Urban Agriculture Survey

24 Oct

Hello,

Our names are Alison Carr, Angela Zylmans, Cassia Drozdzik, Michael Vena, & Noah Finkelstein, and we are a group of UBC students doing a research project on Urban Agriculture in the City of Vancouver.

The goal of our project is to examine how the general public defines urban agriculture in Vancouver, with a focus on the neighbourhood Riley Park, and how this compare with that of organizations currently involved in urban agriculture in the wider Vancouver community?

If you are interested in taking a short survey please follow the below link.

https://ubcarts.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_bCUHHqkhPDGqCDb

We appreciate your participation!

Alison Carr, Angela Zylmans,
Cassia Drozdzik, Michael Vena,
& Noah Finkelstein

Who Gets Sustenance?

17 Oct

The Grandview Woodland Food Connection is pleased to present a new research report of “Who Gets Sustenance?: Community Voices Speak about Access to Local, Healthy Food,” prepared by the Social Planning and Research Council of BC in partnership with ourselves and the Bella Coola Valley Sustainable Agriculture Society.

This research report explores issues of access to local, healthy food from both rural and urban perspectives. Research was conducted in both Bella Coola and the Grandview Woodland Neighbourhood of Vancouver. The research examines how the recent positive advances by BC’s food security movement can better support increased access to local, healthy food by underserved people?

Some highlights include:

O While lack of income is a critical barrier to accessing healthy food, it is also important to address other issues such as mobility and disability, program timing, chronic health, and the unique circumstances of rural communities.
O Food security issues in rural communities are unique and may not be addressed using models developed within urban contexts.
O Underserved people want to create ways to support themselves individually and in the communities in which they live.
O Food banks are only one of several strategies that underserved people utilize to access healthy food.
O There is more to learn about underserved people who do not access food programs.

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Fresh Salad

9 Oct

My favorite activity is eating fresh food from the garden with a group of students many of whom have never eaten food as fresh. So today a class of cooking 10 students came down to the garden where we had them try and identify as many food plants as they could. It was not easy for them as they are unfamiliar with such plants. In one case I showed the kids a broccoli plant with a fairly well defined broccoli head. Now most kids have eaten broccoli before but seeing it on the actual plant with stem and leaves and all and it was less clear. Of course they eventually figured it out but for sure these kids are pretty disconnected from the source of their food.

So we then had the kids collect food for a salad which we prepared and ate in the garden. We harvested chives, basil, mint, green beans, tomatoes, carrots, kale, chard, arugula, collard, bok chou, mizuna, and cilantro – a darn good mix and a very tasty salad. Most of the kids really liked it, one boy would not try it, and a few were not able to finish their plate. Well not bad I figure.

And the trick to a very good tasting salad is an exceptional dressing.

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Thanks McMaster Alumni Students!

7 Oct

A huge thanks to the group of McMaster University alumni who came out to help us at the Britannia School Garden for the annual McMaster Alumni Cross Canada Day of Community Service. The Vancouver rain held off and we were able to get a lot of work done. The garden looks great. We built a new raised box and filled it with soil, turned some compost, cleared away invasive morning glory, cleaned up the garden beds, and built a beautiful garden entrance archway that the high school students designed.

Community Service Days are important for us in helping to run our programs. The extra help we get makes a huge difference.

Thanks McMaster!

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Garden 2 Plate

23 Sep

Summer has come to an end, the rains are returning (thank god), and time to reflect on what a great gardening season it has been. Our gardens thrived, again with the help of some wonderful kids. This past summer the Grandview Woodland Food Connection in partnership with Evergreen Foundation ran a really wonderful program called Garden 2 Plate with a small group of mostly at-risk youth. The program ran down at the Le Chou Garden area in Woodland Park Community Garden, two blocks from Britannia School. The program was designed to have the kids work 2 hrs in the morning gardening and then 2 hrs in the afternoon with a chef preparing food, some of which was harvested from the garden.

The program turning out to be very successful and the preparing of really tasty food was a wonderful addition. The kids worked hard and then were treated to a healthy meal which they helped prepare. We’re really trying to make the connection between growing one’s own food and eating real food freshly grown and prepared and in the process making the experience of gardening pleasurable by connecting it to what kids really like….to eat tasty food.

The program lasted 6 sessions including 2 field trips to urban farming projects. Check out all Garden 2 Plate photos here

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In these photos above the youth are introduced to the Le Chou Garden and the many plants that are grown. Le Chou was started in the summer of 2013 as an intergenerational garden. Youth and elders are both helping to take care of this garden. Currently WATARI Latin American Community Kitchen group and the Downtown Eastside Women’s Center are growing food in this 500 sq ft garden area.

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On our first day the kids planted veggies around the permitter of the community garden. These foods were planted as communal foods for all in the community to enjoy.

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Here the kids are helping to prepare lunch with our trained chef. We ate really well including chicken fajitas, cedar plank broiled salmon, buffalo burgers, and tostadas.…. of course with lots of veggies.

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Another project included creating a pollinator garden in which we prepared two pollinator plant gardens and then learned to make our own mason bee hives that we attached to the fence posts.

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Here we visited Fresh Root’s school farm at van tech. This small school farm is one of two such farms in Vancouver. The food garden is growing on otherwise unused school property and is leased to Fresh Roots in return for providing both food and garden learning opportunities for students. On this visit our group got to experience food growing on a more productive scale.

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On our second field trip we visited the UBC Farm Tu’wusht Garden project. This was a really fantastic trip for the kids simply because the farm is so beautiful and really feels like one is out of the city.

The Tu’wusht Garden project provides garden space for First Nations and others from the Downtown Eastside. Meals are a regular part of the program and the space provides much needed relaxation and nature for those folks involved in addition to very important cultural connections to traditional foods and to the land.

For all the kids it was their first visit to the farm and they were very impressed by what they saw so much so that a couple of the boys got a bit excited about the possibility of working and living on the farm. A highlight for sure was visiting the chickens.

Sensational Corn Festival 2014

14 Sep

Now in its 11th year, the Latin American Corn Festival held at Britannia Community Centre creates a wonderful Latin American vibe in East Van. The music, the food and smells, the people, and of course sunny weather all come together to build a fiesta worthy of any Latin American location. While the event is well attended, with vendors this year selling out of all their food, is is too bad that more people don’t get to experience this very special festival.

Enjoy the pics below and look for us again in Sept 2015.

For more pics visit our flickr site here

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Britannia School / SEGA Girls School Garden Twinning

5 Sep

Britannia School Food Garden has a twin food garden in Tanzania. SEGA Girls School near Kilimanjaro, is a residential secondary school for bright motivated Tanzanian girls who otherwise are unable to attend school due to extreme poverty.

The Sega Girls School aims to equip its students with the skills and qualifications needed to become self-sufficient after graduation. Sega views home gardening skills as essential for every graduate to have, to assist with household food security and self-sufficiency. Additionally, the school itself aims to be self-sufficient through its own businesses and food production.

Britannia School in partnership with the Grandview Woodland Food Connection have helped to raise funds for SEGA and to date have raised close to $2000 through our film fundraisers that SEGA has used to provide training to students on organic gardening skills, the development of nurseries, managing soil fertility and erosion control, agroforestry techniques, double digging, natural pesticides and manure creation and other permaculture techniques.

The Britannia Garden – Sega Girls School Twinning Project will help to broaden student’s perspectives, learning and understanding food growing and food security within a global context. Students from both gardens will have the opportunity to communicate via internet, Skype, Facebook and good old fashioned pen pals with each other about their gardens.

Check out this great video that SEGA ha made for us.

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