Council’s February meeting, an idea was discussed to get City Council to create a proclamation for a ‘Meatless Monday’ on May 6th!

To grasp an understanding of what Meatless Monday is, it starts with what is on our plate. The food that we eat comes from the earth and what we have on that plate varies. Where we get our food, how we get our food, what we get, and why we get it, are questions that are often not asked in our daily routine.

Meatless Monday is an event that gives us pause to think about it. It is about healthy sustainable eating for ourselves and for the environment. By making a Monday, meat-free, it causes people to become more aware of the environmental impact their food choices make.  Livestock uses 30% of the earth’s entire land surface, responsible for a large portion of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (FAO, 2006) that contribute to climate change. By reducing the meat intake in our diet, it can also decrease the risk for health risks such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

We can eat less meat. We can buy meat raised sustainably and compassionately, and we can encourage a better food policy to support this. We are not only doing it for our environment, but also for our communities and ourselves.  The City of Vancouver has the opportunity to become the first Canadian city to adopt this, give your support and tell your friends about it!

Learn more at http://meatlessmonday.ca

Also, check out this short film directed by Ali Rashti and Russell Bennett, called “Meathead”:

Meathead is a film noir set in a future world where eating meat is illegal. This film is a tribute to the “Meatless Mondays” campaign to raise climate change awareness.