Posts Tagged "Food"

7May

Funding helps people facing food insecurity

by admin

People facing food insecurity in B.C. will benefit from new government funding for community-based programs.

“The pandemic has put added pressure on families and households across B.C. who struggle to access quality, healthy and affordable food,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Poverty Reduction and Social Development. “We know there’s more work to do to address the root causes of food insecurity, but we also know that people need help now. That’s why we are helping get food on the table today while also working toward longer-term solutions.”

Food Banks BC is receiving $6 million, for use over three years, for the Emergency Food Purchasing program to provide nutritious, culturally appropriate food to people experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. Funding will be disbursed through food banks and community agencies throughout the province, including rural and remote communities that have few other supports. A further $2.5 million will go to the Perishable Food Recovery program, which will support food banks to build capacity to store and distribute perishable food items under refrigeration.

“Food Banks BC is deeply grateful to the B.C. government for its commitment to fighting hunger and food insecurity in B.C.,” said Dan Huang-Taylor, executive director, Food Banks BC. “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has further escalated the need to support British Columbians facing financial and food insecurity, with food banks across the province seeing increasing demand throughout this emergency. The funding provided by the B.C. government will enable food banks to purchase, store and distribute more high quality, nutritious food within their communities – something needed now more than ever.”

United Way of Lower Mainland (UWLM) is receiving $1.27 million to support provincewide work that addresses the immediate needs of vulnerable populations and longer-term food security planning. This funding will also help UWLM maintain and expand significant food security partnerships developed during the pandemic. Since March 2020, UWLM has provided almost four million meals and more than 512,000 food hampers through local community partners.

“Food insecurity affects many British Columbians. This was heightened during the pandemic and continues to be on the rise,” said Michael McKnight, president and CEO, UWLM. “We are grateful to the Government of British Columbia for this investment, which allows United Way to continue strengthening vital connections around food justice in our province. The funding will allow us to work with a variety of partners and stakeholders to build a healthier, more equitable food system for all British Columbians.”

Food security is identified as a key issue in TogetherBC, B.C.’s poverty reduction strategy.

Quick Facts:

  • Since the release of TogetherBC, government has made several one-time investments to support food security, including:
    • a $3-million grant in 2019 to the Victoria Foundation to establish a new $1-million fund for food security initiatives throughout the province and $2 million to help secure the purchase of the Mustard Seed’s Victoria Food Distribution Centre;
    • $5 million in 2019 to create the Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Program, which supports local governments to develop local strategies and solutions to address poverty, including food security planning;
    • $2.7 million in 2021 to create the First Nations Well Being Fund that assists First Nations and Tribal Councils to improve well-being within their communities, including food security; and
    • during the COVID-19 pandemic, almost $6 million in gaming grants have gone to food banks and to food security programs delivered by 52 organizations in 32 distinct communities.

Learn More:

TogetherBC, B.C.’s Poverty Reduction Strategy:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/initiatives-plans-strategies/poverty-reduction-strategy/togetherbc.pdf

To donate or find a food bank, visit: https://www.foodbanksbc.com/

To learn more about the United Way of Lower Mainland, visit: https://www.uwlm.ca/

1Mar

Better food security support for Doig River First Nation

by admin

People in Doig River First Nation will soon have better access to more nutritious food sources through a new grant for local food-security projects.

Doig River First Nation is receiving $112,475 through Victoria Foundation’s Food Security – Provincial Initiatives fund. The funding will help create a community garden, community distribution centre and kitchen facility next to the community band office. The project is part of the Nation’s goal to increase members’ access to locally grown food and deliver programming that encourages learning, sharing of traditional and cultural knowledge and hands-on participation in food growing.

“Thanks to the grant, Doig River First Nation will be able to build inclusive gardening infrastructure and partnerships that will promote local food production and act as a first step towards becoming a more food secure community,” said Chief Trevor Makadahay, Doig River First Nation. “Making a space where Elders and children can gather together will enhance the health and well-being of the community. Gardening spaces will provide the community with fresh produce, which will reduce the dependency on having to travel long distances to buy groceries.”

The Province provided $3 million to the Victoria Foundation in March 2019. Of that, $1.9 million went to the Mustard Seed Food Bank to help buy its food distribution centre for southern Vancouver Island. The remaining $1.1 million helped establish the Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund. Six projects have received the grants available through this fund — Doig River First Nation being the sixth — for a total of $778,170.

“I want to thank the Doig River First Nation for initiating this important project. Food security is a necessary part of reducing poverty and supporting strong communities,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Projects like this and the other food-security projects announced late last year are working to bring people up and out of poverty in rural and remote areas of B.C.”

TogetherBC, the province’s first poverty reduction strategy, was released in March 2019 as a cross-government plan to reduce poverty. The Victoria Foundation grant supports the Province’s work by helping organizations develop local food security programs that ensure reliable access to nutritious and affordable food for people. Food security is part of increasing inclusion, making life more affordable and supporting better opportunities and reconciliation in communities in B.C.

“Food security starts at the ground level, through community-based knowledge and local food systems and economies,” said Sandra Richardson, chief executive officer, Victoria Foundation. “We are delighted to see these funds going to local organizations that understand their community’s needs and contribute to achieving food security through practical, ground-level solutions.”

Addressing poverty is a shared commitment between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quick Facts

  • Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund recipients:
    • Doig River First Nation – $112,780
    • Carrier Sekani Family Services – $114,257
    • Nuxalk Nation – $114,433
    • Sources Community Resources Society – $191,976
    • Southern Stl’atl’imx Charitable Society – $216,859
    • First Nations Emergency Services Society – $28,170
  • More than 500,000 British Columbians experience some level of household food insecurity.

Learn More:

TogetherBC, B.C.’s first poverty reduction strategy: https://gov.bc.ca/togetherbc

The Victoria Foundation’s food security initiatives: https://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/food-rescue-project/

5Dec

Better support for food security in Lower Mainland

by admin

People in the Lower Mainland will soon have access to safer and more nutritious food sources through a new grant for local food security projects.

Sources Community Resources Society will receive $191,976 in provincial funding through Victoria Foundation’s new Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund. The integrated Food Hub and job-skills program, in partnership with Dan’s Legacy, will provide Surrey, Burnaby, White Rock and Langley with food-based employment and skills training for youth aging out of foster care, Indigenous youth, women survivors of gendered-based violence and new Canadians.

“Food security is an important part of a healthy, vibrant and inclusive community – and part of that is education, awareness and skills training,” said Gary Begg, MLA for Surrey-Guilford. “This grant brings funding directly to the Sources Community Resources Society so that the organization can expand programs that help people learn food-based employment skills, find new opportunities and foster a strong local food hub.”

The Province provided $3 million to the Victoria Foundation in March 2019. Of that, $1.9 million went to the Mustard Seed Food Bank to help buy its food security distribution centre for southern Vancouver Island. The remaining $1.1 million helped establish the new Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund. The integrated Food Hub and job-skills program is one of the first five projects receiving a total of $665,695. Additional grant recipients will be announced in 2020.

TogetherBC, the Province’s first poverty reduction strategy, was released earlier in 2019 as a cross-government plan to reduce poverty. The Victoria Foundation grant supports the Province’s work by helping organizations develop local food security programs to increase inclusion, make food more affordable, support better opportunities and continue to focus on reconciliation in communities in B.C.

Addressing poverty is a shared commitment between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quotes:

Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction —

“When people have access to safe, secure and culturally appropriate food sources, it creates a more inclusive community that can better support the well-being of the people who live there. We will continue to reduce poverty in our province by supporting organizations that understand local issues.”

Denise Darrell, executive director, Sources Community Resources Centre —

“With these funds, we will be able to take the first step to mitigate food insecurity in our community. While we continue our work to rescue and redirect food that would otherwise go to waste, we will integrate a culinary training program to provide skills training and create job opportunities for people who have significant barriers to educational and employment opportunities. Thanks to this grant, the Sources Food Hub is a stronger, more sustainable and more effective program.”

Sandra Richardson, chief executive officer, Victoria Foundation —

“Food insecurity doesn’t look the same in every community. The Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund is an opportunity for us to partner with local organizations that understand what their communities need. These communities already have the knowledge. The grants from this fund will give them the means to help create and strengthen local food systems and economies.”

Quick Facts:

  • Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund recipients:
    • Carrier Sekani Family Services – $114,257
    • Nuxalk Nation – $114,433
    • Sources Community Resources Society – $191,976
    • Southern Stl’atl’imx Charitable Society – $216,859
    • First Nations Emergency Services Society – $28,170
  • More than 500,000 British Columbians experience some level of household food insecurity.

Learn More:

TogetherBC, B.C.’s first poverty reduction strategy: https://gov.bc.ca/togetherbc

The Victoria Foundation’s food security initiatives: https://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/food-rescue-project/

Sources Community Resource Society: https://www.sourcesbc.ca/

5Dec

Better support for food security in Bella Coola

by admin

People in Bella Coola will soon have access to safer and more nutritious food sources through a new grant for local food security projects.

Nuxalk Nation will receive $114,433 in provincial funding through Victoria Foundation’s new Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund. The project, Asulikts, will increase the area’s food sovereignty and resilience by installing new commercial kitchen and cold storage facilities at the Lip’alhayc Learning Centre (Nuxalk College) in Bella Coola. The project will support the development of a food hub that includes small-scale food processing, social enterprise development, and education and job training for college students.

“Food security is especially important in rural and remote areas of the province like the central coast,” said Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast. “This grant brings funding directly into the community to support the Nuxalk Nation in the continued development of a food hub to educate people on traditional and sustainable food sources and foster better food security where we live.”

The Province provided $3 million to the Victoria Foundation in March 2019. Of that, $1.9 million went to the Mustard Seed Food Bank to help buy its food security distribution centre for southern Vancouver Island. The remaining $1.1 million helped establish the new Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund. Asulikts is one of the first five projects receiving a total of $665,695. Additional grant recipients will be announced in 2020.

“When people have access to safe, secure and culturally appropriate food sources, it creates a more inclusive community that can better support the well-being of the people who live there,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “We will continue to reduce poverty in our province by supporting organizations that understand local issues.”

TogetherBC, the Province’s first poverty reduction strategy, was released earlier in 2019 as a cross-government plan to reduce poverty. The Victoria Foundation grant supports the Province’s work by helping organizations develop local food security programs to increase inclusion, make food more affordable, support better opportunities and continue to focus on reconciliation in communities in B.C.

Addressing poverty is a shared commitment between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quotes:

Lawrence Northeast, administrator, Nuxalk College, on behalf of Nuxalk Nation —

“On behalf of the Nuxalk Nation, we are elated to be receiving this support from the Victoria Foundation to build and operate a commercial kitchen and community food hub at Nuxalk College. This commercial kitchen and community food hub project will fill important gaps in our local and regional food system, with infrastructure and programming to support food-related education, food-processing capacity, community connection and Indigenous food sovereignty.”

Sandra Richardson, chief executive officer, Victoria Foundation —

“Food insecurity doesn’t look the same in every community. The Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund is an opportunity for us to partner with local organizations that understand what their communities need. These communities already have the knowledge. The grants from this fund will give them the means to help create and strengthen local food systems and economies.”

Quick Facts:

  • Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund recipients:
    • Carrier Sekani Family Services – $114,257
    • Nuxalk Nation – $114,433
    • Sources Community Resources Society – $191,976
    • Southern Stl’atl’imx Charitable Society – $216,859
    • First Nations Emergency Services Society – $28,170
  • More than 500,000 British Columbians experience some level of household food insecurity.

Learn More:

TogetherBC, B.C.’s first poverty reduction strategy: https://gov.bc.ca/togetherbc

The Victoria Foundation’s food security initiatives: https://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/food-rescue-project/

Lip’alhayc Learning Centre: https://nuxalknation.ca/education/lipalhayc/

5Dec

Better support for food security in Pemberton/Lillooet area

by admin

The Xa’xtsa, Skatin, Samahquam and N’Quatqua First Nations will soon have access to safer and more nutritious food sources through a new grant for local food security projects.

“This funding will help us immensely with our health plan goals towards traditional wellness for our communities,” said Rosemary Wallace, health director, Southern Stl’alt’imx Charitable Society. “We believe that by providing greater access to food production, harvesting and preserving, we are able to support community members in understanding and preparing the seasonal cycles of food to increase reliance on locally sourced traditional foods.”

Southern Stl’atl’imx Charitable Society (SSCS) will receive $216,859 in provincial funding through Victoria Foundation’s new Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund. It will support food security for the Xa’xtsa, Skatin, Samahquam and N’Quatqua First Nations. The project will revitalize and develop the N’Quatqua Hatchery and support economic development and employment opportunities, and it will expand the Xa’xtsa, Skatin and Samahquam Nations’ community gardens. The initiatives will contribute to the self-sufficiency, resilience and access to traditional foods of the Southern Stl’atl’imx.

“When people have access to safe, secure and culturally appropriate food sources, it creates a more inclusive community that can better support the well-being of the people who live there,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “We will continue to reduce poverty in our province by supporting organizations that understand local issues.”

The Province provided $3 million to the Victoria Foundation in March 2019. Of that, $1.9 million went to the Mustard Seed Food Bank to help buy its food security distribution centre for southern Vancouver Island. The remaining $1.1 million helped establish the new Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund. The SSCS project is one of the first five projects receiving a total of $665,695. Additional grant recipients will be announced in 2020.

“Food insecurity doesn’t look the same in every community. The Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund is an opportunity for us to partner with local organizations that understand what their communities need,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO, Victoria Foundation. “These communities already have the knowledge. The grants from this fund will give them the means to help create and strengthen local food systems and economies.”

TogetherBC, the Province’s first poverty reduction strategy, was released earlier in 2019 as a cross-government plan to reduce poverty. The Victoria Foundation grant supports the Province’s work by helping organizations develop local food security programs to increase inclusion, make food more affordable, support better opportunities and continue to focus on reconciliation in communities in B.C.

Addressing poverty is a shared commitment between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quick Facts:

  • Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund recipients:
    • Carrier Sekani Family Services – $114,257
    • Nuxalk Nation – $114,433
    • Sources Community Resources Society – $191,976
    • Southern Stl’atl’imx Charitable Society – $216,859
    • First Nations Emergency Services Society – $28,170
  • More than 500,000 British Columbians experience some level of household food insecurity.

Learn More:

TogetherBC, B.C.’s first poverty reduction strategy: https://gov.bc.ca/togetherbc

The Victoria Foundation’s food security initiatives: https://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/food-rescue-project/

Southern Stl’atl’imx Charitable Society: https://sshs.ca/

5Dec

Better support for food security for Stellat’en First Nation

by admin

The Stellat’en First Nation will soon have access to safer and more nutritious food sources through a new grant for local food security projects.

Carrier Sekani Family Services will receive $114,257 in provincial funding through Victoria Foundation’s new Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund. The project will install new cold storage facilities for the Stellat’en First Nation, west of Fraser Lake, to increase fresh food production from community gardens and food preservation through the winter months. The new facilities will provide infrastructure to support local Indigenous food systems, sustainability and access to traditional foods.

“When people have access to safe, secure and culturally appropriate food sources, it creates a more inclusive community that can better support the well-being of the people who live there,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “We will continue to reduce poverty in our province by supporting organizations that understand local issues.”

The Province provided $3 million to the Victoria Foundation in March 2019. Of that, $1.9 million went to the Mustard Seed Food Bank to help buy its food security distribution centre for southern Vancouver Island. The remaining $1.1 million helped establish the new Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund. The Carrier Sekani Family Services’ project is one of the first five projects receiving a total of $665,695. Additional grant recipients will be announced in 2020.

“Food insecurity doesn’t look the same in every community. The Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund is an opportunity for us to partner with local organizations that understand what their communities need,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO, Victoria Foundation. “These communities already have the knowledge. The grants from this fund will give them the means to help create and strengthen local food systems and economies.”

TogetherBC, the Province’s first poverty reduction strategy, was released earlier in 2019 as a cross-government plan to reduce poverty. The Victoria Foundation grant supports the Province’s work by helping organizations develop local food security programs to increase inclusion, make food more affordable, support better opportunities and continue to focus on reconciliation in communities in B.C.

Addressing poverty is a shared commitment between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quick Facts:

  • Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund recipients:
    • Carrier Sekani Family Services – $114,257
    • Nuxalk Nation – $114,433
    • Sources Community Resources Society – $191,976
    • Southern Stl’atl’imx Charitable Society – $216,859
    • First Nations Emergency Services Society – $28,170
  • More than 500,000 British Columbians experience some level of household food insecurity.

Learn More:

TogetherBC, B.C.’s first poverty reduction strategy: https://gov.bc.ca/togetherbc

The Victoria Foundation’s food security initiatives: https://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/food-rescue-project/

Carrier Sekani Family Services: https://www.csfs.org/

4Dec

Guided tours provide a deep dive into Tokyo food

by admin

In Lima, we bar-hopped to local hangouts in storied establishments. One, with tales of murder and mayhem and another, the birth place of the pisco sour. In Mexico City, we visited taco stands, including one served off-cut meat fillings like beef tongue and heart — liked it all.  We’d never have found these places on our own. Food and drink tours do it with amazing prowess for us.

More recently, in Tokyo, we went on a best izakaya tour and another one of the outer Tsukiji Market. (The inner market selling wholesale fish moved last year, opening up land for 2020 Tokyo Olympics parking lot and, in the future, a convention centre).


Amanda Addey-Jibb (left in yellow), leading the best izakaya tour in Tokyo. Mia Stainsby photo.

Mia Stainsby /

PNG

The izakaya tour by Ninja Food Tours was led by expat Amanda Addey-Jibb from Montreal. She’d moved to Tokyo three years ago to teach English and spoke Japanese fluently so could throw in cultural asides like this: “The kids here clean schools, including the bathrooms and teachers’ rooms every day,” to which the Americans, Canadians and English on the tour looked at her in wide-eyed astonishment.

The izakaya tour ($139.69, with food and drinks) in the electric Shinjiku ward, a city within a city, and we hoofed it through several areas including the Kabukicho area, the red light district where Anthony Bourdain was completely gobsmacked (and drunk) at  Robot Restaurant in an episode of Parts Unknown a few years back.

Pachinko parlours deafeningly dominate the neighbourhood with its high-decibel sounds.

“It’s basically like a slot machine and a pinball machine had a baby,” Addey-Jibb said. “Gambling is illegal but there’s a loophole — they win prizes, then take the prizes to a second location where they get paid for them.”  

We cut through parts of Golden Gai, a maze of alleyways with more than 200 bars and tiny restaurants built along railway tracks. Another bustling alley, Omoide Yokocho (Memory Lane), Addey-Jibb explained was formerly called Piss Alley.

“That was before the war. Now there are toilets,” she said.

There are dozens of similar narrow alleys squeezed behind train stations or between highrises, jammed with bars and restaurants. Omoide intrigued us enough to return for a yakitori dinner on another evening.

We visited three izakayas, sampling several dishes and different drinks at each.

Garakuta izakaya is known for chicken yakitori. Like at most izakayas, we start with an otoshi, a compulsory house appetizer, a kind of cover charge and insurance that patrons eat some food with their drinks. That evening, it was Japanese style coleslaw. Then, grilled chicken skewers, including heart, thigh, shoulder, breast, and chicken oyster (tail) all sauced differently.

“They use very good quality white charcoal (binchotan charcoal) for the grill,” said Addey-Jibb. We finished with grilled nigiri and miso soup. “Helps with digestion,” she said.

Takamaru Izakaya is all about seafood, and a handwritten menu changes daily — we’d have been lost without Addey-Jibb! We started with lotus root and daikon in broth.  The sake was poured sosogi-koboshi style. That is, into a glass, flooding sake into a wooden box (masu).  Awkward, but hey, kampai!  

I loved the Okinawa seaweed that looked like little jade pearls with ponzu sauce and grated daikon. Then some sashimi, and a cooked yellow tail tuna fish head (here’s lookin’ at you, the eyes said) from which to pick off the meat and finally, a plate of crab croquettes.


Okinawa seaweed on Izakaya tour in Tokyo. Photo by Mia Stainsby.

Mia Stainsby /

PNG

At Dandadan, the specialty is pork gyoza and pork appetizers. The otoshi this time was a mound of marinated bean sprouts, followed by gyoza (delicious) and pork chasu.

Then we took a deep dive into the labyrinth of Shinjiku metro station, heading for the best matcha ice cream in the city at Cha no Ikedaya. 

“The family’s been doing it for 45 years,” Addey-Jibb said. Everyone had matcha ice cream swirled with vanilla. I opted for matcha rice cake with matcha ice cream filling.

But, honestly, I wasn’t tasting much. I’d screwed up. I had popped into a washroom en route, thinking I’d catch up with the group. Ha! Shinjinku station is the largest maze in the world with over 200 exits.

Addey-Jibb back-tracked and found me (stay put, like in the wilderness!) but in my Roadrunner attempt to catch up to the group, I’d dropped my cell phone. After the group disbanded at Chano Ikedaya, Addey-Jibb retraced steps to the general scene of the loss, asked where security was and within 10 minutes, a uniformed man with white gloves was handing it back to me.

I knew I’d get it back — theft in Japan is rare — but  I was freaked at the thought of locating it in Shinjiku station. On the matter of theft, we saw thousands of parked bikes in the city, none of them locked. And one evening, at a small yakitori restaurant (Masakichi, David Chang’s favourite yakitori), we saw two large suitcases parked outside on the street with owners tucked inside without a view. I have a photo if you don’t believe me.


Outer Tsukiji Market tour in Tokyo. Mia Stainsby photo.

Mia Stainsby /

PNG

On our tour of the outer Tsukiji Market by Japan Wonder Travel, we met guide Yoshimi Hanaoka at an entrance for a 90-minute tour ($38 without food or drink but there are options with food or a cooking class).

We went overtime as there are more than 400-plus shops and a new fresh market area. We nibbled and shopped our way through the market with Hanaoka guiding us to the best shops that drew foodies like Michelin-starred chefs from Tokyo and Paris.

This outer market, which complemented the inner market, sells dry goods, cookware, Japanese vegetables, tea, nori and other foods, has artisan producers, and restaurants, and still thrives.

We started at 9 a.m. but by 11 a.m., it was very congested. Our first stop was for nigiri sushi at a stall run by an 81-year-old chef; he’d cooked for 60 years and ran the stall for eight years with fish from Toyosu Fish Market, where fishmongers from Tsukiji Fish Market had moved last year, about two kilometres away.

“A lot of people pick up breakfast or dinner here,” Hanaoka said. “Tourist restaurants are more expensive. Stand up is less expensive.”


Grilled scallops at Outer Tsukiji Market tour.

Mia Stainsby /

PNG

Shops handed out samples like dried codfish with plum, sesame, and pickles. I bought nori at a place where three-Michelin star chefs shop says Hanaoka and dashi powder (an umami bomb for Japanese cooks) made with three kinds of fish after I sampled some as a hot broth.

I bought sesame seeds tinted red from umeboshi (pickled plums), again after tasting a sample; I thought it would be great sprinkled on hot rice or covering grilled nigiri.  My husband downed a gigantic fresh oyster and we had some fish cakes on sticks. We had tamago popsicles (my words) — the chef behind the stand makes perfect rolled fluffy, rich-tasting omelettes (with chopsticks), cuts them into rectangles and serves pieces on sticks.

We then explored a new addition to the area, a retail fish and fresh produce market. Shoppers can buy fish at the market and have it grilled to eat on the third floor and on Saturdays, there’s a do-it-yourself barbecue and picnic area on a rooftop deck with a view to the 2020 Olympics site.

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30Jul

How being trans can make food bank access a challenge | CBC News

by admin

Matthew Vieira, 39, was given the name Margaret when he was born, but he’s been out as transgender and male since he was nine years old.

About a year ago, Vieira was homeless. Now he has an apartment in Delta, but he’s on disability assistance and has been relying on support from the food bank for the past three months.

Vieira has run into barriers when trying to get help at some food banks. For one, his driver’s licence has his old, or “dead” name, which can cause confusion for some — he doesn’t have the funds to get a legal name change. Then there are the moral hang-ups some people still have about transgender people.

“I’ve been refused at some food banks. A couple of the food banks I’ve gone to have been very Christian or Catholic-orientated, and they don’t deal with trans very well, so I’ve been refused,” he said. “It’s very hard when you need help and to get refused.”

Matthew Vieira’s driver’s licence bears a different name than his Care Card, Margaret Anne Vieira, causing confusion and questions whenever someone demands to see his ID. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Those worries disappear when Vieira makes the trip twice a month to East Vancouver’s Saige Community Food Bank.

“Everybody’s welcome,” he said.

Anyone setting foot in the Kiwassa Neighbourhood house on the second and fourth Friday of each month will instantly know there’s something different about the food bank. It’s immediately clear that it’s a safe space for people in the LGBT community.

Different colourful flags representing bisexual, transgender, non-binary and two-spirited communities adorn the room, along with the traditional LGBT rainbow flag.

Volunteers Yuen Cao and Yue Tao Lo help prepare the food on an array of tables before guests arrive to receive fresh produce and other food. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Most of the volunteers wear name tags that include their preferred pronoun, including he/him, she/her, or them/their.

“It’s pretty cool. We’re very unique that way — we’re like a family,” said Tanya Kuhn, co-founder and director of the food bank.

According to Kuhn, between 150 and 200 people will visit the food bank each month, along with others who get prepared bags of fresh produce and food. She said that about half the guests are members of the LGBTQ community.

“They love coming here. They love coming to socialize,” said Kuhn. “They love coming to see us and to say hello.”

Tanya Kuhn, co-founder and director of Saige Community Food Bank, says the bi-monthly service is a safe place for everyone, with no ID checks or required proof of income. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Jess Chan, who identifies as non-binary (preferring the pronouns them/their), has been volunteering at Saige for a few years.

Chan considers themselves privileged, having the resources to get a legal name change and corresponding documents. And despite struggling to hold a job for about a year, Chan hasn’t experienced challenges with access to food or housing.

“I realized there’s a lot of people out there who don’t quite have the same level privilege that I have,” said Chan.

Jess Chan has volunteered at Saige for a few years, handling many of the specialty items like diapers and school supplies. They say the lack of barriers is what makes the food bank stand out from others. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

“I do have trans friends who have experienced homelessness in the past, or extreme poverty,” they said. “I know oftentimes it was because they were kicked out of their parents’ houses because their parents couldn’t accept them, and that’s very hard.”

According to Kuhn, the food bank started because she believes it’s important to provide people with healthy food in a dignified way, but elsewhere, that’s not what Vieira has encountered.

“There should be no boundaries anywhere. It’s not the 1800s anymore,” he said. “We’re all human. We all bleed the same blood, we all breathe the same air. No one is different.”


Do you have more to add to this story? Email rafferty.baker@cbc.ca

Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker




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6Jun

Food security centre creates stronger food economy in Victoria

by admin

Healthy, fresh and sustainable food options are now on the table for more than 35,000 people facing food insecurity in the Greater Victoria area.

With support from the Province, the Mustard Seed has secured a permanent home for its Food Security Distribution Centre.

The Mustard Seed has purchased the centre at 102-808 Viewfield Rd. with the help of $2 million in provincial funding provided through the Victoria Foundation. The building is home to a growing system of food security programs, food literacy initiatives and other community social supports. It is also the central collection point for the Food Share Network, a collaboration of more than 50 organizations including non-profits, First Nations, school districts and other community agencies that operate food security programs in the area.

“Our goal as a government is to make lives better for people in our province and the best way to achieve this goal is to work together,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “The collaboration and partnership of different organizations is filling gaps in affordability and opportunity so that people and their families can live healthier, fuller lives.”

More than 1,815 kilograms (4,000 pounds) of fresh food from grocery stores pass through the centre each day. This food is redistributed to Food Share Network partner programs across the region.

“When we waste food, we waste all of the additional resources it takes to get it to our tables,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “The partners in the Food Share Network have collaborated to create an innovative solution that keeps food on the plates of people who need it most. It’s about working together to tap into the large number of food resources in our region and create a sustainable food economy that works together to support everyone who lives here.”

The Mustard Seed and the Victoria Foundation have plans for the building and intend to explore new opportunities beyond the traditional food bank model. They will work with organizations and individuals through a community consultation process to determine the best way the distribution centre can continue to support food-insecure families and the local food economy.

“The Mustard Seed is a well-known food bank in the community, but we have big goals for the distribution centre that go beyond the traditional food bank model,” said Derek Pace, executive director, Mustard Seed Street Church. “We’re working closely with other organizations to make the distribution centre an integral part of a sweeping network of services that provide fresh, healthy produce to families and connect them with programs that support opportunities in food literacy, education, employment and more.”

The funding is part of a $3-million grant from the Province to support the Victoria Foundation’s new Food Security Provincial Initiatives Fund. The fund will expand food security programs and initiatives in communities throughout British Columbia. More details of the consultation process for the distribution of funds will be available in a short time.

“The Food Share Network is an innovative collaboration of organizations that work closely with their communities and understand where their programs fit in the larger picture of regional food security,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO, Victoria Foundation. “Local organizations know the unique needs of the people they support. Our Food Security Provincial Initiatives Fund will use the great work being done here in Victoria as a guide when we work with provincial and local organizations in other communities in B.C., to build on the work already being done throughout the province.”

The grant aligns with TogetherBC, the Province’s first poverty reduction strategy, which works across governments, non-profit organizations, businesses, First Nations leaders and Indigenous communities to reduce poverty in B.C.

Quotes:

Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin —

“I’m proud of the great work that is being done right here in Esquimalt. Now that the distribution centre is a permanent fixture in the community, I look forward to watching it support a growing network of services that put food on the plates of people who need it. This community and the partners in the Food Share Network clearly recognize the change that can happen when we all work together.”

Peggy Wilmot, food bank co-ordinator, The Food Bank at St. John’s and Greater Victoria Acting Together —

“Both the Food Security Distribution Centre and the Food Rescue Project are the result of ongoing collaboration among the many organizations delivering the services of the Food Share Network. Every bit as important are those supporting the work, like services clubs, grocery stores, farmers, funders and various levels of government. The great success of the Food Share Network shows the power of community coming together across sectors to make us better equipped to support our neighbours and tackle our common challenges of poverty and food insecurity.”

Matthew Kemshaw, executive director, LifeCycles Project Society and chair, Food Share Network —

“Food insecurity is a regional challenge that affects a broad range of people. More than 50 agencies are participating in the Food Share Network and are distributing fresh healthy food throughout the region, so the people that you are helping are your neighbours. We believe that by working together, as a community, we can ensure everyone has dignified access to healthy, delicious food.”

Steve Walker Duncan, program chair, culinary training, Camosun College —

“Now that the Food Security Distribution Centre is a permanent hub for food security in the community, Camosun College and the Mustard Seed are working together to create a culinary employment program that will support people with barriers to employment train and find work in the culinary field. The program will create opportunities for people looking for employment in a culinary industry that is constantly looking for new staff.”

Quick Facts:

  • The distribution centre has been leased by the Mustard Seed Street Church for the Food Rescue Project since 2017.
  • The goal of the centre is to provide additional regional infrastructure, such as food processing, cold and dry storage and social enterprise incubation, all for the local food economy.
  • Each year, the distribution centre distributes roughly 545,000 kilograms (1.2 million pounds) of food throughout Greater Victoria.
  • Over half a million British Columbians experience some level of household food insecurity.

Learn More:

TogetherBC, B.C.’s first poverty reduction strategy:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/initiatives-plans-strategies/poverty-reduction-strategy/togetherbc.pdf

The Victoria Foundation’s food security initiatives:
https://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/food-rescue-project/

The Mustard Seed Street Church’s Food Rescue Project:
http://mustardseed.ca/food-rescue/


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17May

Transcendental Meditation is food for thought in battle against ourselves

by admin

Consciousness & Creativity with David Lynch & Bob Roth

When: May 23, 7 p.m.

Where: SFU Goldcorp theatre

Tickets and info: $27.50-$65 eventbrite.ca

These days it seems you can’t swing a string of Buddha beads without hitting someone who meditates or is about to start to do so with help from their freshly downloaded Headspace meditation app.

Despite some forms of it dating to as far back as 1500 BCE, it seems meditation really is all the rage today. You can tell that is true by how tightly the marketers have embraced the idea of selling inner peace. Everything from juice to moisturizing lotion and bubble bath come with the word mindful attached. If you are in the U.K. you can even order online meals from the Mindful Chef. However, you have to agree to not talk with your mouth open. Actually not talk at all. Kidding.

“Meditation has become so much more mainstream, all the different forms,” said Anne-Mareike Chu, who is one of the 20 registered transcendental meditation, or TM, teachers who work out of the Vancouver TM Centre. “We have lots of people who come to us who have tried different kinds of meditation or apps.”

If you’re the type of consumer that likes a good celebrity stamp-of-approval in these influencer-driven times then TM has you covered. Supermodel Kendall Jenner told Vogue it helped her with anxiety and to clear her mind. Fans of Ellen DeGeneres’s daytime TV show have likely heard her talk about her eight-year TM practice.

“It’s changed my life,” said DeGeneres during a show that aired a year ago.

She was talking about TM on this day because her personal TM teacher Bob Roth was on the show with his new book, The New York Times Bestseller Strength in Stillness — The Power of Transcendental Meditation.

The book is a quick and interesting guide to TM through Roth and other people’s (some famous, some not) experiences. It’s an engaging and unfailingly understandable guide to a meditation practice that was brought to North America 50-plus years ago by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Roth learned the practice from the Maharishi/guru to the Beatles and has been practising it for five decades. For the past four decades he has been instructing it to everyone from PTSD-suffering war veterans to Fortune 500 CEOS to anxious teens to Tom Hanks.

Aside from teaching, Roth runs the non-profit David Lynch Foundation (DLF) that he formed with the famed film director 15 years ago.

As part of the DLF’s international outreach (it has offices in 35 countries) Roth is in Vancouver for the Consciousness & Creativity with David Lynch (via live video link) & Bob Roth event on May 23 (7 p.m.) at the SFU Goldcorp theatre. He will also be travelling to Montreal and Toronto.

The event is a discussion of TM, Roth’s book and a chance for audience members to ask questions of him and Lynch. Lynch is the director behind such wonderfully weird works as Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks.

“We’re both Eagle Scouts. Which is funny David Lynch as an Eagle Scout,” said Roth over the phone from his office in N.Y. when asked about he and Lynch’s connection.


David Lynch will be joining Strength in Stillness author Bob Roth in Vancouver on May 23 to talk about the power of transcendental meditation. The David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace is a global foundation founded by the film director to fund the teaching of TM in schools.

Josh Telles /

PNG

Currently there is a DLF office in Toronto and Roth says there are plans to expand in Canada.

The non-profit focus of the foundation is to bring free TM to inner-city kids, vets and victims of domestic abuse. Roth reports that the foundation in North America has delivered meditation to about one million of those people. All the proceeds from Strength in Stillness will go back into supporting that work.

Roth’s connection to famous folks began with Lynch. From there word of mouth brought him together with other bold names like Oprah, Jerry Seinfeld, Howard Stern and hedge-fund billionaire Ray Dalio.

“Whether they are CEOs or famous people they say: ‘Oh, you need a good cardiologist. I’ve got a good cardiologist for you. Oh, you need a good meditation guy, oh, I’ve got a good meditation guy.’ So that’s how it works,” says Roth about his famous clientele.

While more and more celebs and CEOs are signing up, Roth says there is another growing demographic — politicians.

It’s seems the lawmakers (sometimes) in Washington are a little bit stressed out these days. Hmmm, wonder why? Roth says he has been working with quite a few members of the U.S. Congress — members from both sides of the aisle.

“It can’t hurt,” said the affable Roth when asked about bringing meditation to the partisan gridlock of the beltway.

“There’s a different quality of stress in Washington, D.C. Everyone’s furious with them. The members of Congress go back to their districts and no one is happy with them,” said Roth. “You’re either not Liberal enough. Not Conservative enough. Nobody is happy and it is sort of this thankless task. They’re really stressed.”

A big driver for Roth these days is to help end what he calls the “epidemic of stress.”

“Modern medicine has no antidote to stress and people are eager to minimize the detrimental impact of stress,” said Roth.

“Canadians go to TM centres now: that means, all types of Canadians — students, retired people, doctors, business people, athletes, teachers, clergy, yoga instructors, because stress does not recognize age or religion or profession,” says Roth.

When talking about TM’s benefits Roth points to studies and peer-reviewed papers that support TM”s health-benefit (less anxiety, better sleep) claims. The American Heart Association has gone so far as to say the practice of TM helps to lower blood pressure.

Right now the DLF is in the midst of raising funds to bankroll more third-party research so that TM is considered in the same light as any other medicine or any other medical intervention.

“Right now we are in the process of subjecting TM to the exact type of studies so that we can go to all these insurance companies and employee assistance programs and government agencies and say, Hey this is as good or as if not better at reducing high blood pressure than this antihypertensive medication and there are no side-effects and we’ve got the same research by the same researchers as a drug,’ ” says Roth.

It’s the increase in and access to studies and discussions about meditation that Roth and Chu say have led to an uptick in interest in all forms of meditation.

“Meditation in general used to be seen as so out there, but now it is so widely accepted because people started realizing the power of our mind really lies within and now science is catching up to that finding,” says Chu, who worked in the sustainability field with Bing Thom, the famed Vancouver architect and TM enthusiast. “People are more open to natural treatment to improve their health and well-being.”

TM is easy. You sit down comfortably. And with your eyes closed, repeat a mantra.

“I use the analogy that you are in a little boat and you are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and all of a sudden you get these 30- or 40-foot-high waves around you and you could think the whole ocean is in upheaval, but the word whole ocean is a bit of an exaggeration because if you were able to do a cross-section out there you would realize that the ocean is over a mile deep and while the surface of the ocean may be turbulent, by nature the depths of the ocean by its nature are pretty darn quiet,” said Roth when asked to describe TM. “The analogy is to the mind.”

The official TM course in Vancouver will run you $1,300 (centres do have discounts depending on individual circumstances) for a lifetime membership. The course consists of four consecutive days with 90-minute-to-two-hour sessions.

In Vancouver, the TM Centre says about 35,000 people have picked up the practice since the late-1960s.

“Vancouver is one of the most successful centres,” said Roth, who also hosts a Sirius XM radio show.

While TM is booming there have been detractors over the years. Some people have called it a cult (especially at the higher levels of the practice) and some just poo-poo it as some leftover flower-child, free love thing invented by a tiny hirsute Indian man who thought he could fly (look up yogic flying).

However, if social media and shopping habits are any indication, the times have changed and people no longer think yoga, organic food and meditation are only for the hippies and Gwyneth Paltrow.

dgee@postmedia.com

twitter.com/dana_gee

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