It is always satisfying to look back on the year and the meaningful work that we have accomplished. As each year passes, awareness of the importance of food access and justice continues to grow. Everywhere in the media is talk of food security and the Grandview Woodland Food Connection along with our host organization, Britannia continue to lead the effort at the neighborhood level. This year at the GWFC was marked by an increased focus on reconciliation and the importance of addressing Indigenous food systems. We left 2016 looking very much forward to a few exciting new projects in 2017. Here a few highlights from the past year.
Wild Salmon Caravan – The GWFC was excited to partner with the Indigenous led Wild Salmon Defenders to help organize the 2016 Wild Salmon Caravan, recognizing the critically important cultural and ecological value of protecting wild salmon. Ensuring access to salmon, especially for Indigenous communities is a food justice priority.
Britannia Carving Pavilion Garden – The creation of the Carving Pavilion Garden is providing a unique opportunity for a class of Britannia Secondary students to learn about traditional and contemporary Indigenous foods, medicines, and other material plant uses.
Wild Minds – The georgeous 4.5 acre Strathcona and Cottonwood Gardens, with their wide diversity of spaces and species, provided the perfect two week Wild Minds youth summer gardening internship. A group of 10 youth got hands-on experience growing food, learning about ecology, and rewilding a garden area.
Britannia Bulk Buy – This food distribution program continues to expand and now serves over 60 low income households, improving their food access to healthy fruits and veggies at a cost savings of up to 40% over retail prices for participants. Additional food donations from the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and Choices food rescue help supplement this program.
Grade 3 Potato Farm – One of our favorite programs is the Britannia Elementary Potato Farm, which teaches the young students about the full food production cycle, including planting, watering, harvesting, cooking and eating a healthy roasted potatoes and veggie lunch that they grew themselves. Imagine the fun the kids had digging for buried spuds.
Britannia Day of Reconciliation – Britannia Community Centre has amended its constitution to better address reconciliation. Twice yearly, Britannia and the community recognize and celebrate achievements and work towards reconciliation. Food too can bridge difference and the GWFC was proud to help cater to the close to 400 people in attendance at this event.
Off the Grill Youth Meal Program – An wonderful group of Britannia youth help prepare, cook, and serve food as part of an outdoor warm season meal program serving youth and community members healthy dinners. The program builds food literacy, nutrition, and community. 724 meals were served with youth eating for free and community members paying $5.
Food Skills Workshops – A total of 16 food workshops, in addition to our community kitchens, were organized this year with over 100 people participating in a wide variety of workshops, ranging from sausage making, canning, fermentation, healthy vegan, tamales, sushi, kombucha, kefir, and more. All made for a healthy eating year.
Britannia School Garden Fundraiser – This year saw our most successful fundraiser, raising over $10,000 for school gardening as well as the Eastside Family Place Little Sprouts program and SEGA Girl’s School in Tanzania. The event drew over 100 supporters for an evening of music, dinner, large silent auction, and 27 amazing homemade desert pies.
McSpadden Park County Fair – Was great to participate in the 1st annual McSpadden Fair here in Grandview Woodland where we set up an information table and won 2nd prize for our Britannia garden basket. The featured highlight was the zucchini races, lots of fun for the kids, and which saw some very creative zucchini racers and a few mash ups.
Stone Soup Festival – Britannia and the Grandview Woodland Food Connection carry on the two decade old Stone Soup tradition in the sprit of celebrating healthy and sustainable food in our community. Despite a very wet spring, we were blessed with sunshine and around 2000 community members came to check out the food education, sustainability, and arts and culture.