Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver

BC annual food gathering 2016: Working for safe and sustainable food

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Youth share their stories at the 2016 BC Food Systems Network Gathering. Photo by Stephanie Lim

Youth share their stories at the 2016 BC Food Systems Network Gathering. Photo by Stephanie Lim

The BC Food Systems Network Gathering is held every year in different parts of B.C. to bring together speakers, activists and people who are generally interested in the food movement. This is a crucial gathering because it is a chance to address all of the injustices that should be talked about but are not.

It’s a great time for people to come together and share ideas, experiences and suggestions to make the food system more sustainable and safe for us and the future generations. People involved in events and organizations regarding food and food systems come together, greet old friends, meet new ones and all in all have a good time.

Youth take a break at the campsite. Photo by Kaitlyn Fung

Youth take a break at the campsite. Photo by Kaitlyn Fung

The gathering was held in Penticton (Syilx territories) this summer, at the En’owkin Centre, which provides schooling for indigenous children and youth to learn and connect with their history and keep their traditions and language alive.

This is the second year that youth working with Collingwood Neighbourhood House and the Food Security Institute attended the gathering. This year, students from Windermere Secondary and Vancouver Technical as well as older youth (neighbourhood house staff and volunteers) who are dedicated, passionate and willing to learn more about food systems began meeting about four months prior to the food gathering to prepare for our youth panel.

We were sharing personal stories on this panel. These stories were all in relation to food and how we personally felt connected it. Some shared stories about garden clubs, the difference of how they thought of food when they were younger versus their relationship with it now, funny food stories, and even about family members and their habits.

The stories ranged from humorous, sad and joyful experiences we had encountered  with or around food. The cool thing about this presentation was that it started off with the youngest person in the group (14 years old) and ended with the oldest (32 years old). This organization really showed the growth of intelligence, knowledge and passion of each individual.

The conference was filled with joyous moments and memories that will stay with all of us youth for a long time.  This experience was one of the best things I participated in this summer because of all the people I met and all the knowledge I learned.

Food systems are an important aspect of our day-to-day lives and with the advocates, activists and the supporters who want to make our food “secure,” we can achieve a better food system in our communities.

Julie To is a gardener, book lover and youth dedicated to food security. She will be entering Grade 10 at Vancouver Technical in the fall, where she is co-president of the garden club. She has spent her summer working with the Fresh Roots Sustainable Opportunities for Youth Leadership (SOYL) program.

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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