Food Costing in BC 2017

The BC Centre for Disease Control in partnership with the Provincial Health Services Authority just released their cost of a nutritionally adequate diet in BC in 2017. The data in this report represent the “average monthly cost of a nutritionally adequate, balanced diet in BC based on the National Nutritious Food Basket (NNFB) and provides insight into the effects of household food insecurity on individuals and families”.

Not surprisingly food costs are increasing on average over 4% since 2015. The average monthly cost for a family of 4 in Vancouver is estimated at $1,098 based on a sample of 245 stores and the cost of a nutritious food basket. For a single male 19 – 30 years the food cost is $316.

We also know that income assistance rates are well below what is considered the poverty line which is somewhere around $21,000 for a single person or $30,000 for a family of two*. A single adult on income assistance in BC receives $710/month.

According to Raise the Rates, “the average rent in a private Downtown Eastside SRO hotel room, the cheapest housing around, is now $687 a month. Subtract $687 from the total monthly welfare rate of $710 for a single adult, and all you have left is $23 or about $6 a week for everything”.
So with an monthly average food basket cost of $272 – $323, depending on age as per the BCCDC report, a single person on income assistance simply has no money for food and is forced to use food banks and other community food programs to eat. In a country with such wealth, many consider this to be criminal. Even the BC Civil Liberties Association has considered a legal challenge on this issue based on both international law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Read the food-costing-BC-2017

*The poverty line is based on the latest Statistics Canada’s Market Basket Measure data for Vancouver (2016) adjusted for inflation to 2018.

Wild Minds 2018 Final Report

Wild Minds brought together 14 awesome youth in a fun and engaging summer youth gardening program  to explore, learn, play, and work in the beautiful Strathcona and Cottonwood Community garden in Vancouver’s Strathcona inner city neighbourhood.

A key program focus was supporting youth immersion and connection with urban wilderness.

Many of the youth who participated attend nearby Britannia Secondary School. They represented a variety of cultural backgrounds. Some were newcomers to Canada. Most were from lower income households and face barriers due to colonization and racial discrimination.

The opportunities to learn in the gardens were varied and unique, keeping the youth engaged and interested. The youth showed alot of interest in the 4.5 acre gardens which include orchards, bee hives, community gardens, pond areas, animal habitat, food forests, herb gardens, and existing wild areas. The beauty of these gardens provided the youth a wonderful immersion in urban wildness

As one youth commented “I actually frequent this garden often being able to come back to nature and learn about the space that I love was a very amazing experience. I have noticed that I feel more at peace. Spending so much time in the garden has made my behavior alot less self destructive. In a way, it has given me time to live with a clear mind and has lifted weights off my shoulder”.

Wild Minds emerged in 2016 as a program collaboration between the Grandview Woodland Food Connection and the Environmental Youth Alliance.

2018 Wild Minds Report

A Walk on the FoodFit Path: Our First GWFC FoodFit by Siobhan Barker

The inaugural FoodFit program had an amazing turn out of committed individuals that dug into the content of the 13 week Healthier (food & fitness) choices. Amongst 19 weekly participants there was a mix of backgrounds; Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, Ability levels (Physical & Mental Health) and Socio-economic.
 
The program has a plant-based menu with a few sessions that include fish, eggs, or chicken so it is able to accommodate and support different diets from, no-pork, gluten/or lactose-free to vegan with modest adjustments. As one participant noted, “I love the knowledge section. Alot of info is new and interesting and it’s informing my [food] choices”.
 
Our main group exercise is 30min of Cardio building walking with level #1-3 so everyone gets a pace that best suits. Participants enjoyed meeting new people, sharing knowledge and skills and building regular exercise into their daily routine at a pace that was suited to their ability. FoodFit is not for everyone!! It is for those dedicated individuals that like the appeal of
committing to trying something a little new for 13 weeks in the hopes of making lasting healthier changes that will positively impact their future quality of life one small step at a time.

Wild Salmon Caravan 2018 Highlights

The Grandview Woodland Food Connect was pleased and honored to again help organize and participate in the Indigenous led decolonization Wild Salmon Caravan. Beyond our involvement in core organizing, hosting many planning meetings at Britannia and supported logistics and arts build planning and activities for the Vancouver WSC parade, we further commissioned the building of a new bike float made by our artist in resident, Giles Chin. His creation of a beautiful mermaid (parade theme) float was a highlight of the parade, which ran along Granville street to the Roundhouse on Sept 22 and was a beautiful expression of grassroots art and social action in an effort to raise awareness of the need to protect wild salmon and support indigenous food sovereignty. The parade ended with a beautiful waterfront ceremony at David Lam Park and feast and performance at the Roundhouse. The GWFC also brought our previous year’s salmon bike float up to Chase in Secwepemc (Shushwap) territory and participated in the last leg of the WSC and Chase parade. Check out the Wild Salmon Caravan facebook page for lots more photos and videos of the parades and caravan –  https://www.facebook.com/wildsalmoncaravan/

The photos below are a few of the many beautiful photos taken by Murray Bush

Matriarchs and Mermaids to Launch 2018 Wild Salmon Caravan

 

 

 

The Grandview Woodland Food Connection is pleased to help organize and participate again in this year’s Wild Salmon Caravan supporting the need to protect wild salmon and supporting of Indigenous food sovereignty in Coast Salish and beyond waters and land.

The Wild Salmon Caravan will launch its fourth annual journey from Vancouver on Saturday, Sept. 22. The journey will begin with a lively splash of creativity and cultural expressions of reverence for wild salmon as we follow and celebrate them as they migrate from the Salish Seas to the Adams River.

The Vancouver parade and ceremony will be led by Indigenous Matriarchs and traditional hand drummers and singers from diverse cultural groups.  A full program of performances and speakers will follow with an exhibit of salmon leather making.

This year’s theme of Water People, or Mermaids, was inspired by stories from cultures around the world attempting to ‘explain the unexplainable’ and highlight the mystery of life in the oceans and waterways where wild salmon migrate thousands of kilometers. The parade will highlight the beauty and splendor of Indigenous Grandmothers in full regalia as well as the Mermaids and Mermen of BC on multiple floats and related costumes, banners and flags.   After the Vancouver launch, the Wild Salmon Caravan will continue with parades, ceremonies, community forums and cultural tours in Salish communities around Chilliwack, Lillooet, Merritt, Kamloops and Chase.

Caravan curator Dawn Morrison says, “The four-year life cycle and migration of wild Sockeye Salmon provides a powerful metaphor for social and ecological resiliency in Indigenous fishing communities which have some of the most sustainable strategies anywhere.  Wild salmon need us now more than ever to celebrate and honour their amazing generosity as a keystone species and to show the world how important they are to our Indigenous land and food systems.”

The celebration will start at 10 am with a festive parade from the 700 block of Granville Street to the Roundhouse Community Centre. Opening ceremonies will follow with Coast Salish acknowledgements by Audrey Siegl, Ocean George and Senaqwila Wyss, and a Wild Salmon Ceremony with 13 Matriarchs and the Pacific Association of First Nations Women, as well as Indigenous youth singers Latisha and Isaiah Wadhams Pelkey.

Performances will fill the afternoon until 3:30 pm with creative combinations of words and sounds shared by storytellers and performing artists including The Melawmen Collective, Tawahum Justin Bige, Earle Peach, Kalilah Rampenen, Just and speakers Eddie Gardner of the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance and Dawn Morrison of the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty.

Corn Festival 2018

Another fun Fiesta del Maiz (Corn Festival) at Britannia Community Services Centre. Organized by the Canada El Salvador Action Network with support from Grandview Woodland Food Connection, this festival runs on close to a zero budget, with alot of volunteer contribution, which gives it a very authentic, grassroots, community building, cultural sharing, and family vibe. What I also like about this festival is that while it includes performance, it is not merely performative for mass consumption, like many government funded (often with large amounts of money) multicultural events. It is a simple sharing of culture where the majority of participants are Latin American themselves, and while the idea is to also share Latin American culture will all people, very little if any English is spoken. It feels real.  Then of course the music and the food is really great making the Fiesta del Maiz a really wonderful community event.