Join us on May 19th, 2022 for the Collingwood Community Fridge Party!

To show our appreciation and gratitude for all the community support we have received in the process of planning, installing, and running the Collingwood Community Fridge and Pantry, we will be hosting a community celebration with our residents, volunteers, and partners, and we hope YOU will be able to attend!

Here’s what’s happening;

  • The Celebration will take place on Thursday, May 19th from 4pm-7pm 
  • Festivities will take place on the CNH main house front lawn, rain or shine. There will be tents put up in the event of rain. 
  • There will be Food from 5pm-7pm consisting of substantial appetizers, drinks, and finger foods. 
  • A Craft booth will be set up for children including button making and Story Telling with Raven Tales writer, Simon James. 
  • We will have a HUGE plant giveaway and a booth to learn how to plant seeds in recycled egg cartons

… and much more. 

Hope to see you there! For any questions, please reach out to foodhub@cnh.bc.ca

CNH x Fresh Roots Community Care CSA

Interested in buying a share? Sign up here! Sales close May 19th.

Poster image: Community Care CSA, Collingwood Neighbourhood House x Fresh Roots. June 3rd-August 5th & August 12th-October 14th
Poster image: Community Care CSA, Collingwood Neighbourhood House x Fresh Roots. June 3rd-August 5th & August 12th-October 14th

Receive fresh, local vegetables each week and support your community, local farmers, and neighbours in the process!

Community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs are direct relationships between farmers and community members that involve a subscription to a farm’s harvests. The Community Care CSA gives you an alternative to your weekly trip to the grocery store for vegetables, with the bonus of supporting your neighbours and an educational schoolyard farm! 

For some, the price of fresh vegetables, let alone a weekly CSA share can be out of reach. By buying a Community Care CSA share for $40 a week, you ensure that a family or individual facing multiple barriers receives a full box of fresh, local veggies for a highly subsidised cost! 

Through partnership with Fresh Roots and the generous support of United Way BC, this program enables consistent, reliable and dignified access to local food, while ensuring your farmers are fully paid for their work.

How it works:

When you sign up, you will receive a Community Care CSA share of fresh, locally grown vegetables, and a low-income family referred by CNH staff will receive the same share at a highly subsidised rate.

For $40 a week over 10 weeks (for a total of $400), you receive a full CSA share each week. (This will be $22.50 worth of vegetables weekly, with the remaining cost going to subsidise the box of a low-income neighbour.) 

Your CSA box will include 5-7 items including greens, root vegetables, fruits (like tomatoes and squash!) and herbs, changing with the season, and containing an amazing range of vegetables grown with care using organic practices!

In addition, you will receive a weekly newsletter from Collingwood Neighbourhood House in collaboration with Fresh Roots which includes a fresh-sheet of what veggies will be in your box, a recipe, and some tips and tricks for eating and storing your rad veggies! 

Not interested in joining but still want to support a low income neighbour to access fresh foods? You can make a donation to the program. 100% of these funds will go towards subsidising a CSA for a neighbour in Renfrew Collingwood.

Dates and Times:
We are offering 2 CSA sessions this season that are each 10 weeks long. If you want to receive 20 weeks of vegetables, you are welcome to sign up for both the early and late season CSA! 

DATES: 

  • Early Season: June 3rd – August 5th (10 weeks)
  • Late Season: August 12th – Oct 14th (10 weeks) 

The CSA Pick-up will occur from 4-6pm on Fridays* at the front entrance to Collingwood Neighbourhood House, 5288 Joyce Street. It will be housed in a small Summer Market, containing a Pay-What-You-Can table, booths from neighbourhood growers, and an engagement table.

* With the exception of Friday, July 1st; pickup will be on Thursday, June 30th that week.

About the Farmer:

This season, we are partnered with Fresh Roots to bring you delicious weekly veggies! Fresh Roots is a non-profit organisation working with school communities to promote healthy food choices, responsible land stewardship, and community connection. Fresh Roots was the first schoolyard market garden project in Canada, turning unused turf into productive farm spaces! Fresh Roots believes in building leadership through employing youth in the community as farm hands, creating an intergenerational teaching model.  In addition to their schoolyard farm programming, Fresh Roots provides professional development in food literacy for BC’s educators, and supports food distribution initiatives to bring freshly grown food into schools and local communities.

For any questions or inquiries, please email foodhub@cnh.bc.ca

Funding for the Community Care CSA program has been generously provided by United Way British Columbia

Collingwood Community Fridge Zine: Vol. 1 (March 2022)

Check out this amazing zine in English, Chinese, and Tagalog created by the wonderful UBC dietetics students working on the fridge! Many thanks to Valerie Leung, Lizzie Yan, Sheeta Ozaki, Isabelle Cortejos-Noble, Carly Watkins, and Chris Culhane for their fantastic work!

Interested in continuing this series? Please email foodhub@cnh.bc.ca to volunteer.

Or download a version for yourself here:

Renfrew-Collingwood Food Hub Winter Updates

The Renfrew-Collingwood Food Hub (RCFH) was launched in September of 2021. This initiative is funded by United Way British Columbia, and led by Renfrew-Collingwood Food Justice. As a steward, the RCFH aims to respond to issues in food insecurity and food distribution through the perspectives of food justice and mutual aid. In particular, the Food Hub works to build the capacity of community partners and community members to create an inclusive neighborhood level response to food insecurity, and provide access to healthy, affordable, culturally-appropriate foods for Renfrew-Collingwood residents.

Mutual-Aid Community Supported Agriculture Pilot Recap (September-October 2021)

“Getting farm fresh produce that was delicious, fresh, and long lasting was a treat!”

“I loved getting out…this was number 1 for me. It’s something that I hadn’t done for a very long time. The team involved with unloading and packing up the vegetables were very kind. The setting up was an incredible amount of work.”

“Just so you know, your program made my life not only special, but very tasty. Each Friday I was able to pick up the special paper bag.”

We were over the moon to hear these beautiful messages from our Mutual-Aid Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Pilot program participants! Though the pilot is over for now, it was such an incredible experience, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.

We want to give a huge thank you to all the participants and volunteers who came out each week! It was so lovely seeing new and familiar faces and hearing everyone’s stories and feedback about how they used these vegetables in their daily lives.

The Food Hub’s Mutual Aid CSA Pilot Program ran from September 10 to October 29, 2021, and served more than 30 residents each week with fresh, organic, local produce from the The Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School. Because our program ran on a mutual aid model, participants could pay it forward and subsidize the cost of neighbours’ boxes, which helped many of our participants get the same high-quality, nutritious vegetables for free!

CSA boxes create direct relationships between farmers and community members by paying for produce up front in a subscription-like model. This ensures that all proceeds go directly to the farmers, thus creating a strong connection between our community members and food growers. As staff, we had a blast driving to the farm every week to pick up the food which was given out to participants that same day!

We received such lovely feedback from our community members and participants, and we can’t wait to run this program again next summer! 

Special thanks to @marathth for their photo of the yummy soup they made using produce from the CSA!

The Renfrew-Collingwood Food Hub Community Fridge (Beginning February 2022)

It’s almost here! We poured the concrete pad for the fridge on a beautiful November day (under the guidance of several watchful pre-schoolers), and we are now in the process of constructing a wooden shed to protect the fridge from the elements. We hope to have the fridge installed, operational, and stocked in early January. That being said, we are on the lookout for volunteers to check in on the fridge every week or so to ensure that everything is up to par!

The Community Fridge is a mutual-aid project idea brought to Collingwood Neighbourhood House by members of the Renfrew Collingwood Food Justice Advisory Committee, who noticed the need for a free, outdoor, non-policed food asset available 24/7 for all residents of the neighbourhood. And that’s what the Community Fridge is! The Fridge will provide low barrier access to vegetables and fruits, protein foods and grain products for Renfrew Collingwood residents, and will be located on the West Facing side of the CNH main house, adjacent to the gym entrance. 

If you are interested in joining our volunteer network, or if you have any questions, please email CommunityDevelopment@cnh.bc.ca.

All Renfrew-Collingwood Food Hub initiatives are generously funded by United Way British Columbia.

Big Builds in the Food Forest & protecting community food assets

Happy August Everyone! 

This Summer has flown by for our food justice team and we have made some positive progress in the Norquay Food Forest and in our Anti-gentrification & Food Asset protections work.

A hand holding an apple in the Food Forest
Early apple harvest this year at the Norquay Food Forest!

Rooftop Garden Volunteer Drop-ins are back 

The rooftop garden has been waiting patiently all season for some TLC and we are officially ready to welcome our volunteers back to the space for drop-ins. Our first day back will be Thursday, August 19th, from 4-7pm at the Collingwood Neighborhood house rooftop garden! Feel free to stop by to play in the soil and nibble some kale.

Food Forest Updates 

Our team and dedicated volunteers have been busy building a Community Seed and Seedling Library!

The seed library shelf at the Food Forest
pictured: seed library with caption “the norquay food forest seed library is up and running!”

This Library will stand at the south-west corner of the Norquay Food Forest and house seeds and seedlings so that everyone can select and share veggie seeds or flower seeds at no cost. We Have added in additional shelves for seedlings and plant starts to get things going for community members who may be interested in gardening but need a little help getting started! 

The seed Library should be fully finished by the 10th of August, 2021! Please be considerate of others and take only as many seeds as you need, rather than full seed packets. We will supply small envelopes to assist you with this! 

Our team has been so fortunate to receive help from a group of Ocean Wise students to put up a new “Home Mural” at the food forest. 

This Mural was created by Aly Dela Cruz Yip, as a reflection of the land’s rich history as a complex system of waterways prior to European settlement and colonization;

It is a love-letter to the community, celebrating the strength and humanity of the predominantly racialized working class. The Mural highlights the presence of non-human animals that share the land with us, acknowledging the ways the land has remained wild. 

This mural was put up in advance of our next big build – a 4 Coastal Indigneous-Styled Canoe Garden! This garden has 4 directional cedar canoes that will be our newest garden beds for medicines. We received cultural and design input from Simon Winadzi James and Pat Calihou Metis Artist on this. 

A wooden canoe garden at Cook Elementary School. The canoes are connected to a centre and radiate in four directions.
pictured above is the Cook Elementary School’s four directional canoe garden which is a larger version of the canoe garden that is soon to be build at the food forest.

Indigenous Artist Simon Winadzi James (Kwak wakw ‘wakw) will be joining us at the Food Forest on August 23rd to supervise installation as well as do some storytelling and a community wood craft activity.

This leads me to our upcoming event, The Creative Garden Party, August 23rd, from 4-7pm. We will be celebrating our accomplishments as a community and these new additions to the space. This event is in collaboration with the J Peachy Gallery and The Red Fox Creative Cafe. There will be art, music, food, and so much joy to share! 

So mark your calendars for August 23rd, 4-7pm, at the Norquay food forest. 

Anti-gentrification & Food Asset protection Updates

Back in June we posted a blog about The Joint Housing and Food Security Crisis. It was announced earlier this summer that a 32-storey, 293-unit, mixed-use building was proposed to be built on Joyce Street in place of our communities important cultural food assets. 

Not only would these cultural food assets be erased, but the new building will contribute to the inapproachable real estate prices that are inhibiting many community members from accessing secure housing. If these real estate trends continue, the Collingwood neighbourhood will be facing the displacement of local cultural food assets coupled with the displacement of local community members. 

Vancouver does have policies to protect cultural assets, so why are these stores at risk? Cultural assets are more than just the spaces defined by the city. How the city has identified spaces and places as “cultural” seems to be perpetuating the ongoing displacement of ethnic communities. The map below highlights the designated spaces that the city has deemed to be a cultural space.

A map of Vancouver of cultural assets in different neighbourhoods

However, what the city fails to recognize, and what our team is arguing, is that Cultural spaces can be mom & pop grocery stores that sell culturally relevant foods. They are restaurants that act as community hubs for families, friends, and activists. As it stands, the city data does not consider these intangible interactions within public space outside of what is traditionally seen as cultural work.

City approved cultural assets are overall located in Vancouver’s downtown. These facilities mostly house spaces for artists and performers and are infamously unaffordable. Compare these amenities with a map of where tagalong speakers live in vancouver, as seen below.

A map of Vancouver where Tagalog speakers live

Vancouver has defined “heritage businesses” as “a business that is shaped by values from a shared past that is recognized and deemed important by the communities of people who frequent the business and/or the area” (proposed definition by LOCO BC, 2017). The Filipino Community is continuing to vocalize their demands and these businesses are currently still in operation. 

There is no date set for the next meeting with the city regarding this application.

We are Hiring ! 

Are you passionate about Food Justice in our community? Come join our team! 

Job openings:

Community Food Liaison: part-time, permanent  

Food Hub Coordinator: part-time, term certain