North Shore Table Matters

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Infusing Food into Community Dialogue, Policy and Life  on the North Shore Working Group

What do we mean when we say “infusing food”? To explain, we use the analogy of a bottle of olive oil (the North Shore) that has been infused with herbs (food). Even when the herbs are removed, they are ever-present. Just as food is ever-present in our lives and as such should always be a part of the discussion.

It has been acknowledged by many on the North Shore that addressing the local food system is important; so important that all the North Shore Municipalities, Vancouver Coastal Health, and both the Squamish and Tsleil Waututh Nations are signatories to the North Shore Community Food Charter. However, all too often those who are doing food work are doing it off the sides of their desk with inadequate resources. This is because the important role food can play in addressing a wide variety of issues has not been recognized.

Our goal in taking an Infusing Food approach is to articulate food’s connection to a wide variety of hot-ticket items like transportation, housing, the local economy, and climate change, while also supporting nonprofits in highlighting the importance of food and the impact it can have on their programs, participants and community health so that much-needed resources can be accessed.

So what are our priorities?
1. Complete a Municipal Infusing Food Report and develop a dissemination strategy.
2. Work with the Neighbourhood Food Collaborative at the Carson Graham Family of Schools to help strengthen collaboration among school and community services in order to increase food access and food literacy among children and ultimately the profile of food in the neighbourhood.
3. Learn more from non-profits around the support they need to break down barriers to accessing much-needed food resources.

We have also started to use the #infusingfoodNS in all social media to highlight the important food work that is happening and the people, businesses, and organizations that are contributing to the food culture on the North Shore.

Next Working Group Meeting: TBD
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Neighbourhood Food Collaborative  Working Group (Carson Graham Family of Schools)

Over the past several years TM has been working on a Food Culture and Children Collective Impact Project with funding support from INNOWEAVE. It has evolved into the Neighbourhood Food Collaborative project and we are now in the process of laying the foundation to activate it.

The project’s goal is to strengthen collaboration among school and community services in order to increase food access and food literacy among children in the Carson Graham Family of Schools.

The group will work with schools, child care practitioners, and parents to integrate everyday healthy food practices into their settings and support them in becoming healthy food champions. We will aim to equip staff and families with the resources and skills they need to promote food literacy among children and ensure children have access to healthy food everywhere they are fed. We will also be reaching out to the broader community to help us achieve this goal.  We will also be documenting our activities and their impact to help others who may be interested in bringing a similar approach to their neighbourhoods.

Next Working Group Meeting: TBD
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Food Waste and Recovery Working Group

In 2019, at the last Network Gathering, food waste and recovery was identified as a priority. Over the last year, Table Matters attempted to develop a strategy to address this priority. We even created a vision of what a centralized food hub on the North Shore could look like. However, after numerous meetings with a wide variety of Network members and potential partners, it became clear that this issue required more work than TM had the capacity to handle. Funds allocated to this priority were offered to the community in the form of a $5,000 grant, but no one applied. Luckily when everyone arrived at this year’s gathering a large number of Network members were eager to become a part of a working group to develop a strategy for moving forward.

Next Steps:

A proposed first step is hosting an Education Event in the fall to raise awareness regarding the flow of food to and from the North Shore.

Next Working Group meeting: TBD
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