FoodFit Program Coming to Britannia

FoodFit is a 12-week program for  community members who experience barriers around healthy eating and physical activity but who are motivated to make lasting changes to their health. The program combines fun, hands-on cooking sessions and food-based activities with take-home recipes, easy-to-understand nutrition information, group exercise, shared meals, self-directed individual and group goal-setting, and reflection and feedback loops that monitor and reinforce individual and group progress.

The FoodFit program is delivered by a trained facilitator to groups of 10 to 15 participants who will work with the facilitator through an intake process prior to starting the program which involves signing a pledge of commitment, tracking daily fruit and vegetable consump on and daily steps, taking biometric measurements, completing a pre- program survey and introducing individual goal setting.  Participants gather once a week and each program session is 3 hours and involves three key areas: a 30 minute group physical activity, a healthy-eating or physical activity knowledge module, and a cooking skills session followed by a shared group meal. Participants are encouraged to monitor their actions and refections on weekly physical activity, healthy eating practice and social connectedness in their FoodFit journal. At the end of the program, participants complete an end-program survey, track their daily fruit and vegetable consumption and daily steps, and take their biometric measurements. 3 to 6 months after completing the FoodFit program, participants will be asked to complete a post-program survey.

For more information or registration, contact Ian @ 604-718-5895


Grandview Woodland Food Connection Volunteer Opportunities 2018



















I would like to first express my deepest gratitude to those of you who volunteered with the Grandview Woodland Food Connection last year. We had a great year and with your help, we made it all that much better.

The GWFC is very much dependent on volunteer support. With only one paid staff, our capacity to deliver community food programming is somewhat limited. With a growing number of programs that we want to run and increasing demands, we are reliant on volunteers to a large extent.

And 2018 is shaping up to be a busy year and we are already looking forward to a few interesting projects along with the usual programming.

Here are a few opportunities that you might be interested in this coming year. Some of these volunteer opportunities are more “maintenance” in nature, ensuring that existing programs run smoothly, while other opportunities are more open to your creativity, interest, and experimentation. We welcome your project ideas and always want to innovate and stay open to new ways of doing things.

  • Britannia School Garden Fundraiser – This is our main school garden fundraiser and usually includes a gourmet meal, entertainment, and silent auction. This event is very popular in the community and we will try to hold the event outside near the garden this year. We are looking for a team of about 5 or 6 people to help with organizing – food donations, prep and cooking, communications and outreach, poster design, finding silent auction prizes and general event planning, including set up and clean up.
  • Bulk Food Driver – Our Bulk Food Program runs the 2nd and 3rd Thursday every month. We are looking for one or two drivers able to access our MODO truck (we can sign you up) to pick up food from Freshpoint, Discovery and Foodbank (all just 2km away) from 8:30am – 10:30am.
  • Britannia School Gardening Team – The Britannia school gardens are quite large and despite working with students in the garden through the year, we do not have them enough to fully maintain the gardens. Therefore we will be organizing monthly volunteer work parties through the growing season working on a variety of gardening tasks.
  • Community Food Resources Researcher – I have a community food resources page on my blog that needs updating.  This is a single one off project to update the information which will involve contacting agencies in the area for program updates.
  • Food Skills Workshop Assistants – We hope to start a new food skills and healthy living workshop this year and will be looking for support to run this program. This work will likely entail 3 – 4 hrs weekly and require good interpersonal skills with knowledge of healthy eating a strong asset.
  • Wild Salmon Caravan – The GWFC and Britannia have both been very involved as co-organizers in the Indigenous led Wild Salmon Caravan, as we will again this year. We will be looking for help mobilizing local communities, planning, creating art, etc. Last year we helped create a beautiful salmon bike float.
  • Raffle Fundraiser Coordinator – The GWFC is 100% dependent on grants and other forms of fundraising. One idea this year is to run a Class D raffle (up to $5,000) and would be looking for someone who is well organized to coordinate this project.  Raffles can be fun. Much of the work is recruiting people to sell booklets of tickets, something many people are more that happy to help do.
  • Food Workshop Educators – Do you have a special food skill that you would like to share? Presented as workshops, many of these are paid workshops, so earn a little money.
  • Syrian Dinner and Fundraiser – This special event will be held in the spring and we are looking for people to help organize this event. We will be raising funds to help sponsor a Syrian refugee family.
  • Small Neighborhood Grants Facilitator – I am not sure where this could go, but one idea is for the GWFC to help generate and /or support a variety of small food project ideas that community members could apply for funding (up to $500) to make a project happen.
  • Poverty Reduction Strategy Consultations Organizer – The BC govt. is initiating this public consultation until March 30. One idea is for us to host a small dialogue group/kitchens table forum to stimulate ideas and action towards this consultation.
  • GWFC Advisory – Are you interested in organizational development? We welcome individuals to be a part of our bi-monthly advisory meetings and help provide guidance, ideas, feedback and support, ensuring that we are delivering the best programming possible. The work expectation is minimal – just to show up once every couple of months and provide your input.
  • Video Documentation – Telling the story of our programs is important and what better way to tell that story than through video. We welcome anyone that would love to hone their video skills, even short YouTube uploads.

This is probably enough for now. Hopefully some of this interests you. We look forward to hearing from you or working with you in the future.


1. Ten Years and Growing

I am thrilled to have celebrated my 10th year as coordinator of the Grandview Woodland Food Connection, having started in the summer of 2007. I am also very proud to have seen the GWFC grow into a strong and stable organization, providing a range of innovative food programming through Britannia Community Centre over the past decade. Together with Britannia, we are recognized as leaders in the community food sector meeting a wide range of community needs particularly focusing on households who are struggling to put healthy and affordable food on the table.

As we look ahead to 2018 and with the Britannia Renewal on the near horizon (see below), we are very excited by the new possibilities to grow the GWFC significantly. Stay tuned to exciting new developments in the year ahead.

Ian Marcuse


110 community members joined us Oct 10th in this sharing of food, community connections, and celebration of the Jewish Sukkot Holiday. Sukkot expresses universal themes of harvest celebration, cultural identity, human vulnerability, and community. We were privileged to receive a welcome and blessing ceremony from Senaqwila Wyss of the Squamish Nation, whose lands we have come to occupy and live on followed by a Sukkot blessings from Rabbi Hannah Dresner,  An amazing dinner was then served up by Tayybeh, a Syrian social enterprise catering business that is supporting a group of recent Syrian immigrants to Vancouver.  Wonderful conversations ensued, signing, and sharing a wonderful dinner made for a beautiful event.

View more Sukkot photos


Wild Minds brought together a group of 12 youth for a summer gardening and ecology program where they  had the opportunity to visit various gardens and natural areas and helped to re-wild a beautiful community garden space in Strathcona and Cottonwood Community Gardens transforming then into a more diverse ecosystems. In the process, youth experienced a deep connection to nature and, gained new skills and knowledge about food growing, ecology, healthy eating, and environmental leadership.

Over the 9 sessions that the youth participated, they learned about bees and pollinators, native plants and soils, seedsaving, composting and mulching, permaculture practice, natural dyes, and plant clothing, animal habitat, food growing and garden maintenance, urban farming, herbs and medicinals, and fruit growing, to name a few.

Read the full Wild Minds report


Now in its 5th year, Off the Grill is a community meal program with a difference. With its focus on supporting youth well being and healthy food access, OTG is working to create positive connections between youth and other community members in the main outdoor Britannia plaza where many of the youth like to hang out.  Twice a week during the warm weather months, the plaza area becomes a hive of community connection around a communal dinner prepared by youth under the mentorship of a professional chef. OTG’s goals include youth food skills building, health promotion through nutritious food preparation, and community building and social inclusion through food sharing. Big thank you to Pasture 2 Plate for their organic grass fed meat donations.

View more Off the Grill photos


Another spectacular Wild Salmon Caravan Mardi Gras style parade with drumming, regalia, costumes, floats, signs, banners and more, which all express in celebration our love for and deep concern to protect Wild Salmon. Led by the Salish Matriarchs, the parade started at the Native Friendship Centre and walked up Commercial Drive to Trout lake where a salmon ceremony was held at the lake then followed by an amazing salmon feast, speakers, and performances. The GWFC is honored to help organize this event, recognizing that salmon are a critical food justice issue, in particular, for its importance to Indigenous people and a whole host of other species that depend on salmon for their survival.


Check out the Wild Salmon Caravan Parade Video

6. Britannia Renewal

Britannia Community Centre where the Grandview Woodland Food Connection is located will be renewed in the next few years, which means a new community centre. The GWFC has been front and centre in the Renewal planning advocating for new and improved food infrastructure as part of the new development. This includes a substantially larger and functional commercial kitchen, dinning halls, more food storage, greenhouse, and food growing areas.

Good news is the community is overwhelmingly supportive, recognizing that food plays a central role at Britannia and is important to all programming. It is like the heart of the centre and for all practical purposes we hope to see a centrally built food hub accessible and adjacent to main event space, and program spaces including the seniors, childcare, and youth spaces that make use of kitchen spaces regularly.  A final Master Plan is expected early in the new year.

We also prepared 6 community meals serving over 370 people as part of the public consultations.

7. GWFC Food Recovery

Food recovery, also known as food rescue is an important issue these days as we come to understand the enormous waste in our food system whether the waste is in production, shipping, retail and distribution, or even in our own fridges. The World Food Organization estimates that around 1/3 of all food produced globally is wasted, which is enough to feed billions.

As part of our effort to recover some of this waste, we have been collecting quality, mostly organic food from Choices Food Market and most recently, from Discovery Organics. This includes produce that may have some cosmetic damage or packaged food near or just past the best before date.  While there is concern that we are reproducing a two tier food access system, we need to ensure that the food is of a high quality. We also believe that much of food rescue should not be seen as food only fit of those in need, but which is quality food that all of us should be eating in our effort to reduce food waste.

Last year we collected over 10,000 lbs of food recovery, which was used in various meal programs and distributed through our Bulk Buy program.


8. Britannia Volunteer Workparty and Social BBQ

Had a great Volunteer Workparty and social with 18 of Britannia’s wonderful volunteers this summer who came out to the Nexway̓s wa lh7áy̓nexw (Transformed Life) School Garden at Britannia. We got alot of work done and had a delicious bbq dinner complete with fiddle music.  We would like to turn this into a yearly event as it was very popular.

Check out more Photos

9. Bulk Buy Program

Our Bulk Buy program continues to grow with 75 households now participating in the program from a range of backgrounds including many who are working but feeling financially pinched, seniors on pensions, folks on disability and income assistance and others. The program costs $14 to purchase wholesale produce from Freshpoint Foods which saved participants roughly 40% or a total of $2,800 over retail costs in 2017..

This past year we conducted our fist full evaluation of the program and hope to release the full findings soon, but we can report that 94% of participants reported eating more fruits and vegetables since joining in the program. In addition this year, we have been able to add more donated and free food, including organic rescue from Choices and Discovery Organics, a new newsletter, and starting this next year new food skills workshops for Bulk Buy participants.

10. Britannia School Gardening Program

Another wonderful year in the Britannia school gardens working with several Britannia classes every few weeks through the school year. School gardening continues to be our main focus. Working with youth has always made alot of sense, cliche aside, youth are the future and school gardening provides a very tangible, accessible,and practical way to teach youth about healthy eating and environmental leadership.

This past year we partnered with the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC) who led several interesting workshops of seed saving, composting, soils, and other gardening topics. We also worked closely with Metis herbalist Lori Snyder who taught us alot about native plant foods and medicines and how to cultivate them for our health. Was also great to deepen our integration of classroom curriculum and the garden, connecting students to topics including fungus and mosses, invertebrates, soil biology, and plant evolution.

Check out our school garden 2017 photos

Fall School Gardening

Had a beautiful day in the Britannia Secondary School garden today with herbalist Lori Snyder who shared with us her plant knowledge. Also showed us how to make cedar hydrosol, much like an aromatherapy. Also cleaned up the garden, harvested some parsnips which we brought over to the school cafeteria, pruned the raspberries, covered the beds with leaf mulch in preparation for the winter, and planted some more native plants including Lingonberry, Evergreen Huckleberry, Nootka Rose, Thimbleberry, and Red and Black Currant in the šxʷqʷeləwən ct Carving Centre garden.

Funding to support this program has been generously provided by Evergreen Foundation and Seeds of Change

Britannia Sukkot Festival Celebrated

The Grandview Woodland Food Connection/Britannia Community Centre in partnership with the Jewish Museum and Archives was very pleased to host the Sukkot Holiday celebration at Britannia on Oct 10th providing community a wonderful opportunity to experience this wonderful Jewish holiday. Over 120 people joined us in celebration, learning, and sharing in a wonderful Syrian dinner By Tayybeh that was held in the šxʷqʷeləwən ct Carving Centre.

Each year in October, the Jewish holiday of Sukkot is celebrated. It is both agricultural in nature, celebrating the harvest, as well as historical, commemorating the forty-year period during which the Jewish people roamed the desert after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt.

The word “Sukkot” refers to the temporary dwellings or Sukkahs that were lived in during the exodus and in which all are invited to live and eat during this holiday period in memory of the “period of wandering”. Sukkahs are built with certain design principles including exposure to the natural elements, and symbolizing human fragility along with resilience and community as family and community gather together in the Sukkah to share food and sleep.

As a part of our Sukkot event, we commissioned an architectural firm to create an original sukkah specifically for our event. Following an artist call out, FSOARK Architect Inc. created a gorgeous Sukkah called eyepiece (see photos below)  and described here in the artist statement.

“Eyepiece is comprised of interconnected triangular wooden frames, in which foraged plant specimens are cast in thin lenses of bioplastic, creating a completely biodegradable structure. The design is inspired by the idea that a sukkah roof is protective yet permeable – an “imperfect” covering that offers the occupants an intimate connection with the shared cosmos. The duality of a sukkah roof is the kernel of the design concept; it functions both as a microscope through which we examine our own faiths, as well as a wide angle lens broadening our perspectives on the faiths of our neighbours. The plant materials that form the roof of Eyepiece include species native to BC, all of which form part of Coastal Salish peoples’ traditional and contemporary diet and cultural use. The selection not only embraces the Indigenous peoples’ plant knowledge and cultural heritage, but also draws our attention to the subtle beauty of our land, and the fragile balance that allows these plants to thrive. By presenting a montage of specimens mimicking the setting of a natural history museum, we encourage the occupants to reexamine the deeper and broader meaning of our existence, one plant at a time”.

Sukkot expresses universal themes of harvest celebration, agricultural origins, community, cultural identity, along with human vulnerability both historical and contemporary including displacement, migration, and colonization to name a few. Interestingly, Sukkot offers close parallels with the struggles of Indigenous communities to reclaim their land and cultural identity. As such, the Britannia Sukkot Festival brought together community members from diverse cultures to celebrate the harvest through a community feast and sharing in both a Jewish Sukkot and Coast Salish led ceremonies, recognizing and acknowledging that we are on unceded and occupied Coast Salish territory.

Photos by Wendy Oberlander and Ian Marcuse