Keep Cottonwood Gardens Green

Dear Mayor Gregor Robertson and Council,

I would first like to thank you for the very important Greenest City Program that your government has recently initiated. The many important strategies and actions outlined in this program are critically important in helping to move our city towards a necessarily more ecologically sustainable future.

While I applaud your work on this initiative, I am writing on behalf of the Grandview Woodland Food Connection to express our concern over the proposed Malkin Street Connector and the very real potential of this redevelopment negatively impacting the Cottonwood and Strathcona Community Gardens. We are a community food network dedicated to supporting opportunities for community residents to build their skills and knowledge to grow their own food as well as improving resident’s access to healthy fresh food, so the possibility of these gardens being paved over is very worrying. These are without question two of the most important community gardens in North America in terms of their size, urban biodiversity, food production, and educational space. Few cities in North America can brag of having such places and these gardens should be regarded as urban treasures prioritized as essential urban green space for the above-mentioned reasons.

The Grandview Woodland Food Connection regards community gardens as foundational programs in building food secure communities and we have helped to establish a number of successful food gardens in the Grandview Woodland neighbourhood. We are currently working with Britannia Secondary to create new school food gardens and regard Cottonwood Community Gardens as sister learning spaces for the students who we are working with. We visit Cottonwood and Strathcona Gardens and have a close working relationship with the Environmental Youth Alliance who maintain a youth garden at Cottonwoods that also provides educational opportunities for youth, some of whom have included Britannia students. Many students are amazed when they see these gardens, which offer a multitude of teaching opportunities.

The City is about to release its new and eagerly anticipated urban food strategy. We expect that this strategy will include the continued support and expansion of community gardens and urban agriculture opportunities in Vancouver. Both Cottonwood and Strathcona Gardens exemplify the best of urban food gardens. Maintaining these gardens in-situ must be given priority over road expansion if the City is truly committed to building a green city that supports the improved health of its citizens and natural ecosystems.

Thanks you for your consideration and we look forward to a positive outcome for these gardens.

Ian Marcuse
Community Food Developer, Grandview Woodland Food Connection

For more information on this issue visit:

Thanks for a successful fundraiser

The past week, the Grandview Woodland Food Connection partnered up with Slow Food Vancouver and the Eastside Family Place who are co-gardeners in our new Britannia School garden, to host a school food gardens film fundraiser and dinner with funds raised to support the Britannia School Food Garden and the Thousand Gardens in Africa Project.

A big thanks to everyone who came out and supported this very successful fundraising event. We are pleased to say that we raised close to $2400.

Also a big thanks to our business supporters, who without their contributions we could not have held this event. First, a big thanks to our volunteer chefs from Foodwisdom and Joni Wright and special thanks to our principal sponsors:

Sustenance Festival
Pharmasave on the Drive
Dr Penny Thompson
Britannia Community Centre

And to all the other businesses that donated food or silent auction items:

Axum Resturaunt
Fiore Farms/Fiore Fine Foods
BOS Banana Co-op
Canadian Hazelnut Company, Agassiz
Pitchfork Organics
East End Food Co-op
Cedar Isle Farms
Southlands Farm
Black Dog Video
Dilly Dally
Easy Park
Ethical Bean
Esscents Aromatherapy
Farm Folk City Folk
The World In A Garden
Highlife Records
Home Hardware
Little Nest
Storm Brewing
Storm Crow
Take-Five Cafe
Tracey’s In Laws
Boffo Family of Companies

We Are Now On Facebook

So much of our work is about relationship building which is fundamental to all community development work. Me being sorta old school, I was all about face to face connections or at the least voice to voice and barring that email to email. Obviously the best way to connect people is by bringing people together through kitchens, workshops, potlucks, festivals and by creating such events we have fairly successfully grown our network to close to 800 members. It has worked despite the overwhleming influence of new social media.

Thing is the food security movement is growing and our wish to connect and inform is increasing so yup, we are going facebook So check out our new page, share with others and join as friends or whatever one does on facebook (I am still learning how it all works).

Thanks and sorta see you on facebook.