The Britannia School Garden Honey Bees are Thriving

Spent an hour with the bees this week and amazing with how well they are doing. The hives are very full with what looks like several thousand bees. We have been adding broad chambers and honey supers. I think the bee keepers were also wanting to move a queen to another hive to avoid swarming  as the hives were filling fast.  Tasted some dark rich honey from these hives for the first time. There is much to learn about keeping bees and I look forward to working with our beekeeper teacher and her students as part of her Communications class next term.

East End Food Co-op Support Needed

The East End Food Co-op has been operating out of our small storefront at 1034 Commercial Drive since 1975. Initially launched as a buying club, we’re proud to offer healthy, local, organic, and fair trade products to over 11,000 members. We employ a unionized staff of ten employees and support hundreds of local producers, many from right in our neighbourhood.

Our co-op is in a crisis. Jimmy Pattison purchased Choices last year and their store across the street has doubled in size. This has seen our sales plummet up to 20%, and we are now under threat of closing our doors in the coming months if this does not change.

We have been responding very seriously to this crisis, with new investment from Vancity, a new marketing and member outreach campaign, and a new manager in place as of this week. Our staff have also stepped up in a big way, accepting a reduction in benefits in order to help keep our doors open.

But we can’t do it without the support of our community. We are asking our progressive neighbours in Vancouver to support in any of the following ways:

–  Join us at our AGM on Monday, June 25 (7pm-9pm at the WISE Hall) to learn more and connect over food & music

–  Shop at the Co-op and spread the word about the need for support with your community

–  Consider volunteering or making an investment in the co-op. (Message me for details)

The East End Food Co-op is Vancouver’s only community-owned grocery store. I’ve been volunteering on the board for the past eight years because I believe a co-op has a very important role to play in advancing food security and ensuring support for independent producers in Vancouver. We still have a promising future and plans to grow – but first we must survive this crisis.

Feel free to share this message more broadly in your networks. Let me know if you have any questions, and it would be great to see you at the meeting next week or in the store!

Graham Anderson
President, East End Food Co-op

Taste of Damascus: A Syrian Fundraiser Community Dinner

Join us for this Syrian fundraiser dinner and help support the fundraising effort of the Grandview Woodland Refugee Initiative to bring together family members living in Syria with their loved ones residing in our community here in Vancouver.  This fundraiser will include a wonderful Syrian dinner prepared by Carmen Aldakhlollah and her mother Hayat Shabo with A Taste of Damascus.  We will also have musical entertainment, silent auction, and great company.

When:    Sunday, June 24, 5 - 9pm
Where: Britannia Community Centre, Canucks Family Education Centre, 1655 William Street (above Eastside Family Place)
Cost: $50
Registration: Britannia Community Centre: 604-718-5800 or online at

More information: 604-718-5895   

Kimchi Workshop

Had a great Kimchi workshop recently led by Sarah Lim. Kimchi workshops are quite popular with people interested in the health benefits and great taste.

Kimchi is a high fiber, and nutrient-packed side dish full of a range of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and vitamin C. It is also rich in essential amino acids and minerals such as iron, calcium, and selenium and has powerful antioxidants and provides an additional benefit of probiotics as well in the form of lactobacillus bacteria. It contains numerous helpful components including capsaicin, chlorophyll, carotenoids, flavonoids, and isothiocyanates and has a low amount of fat and sugar.

Harvest Time

I remember a teacher telling me that student success is significantly improved when they experience tangible results from their learning. With this in mind, I work hard to ensure that the seeds that the students plant germinate well and grow into healthy plants that the students can say they grew themselves. Better yet when we actually get to harvest the veggies to make fresh garden salads. I try to convey how profound it is to actually grow and eat your own food, freshly picked and full of nutrients. Some kids get it and really enjoy the salads.

Sustenance Festival Update

As most of you already know Sustenance Festival is an annual arts, culture, and food festival organized by the Vancouver Park Board. During 2017 staff undertook a relationship-building process with the goal to work towards greater social and cultural inclusion.  As a result 1) a report was written which includes valuable feedback from community groups on experiences working within the Park Board (PB) system 2) a fund of $5000 was created in order to provide greater support to groups working on food, arts, and culture initiatives 3) new relationships and partnerships are forming with groups who want to work with PB and 4) the Sustenance Festival format is being reenvisioned by an Interculturalism Advisory Committee.


With the aim to continue building reciprocal relationships with new and existing partners and individuals, we are inviting community centres to participate in two ways:

  1. Program a food, arts, and culture initiative (event, workshop series, dialogue, etc.) for the fall season that provides an opportunity for some kind of cultural exchange or learning (ex. sharing a family story or the history behind a special dish that is shared). In general, it is preferable to program a series or an ongoing event rather than a one-off. Send the info to and we’ll put it up on the Sustenance website.
  2. Apply to the Sustenance Community Fund if you have an idea you feel you need support with (such as funding support or advice on how to plan a culturally focused event or series). For more info and to apply please see attached form. We will select 3-6 centres and those selected may have the opportunity to be showcased at the larger Sustenance Festival event in the fall. Initiatives will be showcased on the Sustenance website.


Regardless of how you are participating this year please include this generic blurb and the attached logo in your brochure. If you already know what your specific program will be you can also include it under the generic blurb. If you don’t know before your brochure deadline, don’t worry, we can include it on the Sustenance Festival website which is linked in the blurb.

The Sustenance Festival is back starting September 2018! After a year-long process of research and relationship-building we will spend 2018 focusing on events and workshops that create opportunities for greater social and cultural inclusion in the food, arts, and culture communities. Check out the website for upcoming food, art and culture events near you!