Food is one of those special needs of human beings that is also so often part of the social fabric and history of a place. It is not only a delicious way to nourish the body but is a multi-sensory delight and part of the social contracts that knit communities together.
Fresh air, clean water, shelter, love, all basic human needs but none perhaps with as much emphasis on the sensual as food!
However, many threats to food security should cause us alarm.
An answer that seems to bypass the usually divisions of politics and class are the community-driven food-justice organizations that are inclusive, open to anyone who wants to participate at any level. Food justice and security issues impact everyone from farmers and farm workers, to restaurant owners and workers and the corporations and systems that produce and supply food.
An interest in a food system that produces safe, nourishing and accessible food for everyone without risking the future of the food of future generations by degrading the environment cuts across all sectors of society’s interests. We all understand that we enjoy and use our natural resources as a loan from our children.
In many communities across the US and Canada, organizations have begun to map food deserts! These identify mostly urban areas where there is a paucity of stores and markets that offer fresh, good quality food as well as problem stores that only offer only junk food and alcohol. Some are more positive in their focus, mapping grocery stores, farmers markets, community gardens.
An interesting example of the latter is our local Food Secure Vancouver site!
We hope to have our own community gardens at 22nd Street Skytrain Station on that map soon!
I recently met with Athenaise to talk about some of the ideas we have for a new kind of garden space at the 22nd Street Skytrain Station area in New Westminster, BC. A little while ago, I had responded to a sign she had posted along the BC Parkway Trail which I had noticed on one of my Sunday morning runs. You may have seen these notices too!
In general terms, her ideas are to design and assemble an ecologically sustainable garden and natural area following permaculture principles. Our goals would be to use and model organic growing practices that protect the environment, reconnect people with the land that sustains us, and promote the relationships that heal, nurture and empower people. Through the creation of a pleasing and productive landscape, we hope to make intelligible connections between the garden, the community and the natural world.
We found we had many interests in common: food justice and security, responsible citizenship, empowerment of those who might be disinfranchised, under-employed, under-privileged; ecologically and esthetically responsible use of land that is in harmony with the goals and desires of the community; and promoting the production of high-quality, affordable food in a garden-project that is as inclusive and integrated into the community as possible.
Our first steps will be to get the input of all the people who might be impacted or have an interest in this space. If you use this space ( live, work or travel through or near it), we want to know who you are, how you use the space, what you do when you are in the area, what you like or dislike about the space as it is now, and your opinions and ideas regarding our plans.
Participate in our survey, comment on any of our posts here, or send us an email.