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We’re hiring!

Posted by on Apr 12, 2017 in Important Info | Comments Off on We’re hiring!

We’re hiring!

We have two great job opportunities right now.  One is a full time role to coordinate the Community Gardens and Seed Library programs, and one is a part time Office Coordinator role.  Both are great ways to get involved in the thriving food security movement.   More details are here: Employment...

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Seedy Saturday 2017

Posted by on Jan 23, 2017 in Important Info | Comments Off on Seedy Saturday 2017

Seedy Saturday 2017

    Join us in an annual celebration of local seeds, gardening, and education that supports a healthy, strong community and local food system. The 8th Annual Richmond Seedy Saturday is on Saturday, March 4th, 2017 at Thompson Community Centre, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Admission is by donation. For more information please see the event page or contact us.  Spend the day at Seedy Saturday and and get ready for the upcoming gardening season with local seed, garden, and plant companies. Bring seeds for the seed exchange  and your gardening questions to ask a Master Gardener.  This is a family-friendly celebration so bring the whole family and enjoy the kids activity area, live music, baked goods, and tea and coffee. The event brings together community members, local seed, garden & plant companies, non-profits, and community groups to recognize the importance of, and increase access to, locally-grown and adapted seeds.   Workshops with organic farmer and seed producer David Catzel: 10:30 a.m. – Home-Scale Seed Saving 12:30 p.m. – GMO vs Hybrid vs Open Pollinated: What’s the Difference? *Save your seat by pre-registering online.   Whether you are a beginner or master gardener, novice or expert seed-saver, or just curious about gardening and our food system, there is something for everyone at Richmond Seedy Saturday. See you...

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Richmond’s Season of Plenty

Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 in Important Info | Comments Off on Richmond’s Season of Plenty

Richmond’s Season of Plenty

By Anne Swann, Public Health Dietitian with Vancouver Coastal Health and Richmond Eats 2016 participant.  Richmond’s Season of Plenty I was recently on vacation and was talking to a gentleman from Hawaii, living now in Vancouver. When he found out I was from Richmond, he began raving about Richmond blueberries and fresh tomatoes (that he purchased in bulk from a farm market and made into the “best” tomato sauce in the world). I was proud to be a resident of such a place, especially in its season of plenty. I decided to dive in and explore further this city I call home by taking part in Richmond Eats: The Local Eating Challenge. As I drove from farm-to-farm, and farm-market to farm-market, gathering the bounty of locally grown food, I was not only surprised by the variety of what was available, but also the dedication of the local farmers who produced the food. I was able to purchase locally grown blueberries, watermelon, Kabocha squash, green beans, broccoli, green and yellow zucchini, lettuce, green peppers, green peas, strawberries, beets and beet greens, corn-on-the-cob, tomatoes, Swiss chard, cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, honey, roasting chickens, eggs, beef and salmon. Add to this the local backyard plums and apples I was given by friends, and I was all set. I also added three foods to round out my four food-group offerings: milk, brown rice and tea (my personal comfort food). I would eat well, eat healthfully and enjoy this experience.   Bounty of Colors and Nutrients Every color of the rainbow could be found on my plate.  All those fresh produce colours are natural pigments that are wonderfully useful to humans. Red tomatoes and watermelon contain a pigment that may help stop the growth of cancer. Red, blue and purple pigments from strawberries, blueberries, beets and plums are antioxidants that may help protect against heart disease. Orange colored squash and carrots carry carotene which also may reduce the risk of cancer. Yellow corn and green beans, peas, peppers and leafy lettuce are rich in pigments that seem to protect eye health. Even pale colored produce such as cauliflower, green grapes, and pears contain other disease-preventing substances and vitamins and minerals, making them desirable. By including as many colors as possible, I am enjoying the fresh taste and feel of just ripe, just picked fruits and veggies. Plus, in doing so, I am reducing my health risks. Countless studies have linked produce consumption with a reduced risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancers, cataracts and obesity. Yet the recent “My Health My Community Survey” (2013-2014) of Richmond adults found that only 21% of residents surveyed consumed at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.  (Actually, Canada’s Food Guide recommends that all adults consume at least seven daily servings). In fact, Richmond ranked last of all the Vancouver Coastal Health communities in this regard. Come on my friends. This is the season of plenty. Let’s get out there and indulge.   Fish for the Taking Did you know that Richmond is the home of Canada’s largest commercial fishing harbour? Steveston Harbour provides boat moorage, repair, storage, waste disposal, an ice plant, unloading station and a public floating fish market. It is home to more than 500 commercial fishing boats. If you have not been...

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Local plums, beans, honey, and wine

Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 in Important Info | 1 comment

Local plums, beans, honey, and wine

Sometimes we have to sacrifice some of the pleasures in life to do the right thing — but how fun is that? For me, it’s about the sweet tooth. Sure, I’m game to take on Richmond’s second annual Local Eating Challenge, which is happening this week. This means myself and supporters of Richmond Food Security Society (RFSS) are eating only produce grown here on Lulu Island, meat raised by Richmond’s farmers, and fish sold at the Steveston docks in order to raise money to support food security in Richmond. Why are we doing this? Local eating supports local farmers and helps protect our farmland, is healthy as food is fresh harvested and unprocessed, and gives us the chance to learn about and influence how our food is grown. Our food system is complex, and reaches deep into everything from nutrition to climate change, social justice to economics, real estate and poverty. The Local Eating Challenge is a way to look closely at how our own food choices — and we all eat — feed into these issues. Still, the question persisted, where am I going to get my honey, given that the early growing season has affected this year’s honey harvest? In fact, the beekeeper from The Sharing Farm may not harvest honey this year as the season is so early and she was nervous the bees won’t have enough for themselves. Last weekend, she scrounged up a small amount to get me started, but the hunt was on not just for honey but everything else I would need to feed myself for the week. Looking for the widest variety of foods I could find, I spent most of a day driving from farm to farm with a copy of Richmond’s Local Eating map by my side. I started shopping at Rabbit River Farms for a flat of free range organic eggs, then went to The Fowl Farmer for chicken.  At W and A Farms I stocked up on beef, beets, carrots, and potatoes, and took a side trip to go see the Black Angus cows grazing nearby. Then, it was off to Canada Berries for wine. Thanks to their case-load sale, I am fully stocked for the week with blueberry, cranberry, and blackberry wines all made with Richmond grown fruit. I had high hopes on the way to West Coast Bee Supply for honey, but sadly their Richmond honey won’t be available until next week so I was still looking ahead to an unsweetened week. Next stop was Richmond Country Farms for fruit and vegetables. They had four kinds of home grown melons, strawberries, peas, and corn.  They also just opened Country Vines, a winery selling a range of wines including one made with Richmond grown grapes. Their Back Forty Pinot Gris is a great addition to my menu. I was still on the hunt for honey and a facebook shout out brought me to Yummy Yards. The farmer kindly offered to extract some fresh honey for me and was able to get a few tablespoons out, though he was stung twice in the process. They did have some onions and spinach which I added to my load. On Sunday I went to The Sharing Farm’s Annual Garlic Fest and found green beans, cabbage, salad greens, and peppers. Finally,...

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Richmond’s Food Charter is Ready!

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016 in Important Info | Comments Off on Richmond’s Food Charter is Ready!

Richmond’s Food Charter is Ready!

After several years of community engagement with over 400 Richmond residents, the Richmond Food Charter is now complete. Join us Tuesday June 28, 4:00 2016 in the Anderson Room at Richmond City hall as we present the Food Charter to the Parks and Recreation Committee and ask for their endorsement. Food charters remind the community of the primary importance of adequate food for all, and ultimately serve to guide policy and programming decisions. Food charters have been endorsed in cities across Canada including Toronto, Vancouver, Squamish, Kamloops, and Victoria.  While each community approaches it differently, all ultimately emphasize the importance of building a local food community and economy. The need for a Food Charter was identified in Richmond’s Official Community Plan, and a Working Group was formed.  The Working Group included staff and volunteers from Richmond Food Security Society, Vancouver Coastal Health, Canadian Federation of University Women, and Richmond’s Poverty Response Committee as well as City of Richmond staff.  26 Kitchen Table Talks were held, and 7 themes were identified from those rich discussions.  The resulting charter captures the communities shared values and commitments towards building a food secure...

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Hey youth! Get Rooted!

Posted by on Apr 20, 2016 in Important Info | Comments Off on Hey youth! Get Rooted!

Hey youth! Get Rooted!

Canada is a country that boasts natural beauty, friendly communities, and celebrations of multiculturalism and diversity. Yet, the 2011-2012 survey by Statistics Canada (1) raised attention to food security issues on a national scale; 8.3%, or 1 in 12 Canadian households experience food insecurity.   Hunger may be the first thing that comes to mind when food insecurity is named, but the root causes and rippling impacts go far beyond simply “the lack of food”. Researchers found (1) that food insecure individuals are also compromised in physical and mental health, reduced in their ability to perform to full potential at school and work, and possessed greater risks for perceived lack of social support, depression and chronic stress. With 1 in 20 children also experiencing food insecurity (1), this issue is relevant for both current and future generations of Canadians.     As a relatively new identified issue, food security is achieved (2) through knowledge, research, community connections, as well as action and advocacy for environmental sustainability, local food movements, and policy change. From grass-roots movements in the community to policy change at the government level, the path to food security is challenging, multidisciplinary, and lengthy; however, reaching this goal will bring incalculable positive impact for all.   Richmond Food Security Society (RFSS) believes in growing a robust local food system through advocacy, education, and initiatives at fighting hunger and increasing local food production. The Get Rooted Youth Leadership Program is designed to provide Richmond youth (16-25 years old) with just that: educational workshops, volunteer initiatives, and action projects that advocate for food security in Richmond.   In 2015, Get Rooted Youth Leaders attended six expert-led workshops, accumulated 158 program volunteer hours, and hosted a successful symposium at Kwantlen University to engage the Richmond community in food security advocacy. Based on these successful outcomes and positive participant feedback, RFSS is excited to host Get Rooted again in the summer of 2016.  We aim to increase youth recruitment up to 30 and expand program impact through more volunteering and action projects.     Recruitment  for the 2016 Get Rooted Youth Leadership Program is happening now!! For more information, go to our program page.          “Young people are a huge untapped resource for organizations and communities…They can offer organizations fresh perspectives on issues, innovative problem solving…and the courage to pose tough questions that need to be asked…Youth engagement ensures that…their voices help shape the future…youth are no longer seen as recipients of services but as citizens that are actively engaged and involved in the issues and processes that affect them…it is about adults and youth working together as equal partners to make decisions and create change. ” – Ministry of Children and Family Development, 2013   Food security (3) exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.   References: Statistics Canada. Health at a glance: food insecurity in Canada [Internet]. Ottawa: Government of Canada; 2012 [updated 2015 Nov 27; cited 2016 Apr 13]. Available from: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2015001/article/14138-eng.htm Food Secure Canada. What is food sovereignty [Internet]. Montreal: Food Secure Canada. Available from: http://foodsecurecanada.org/who-we-are/what-food-sovereignty Food and Agriculture Organization (United Nations). Food security: concepts and measurement. Rome: Economic and social development; 2002....

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Organic Origins: Hands-on Gardening Workshops

Posted by on Apr 9, 2016 in Important Info | Comments Off on Organic Origins: Hands-on Gardening Workshops

Organic Origins: Hands-on Gardening Workshops

The head of the UK’s Countryside Agency famously said in 2007 that civilization is ‘nine meals away from anarchy’. This stems from the fact that most grocery stores have only three days supply of food on their shelves. In the event that the food supply was interrupted it would only be three days before food began to run out and people became hungry. The chances of this happening are small but it highlights the fragility of the food system we rely on and brings into question how food secure we really are. One important aspect of food security is knowing how to grow your own.  We are happy to offer a series of hands-on workshops this season that will give novice gardeners the skills and confidence they need to go forward and create their own productive food gardens. These workshops will be in the Terra Nova Rural Park Community Garden. Working together, we will transform four vacant plots of land into productive, organic food gardens over the season. Participants are welcome to attend one or all of the workshops. Each workshop has a $10 fee. Workshops will cover planning, preparation and planting, weed management, water management and pest control, harvesting, cover cropping and planting as well as winter prep and planning for the next season.  Organic methods will be modeled throughout the workshops. Learning to grow food is a lifelong pursuit. Organic Origins hands-on gardening workshops will give participants enough information to successfully grow their own organic vegetables.  There is no better way to learn than by doing. So come out, get your hands dirty and become more food secure. Check our events calendar for the workshop dates. Visit handonworkshop.eventbrite.ca to register or contact us to save your spot. View our poster for additional...

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Stir It Up!

Posted by on Apr 8, 2016 in Important Info | Comments Off on Stir It Up!

Stir It Up!

  The Stir It Up! Youth Community Kitchen will be back in session this coming May, at the East Richmond Community Hall and Steveston Community Centre!   Every week, Richmond youth will be creating and sharing delicious, hearty meals together, made from healthy, sustainable and local ingredients. From fresh salads to homemade pasta, curried chicken and rice to banana bread warm out of the oven, participating youth will be gaining food skills as well as learning creative ways to utilize seasonal ingredients.   The goal of this program is to support youth in developing food skills, learning nutritional knowledge, and accessing local resources to improve their individual food security. Being food-secure is not merely having the physical and financial access to food, but also for what is consumed to be nutritious, sustainable, and supportive of a healthy, active life (World Food Summit, 1996).           Home-cooking a meal can be an incredibly enjoyable, creative, and budget-friendly event. Youth will learn that, through easy food-prep and cooking methods, fresh and inexpensive ingredients can be made into scrumptious meals. Eating a meal created with friends can bring a wonderful sense of accomplishment and community.   Cooking is a skill that benefits long-term health. Fresh ingredients contain the most nutrients and flavours naturally, therefore not only do they provide the body with the most nourishment, the amount of sugar, fat, and salt needed for good taste is also much less than heavily processed foods. An example would be home-made soups versus canned, the previous containing a few hundred milligrams of sodium per serving, compared to the 1500+ milligrams often found in the latter. High intakes of sugar, fat and salt are associated with increased risks for serious diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary disease.   Stir It Up will be equipping youth with life-long tools to optimize their food security. The impact of this program will not end with the individuals participating, but extend to their families, friends, communities and future households as they exercise and share what they have learned.   “The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, from the mere animal biology to an act of culture.” – Michael...

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Seed Library Starts Today

Posted by on Mar 2, 2016 in Important Info | Comments Off on Seed Library Starts Today

Seed Library Starts Today

Now in it’s fifth year, the Richmond Community Seed Library continues to grow and engage Richmond residents in growing a robust local food system.   What is a Seed Library?  Just like a book library, members of the seed library can ‘check out’ seeds.  They grow the plants, and let some of them go to seed, which they save and return to the Seed Library for others to borrow in the next growing season.   Seed libraries are one response to increasing community control of our food supply. People have both the right and the responsibility to engage in the source of their food. The local food movement is growing;  more people are choosing to eat locally in order to support their local farmers, keep money in the local economy and have a say in how their food is produced. The next step is to understand where our seeds come from and contribute to change. Many of the seeds bought at local garden centres are grown in the USA and Europe, which means the plants aren’t adapted to our climate here in the Lower Mainland.  As well, many commercially grown plant varieties are increasingly selected for traits like how well the fruit survives transport, or uniform ripening, rather than for flavour and nutrition.  When you save seeds, you get to choose what plants are the most desirable and why. Not only that, seed saving is fun, saves you money, and contributes to community food security.   Seed saving is a natural next step for folks who love to garden, and it’s a skill everyone can learn.  Some plants have seeds that are easier to save, while some are more difficult, so there are plants for every skill level. It is a great way to connect deeply with the beautiful life cycle of plants.   We invite you to join the movement towards a resilient and food secure community. The Richmond Community Seed Library will be at the Brighouse and Ironwood locations of the Richmond Public Library at least twice a month, as well as at community events. Check the events calendar for Seed Library dates. Check here for more info and...

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