Food for thought: Food insecurity in the context of Covid-19 – Podcast

Check out this informative podcast on our current stat of food insecurity in Canada

COVID-19 has highlighted and exacerbated a number of systemic inequities that challenge Canada’s potential to build back better. One of those brought to the forefront has been food insecurity. Before the pandemic, 1 in 8 households in Canada was food insecure, with low-income communities and communities of colour being disproportionately impacted. This episode from the podcast  Beyond the Headlines  features Dr. Valerie Tarasuk, Jessica McLaughlin, Dr. Charles Levkoe, and Melana Roberts.


The Paueru Gai DialoGues

Powell Street Festival Society announces an online series, The Paueru Gai Dialogues. In a series of monthly online events, BIPOC artists and activists will share their perspectives on current social issues. The project intends to inspire civic engagement and community building during the disruption of the enduring pandemic.

The second event, On Food & Culture for Community Building, is at 1 pm Pacific/4 pm Eastern on Saturday, February 27, 2021. This event is free.

Guest host erica hiroko isomura will facilitate a discussion with panelists Carmel Tanaka, Kage, and Ingrid Mendez de Cruz as they share stories on how food and culture contribute to their experiences of building community in Japanese Canadian, DTES communities, and beyond.

Panelists will talk about how they use food to build relationships across difference; create inclusive food and garden spaces for community; and support agricultural migrant workers who grow the food that so many of us eat.

Participants will be invited into breakout groups to share their perspectives (and favourite recipes!) with one another. To wrap up the event, everyone will reconvene to offer questions and debrief together.



Check out this important survey and your opportunity to comment, critique, recommend, and advocate for a more just, sustainable and visionary food system in our city. Vancouver is a leader in sustainable food systems, but the truth is that food systems and food security in our city is woefully under-resourced. This has become all the more apparent in light of COVID which has left many community members in even greater stress over food access and food security. Much of the work in supporting community members has also fallen on grossly under-resourced grassroots food networks such as ours and many other community organizations doing their best to get food to community members who are struggling.

Of course increasing income and other affordability supports will significantly ease food insecurity, but there is much more that can also be done at the municipal level to build a more resilient, just and sustainable food system through local community development, skill building, green economy, knowledge exchange and sharing, social connection, sustainable land use practice, innovative food programming and much more to support comprehensive and radical food systems change locally and within our region.


Do you have ideas for Vancouver Park Board’s Local Food Action Plan? The Park’s Board want your input on how Vancouver Park Board parks, facilities, programs, and community connections can contribute to a just and sustainable local food system. Visit the Shape Your City page to give your feedback. 

Local food systems strengthen communities and build connections between people, healthy food, and the land. Vancouver Park Board food assets and services are part of a broader local food system and they include community or learning gardens, urban orchards, native berry shrubs, food and gardening programs, community kitchens, food access programs, markets, concessions, partnerships, funding, and food-related events.

Vancouver Park Board is updating its Local Food Action Plan in order to guide how it contributes to equitable, welcoming, and interconnected food rich-parks, community spaces, programs, and more. Emphasis will be given to:

  • Assessing current food assets and services
  • Allocating resources and reducing barriers to currently underserved communities
  • Addressing what was learned during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Building community resilience and mitigating the effects of climate change
  • Decolonizing food assets and service provision and supporting Indigenous food systems

Covid Emergency food home delivery update

At the time of the initial COVID lockdown in mid-March, we deemed food access an essential service and within days mobilized the necessary resources needed for an effective response to COVID food insecurity in East Vancouver. This COVID Emergency Food Home Delivery Program ensures that food is provided in a dignified way including completely barrier free access, home delivery to ensure safety and health are a priority, and an emphasis on quality and highly nutritious foods. Our hampers are especially curated to support healthy outcomes for receiving households.Many people have expressed deep gratitude for these food boxes.

Since our programs started, we’ve delivered 6,600 food hampers. But we have also been able to increase our existing capacity in building a more resilient and responsive community food security program by establishing new relations with food suppliers, farmers, referring agencies, funders, volunteers, and new community members who we might never have connected with in the past.  More importantly, we have gained new insights and engaged in many conversations with peers, funders, policy makers and others about the systems that cause food insecurity and advocate for a more equitable food system in the long term. Interestingly, COVID has opened a important policy window to push for the change needed and the GWFC is lending a strong and informed voice to the change needed.

520 Households in East Vancouver Supported
1500 Individuals
218,750 lbs of food distributed (average 30lb/box)
120+ volunteers mobilized 
3,600 volunteer hrs logged

While a temporary program for us, this response to COVID has been meaningful and important and continues to meet immediate food security needs at the community level by ensuring that the most vulnerable in our community have access to good food. However, as COVID numbers increase, demand for the program continues to grow especially for households with compromised health and facing financial hardship. We now have a waitlist

Current funding will last until Jan 1 and we are just awaiting to hear about grant extensions to carry us into the new year.

Thank you Fractal Farm

Fractal Farm is a local grower of sustainable vegetables based in East Vancouver and Richmond. They have partnered with Britannia and the GWFC the past two years where Britannia provided Fractal Farm space to set up their Community Supported Agriculture program. In return they have donated generously to our food programs.

When their CSA went on sale this year, they never realized how local food security would become top-of-mind this year. Many Fractal Farm customers donated generously towards their food voucher program, which this year supported the Grandview Woodlands Food Connection as well as the Little Mountain Riley Park Neighbourhood Food Network. Both of these programs supported families that could otherwise not have obtained groceries due to the pandemic. This year, Fractal Farm members raised $2,150 towards Fractal Veggies for these food programs. We set as a goal to match this in kind with another $2,150 worth of produce. In the end, we added another $1,238 worth of produce on top of our goal! This brings our total value of contributions to these programs to $5,538. Here’s some highlights: we provided almost 30 Kg of light salad greens, almost 300 cucumbers, almost 400 zucchinis, 140 heads of lettuce, 120 bunches of Pac Choi, over 120 lbs of beets, 80 lbs of squash, and much more!

A huge thank you to Fractal Farm for their support of our COVID Emergency Food Home Delivery Program, supporting over 500 households in East Vancouver.

Black Creek Community FaRM

I was very excited to learn about this project but also taken back that I had not heard about this sooner. What a wonderful example of an urban food justice/food sovereignty project in Toronto.

In the northwest corner of Toronto, hidden from view by a newly established food forest, is Black Creek Community Farm (BCCF). The farm, Toronto’s largest urban farm, is located in the Jane-Finch or Black Creek neighbourhood. The neighbourhood is one of Toronto’s most diverse communities and widely recognized as the most disadvantaged.

The farm’s vision is to be an Urban Agriculture centre that engages diverse communities through sustainable food. This vision connects to a thriving urban agriculture movement in Toronto that is linked through organizations such as the Toronto Food Policy Council and Toronto Urban Growers.

A core focus of Black Creek Community Farm is to increase access to healthy food in the community through programming and food distribution projects. Fresh, local and organic produce is available from June to November at accessible rates. Community programming focuses on food security, food literacy, and food skills. Thousands of children, youth, families and seniors participate each year.

Check out their website