Exploring the Food System on the West Side: A Series of Talks and Tours
Presented by Garden Heart Productions and the Westside Food Security Collaborative
Speaker/Tour Host: Spring Gillard, author of Diary of a Compost Hotline Operator
Talks: Wednesday Evenings in June. Time: 7 to 9pm
Location: June 3, at the SPEC building, 2150 Maple; June 10,17, 24 at Kits Neighbourhood House Hall, 2305 West 7th @ Vine
June 3: Feeding Ourselves. How Do We Fare on the West Side?
What is food security? What is a food system? How resilient is ours? Why in a neighbourhood of plenty, are people still going hungry? What resources and programs are in place to ensure our food security and where are the gaps? An introduction to food security from the local perspective. Students will take home a concrete list of at least 10 things they can do to help strengthen the food system in their own neighbourhood.
June 10: West Side Food Woes
A recent study revealed a malnutrition problem on the affluent west side of Vancouver. How is that possible? The Buy-Low Foods Store at 4th and Alma has just closed down. How will that affect the neighbourhood? A look at access and mobility issues and the role grocery store design plays in enhancing public health, community vitality and helping to ensure a secure food supply.
June 17: The Gauntlet
As we walk in our west side neighbourhoods, many of us run the daily gauntlet of outstretched hands, from the homeless to the NGO’s. We look at the emergency food system and the charity model and ponder: To give or not to give? Learn about food programs on the west side that cater to vulnerable populations, as well as other initiatives that help increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for all.
June 24: Waste Not, Want Not
A look at the waste management system on the west side. From backyard to commercial composting, food recovery programs and innovative initiatives designed to waste not. Find out what you can do in your own backyard to reduce edible and inedible food waste.
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Tours: Saturdays in June; limited to 20 participants. Meeting place provided upon registration.
June 6, 10am to 12 noon: Feeding Ourselves. How Do We Fare on the West Side?
How resilient is our food system on the west side? What resources and programs are in place to ensure our food security, and where are the gaps in our food system? We visit a Green Table accredited restaurant, a roof top garden, a co-op that has a food garden, a mid-size composting system and interesting and historical roots in the local food community. We’ll also stroll along community gardens including a fruit orchard. Take home at least ten things you can do to strengthen the food system on the west side.
June 13, 1:30 to 3:30: The Farm Connection. A Guided Tour of UBC Farm.
Why should city people care about farmers and farmland? We look at our very own west side urban farm and its vital role at the University and in our community. We discuss how important farmland is to our food system. Catch the Saturday Farmers’ Market before the tour, then tour the market garden that supplies the market. We talk with gardeners in the Mayan Garden, the Aboriginal Garden and beekeepers. Learn about the intergenerational landed learning project and other innovative programs operating out of this local gem.
June 20, 10am to Noon: Urban Agriculture: A Ride on the Upper West Side
We visit the Dunbar and Kerrisdale area with a focus on urban agriculture. Highlights include a visit with a local entrepreneur who has an urban farm venture at one of his backyard farms. We will learn about another fruitful backyard program, the Fruit Tree Project. We’ll also tour The Seed to Table Garden. This multicultural youth program from the Jewish Family Service Agency sees participants growing organic food, and contributing the harvest to their community food bank, while connecting youth more closely to food sources and to the values of giving. If you don’t have a bike, you can still come along, by taking transit (fare not included in price) or car pooling.
June 27, 10am to Noon: Going Hungry on the Westside: The Role of Grocery Stores in a Healthy Community.
It may be surprising to learn that some west side residents are having difficulty accessing fresh fruit and vegetables. Seniors and the physically challenged have trouble accessing some stores because of design issues like narrow aisles or bulky end of aisle displays. On this tour we will visit grocery stores of various sizes, formats and locations to learn about their role in enhancing public health, community vitality and helping to ensure a secure food supply on the west side. We will examine links to public transportation and street design, local economic development and cultural diversity. Stores will include ‘traditional’ food retail, ‘natural/organic’ stores, and green grocers.
Registration/Prices: Register by May 22/09; Tour space limited to 20 spots.
Talks/Tours are $35 each or $125 for any combination of four, incl GST. Total series package price: $235, incl GST. Payable by cheque/cash in advance. Contact Spring at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604.714.1394 for payment info.
About Spring Gillard
After abandoning a successful advertising career, Spring Gillard worked at City Farmer, an urban agriculture group for 14 years. Her book Diary of a Compost Hotline Operator, Edible Essays on City Farming (New Society, 2003) recounts her adventures there. The book won a Garden Globe award of achievement from the Garden Writers of America. She has been published in numerous local and international media including Audubon, Organic Gardening, the Vancouver Sun and the Globe and Mail. She is currently finishing up a second book, this one on the politics of food.
Spring has spoken at events across North America including the Seattle, San Francisco and Vancouver Garden Shows and was keynote speaker at the American Community Gardening Conference in Toronto. She has given talks, developed and delivered courses, workshops and tours for numerous organizations and academic institutions including Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the University of British Columbia (UBC).
She has been interviewed on BBC radio, had a regular radio segment on CBC’s North by Northwest, was a popular and repeat guest on CBC Almanac, Sounds Like Canada and The Vicki Gabereau TV Show.
Spring sat on the Vancouver Food Policy Council for two and a half years and now volunteers with the Westside Food Security Collaborative. She is an associate at SFU’s Centre for Sustainable Community Development and co-teaches the Applications Course for a new certificate program in sustainable community development jointly offered with City Program.
Through her communications company, Garden Heart Productions, Spring plans special events, organizes green tours and helps promote a variety of groups working on sustainability and food security issues.
About the Westside Food Security Collaborative (WFSC)
The WFSC is a coalition of groups and individuals who live or work on the west side of Vancouver and who are interested in local food security. Our member organizations include Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, Jewish Family Service Agency and Vancouver Coastal Health. The WFSC is working on setting up fresh produce “pocket markets” as well as a low cost food store on the west side. To find out more, attend one of our monthly meetings, visit our web site: kitshouse.org (under community) or call one of our co-chairs: Lisa Ross, 604-257-5151 Catherine Leach, 604-736-3588.