Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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Food Security Institute: Join summer gatherings at local gardens

BY BO DEL VALLE GARCIA AND EMMA WARNER CHEE

Food-security-event

Vanessa Richards (centre) of Woodword’s Community Choir leads a singing practice at the Norquay Orchard event last year. Photo by Dustin Ahjz

The Renfrew-Collingwood Food Security Institute (RCFSI) gathers neighbours around food. Together, we grow, we cook, we share and we build resilient communities. On the rooftop garden, at the Norquay Orchard and at our community gardens we aim to create a hub for our neighbours, both human and non, to share and increase knowledge around organic and regenerative food growing practices, soil systems, and wild and native plants.

This is an exciting time for us! This summer we will be joined by two new members of our team, Bo and Emma, who will be dedicating their time and expertise towards growing thriving communities both in the garden and out.

Bo is a creature of the cities and forests: a community organizer, activist and earth skills educator born to the traditional unceded lands of the Coast Salish – otherwise known as Vancouver, B.C. Bo identifies as genderqueer and uses They/Them/Theirs pronouns.

Bo is rooted deeply into their home and community, but never forgets that they are a visitor on this land. Their work operates in the intersections between earth, food, art and justice. They have spent countless hours learning from the natural world in academic settings, from elders and mentors, and from the living ecosystems themselves. They have worked on a number of projects concerning ecosystem repair, bioremediation, food forests design, biological pest management, rainwater harvesting and climate change resiliency and are so excited to be working with the RCFSI this summer!

Emma is a sociology student at Simon Fraser University and returning to RCFSI for a second year as a summer student. She loves growing, cooking, eating and talking about food. She is excited to spend time at the orchard and in the garden this summer, and to plant seeds for community growth and tasty veggies.

Summer events

This summer RCFSI will be working to foster a deeper connection with the land and each other, and are excited to invite everyone to our upcoming events:

Pruning Workshop at the Norquay Orchard (2732 Horley St.) – Saturday, June 17, 12 to 2 pm

Rooftop Garden Drop-ins at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House – Every Wednesday, 5 to 7 pm

Norquay Orchard Work Parties (2732 Horley St.) – Last Saturday of the month, 1 to 3 pm

There will be many more exciting opportunities to get involved. Keep an eye on the RCFSI Facebook page – Renfrew Collingwood Food Security Institute, or the website rcfood.wordpress.com.

If you are interested in volunteering contact collingwoodurbanag@gmail.com.

Copyright 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Collingwood Days 2017 – New location, same great family fun

BY ANDREA BERNECKAS

Collingwood-Days-Stiltwalkers

The 14th annual Collingwood Days runs from Saturday, May 20 to Sunday, May 28. Photos courtesy of Collingwood Days

Collingwood Days Festival is an annual intercultural community festival that celebrates the diversity, history and natural environment of Renfrew-Collingwood. Traditionally taking place in the last week of May, this year’s event will be celebrating its 14th year from Saturday, May 20 to Sunday, May 28.

We have many fond memories of Collingwood Days at Sir Guy Carlton Elementary, but due to a fire at the school last year, the main festival day will take place this year at Gaston Park, at Euclid and Tyne.

Over the years, Collingwood Days has highlighted the contributions of various groups and members of the neighbourhood. This year, we are honouring and celebrating the contributions of the First Nations in our community. There will be music, dancing, storytelling and history.

Collingwood-Days-DancersThroughout the festival week, there will be activities in various parts of the Renfrew-Collingwood: a carnival at Graham Bruce Elementary, a Cantonese and Italian Opera performance and exhibition at the Italian Cultural Centre, a native plant walk at Norquay Learning orchard, a tea house event at Collingwood Neighbourood House, First Nations storytelling at Collingwood Branch library and much more.

On the festival day, May 28, local Lions Club members will serve up a pancake breakfast from 9 to 11 am. After our opening blessing at 11 am, festivities will begin with live music and dance from Bright Sunset Chinese Dance Group, Windermere Choir, Calpulli Cemanahuac Aztec Dance Group, Peter Yap, Alicia Crestejo, Kathara Indigenous Filipino Cultural group and others.

Collingwood-Days-SingersDrop by and check out the International Marketplace, Artisan Village, BMX and the Dog Agility shows and Collingwood Gardens Tea tent.

There are opportunities to volunteer, promote your organization or sponsor our event.

Please check out the Collingwood Days Facebook page (www.facebook.com/collingwooddays/) for updates and Collingwood Days website (www.collingwooddays.com/) for more information.

Collingwood-Days-Band

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Let’s get outside and celebrate spring

BY JULIE CHENG

Reconciliation pole raising at UBC

There were many hands eager to help at the reconciliation pole raising at the University of B.C. on Apr. 1, 2017. A day of history. Photos by Penny Lim

The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping – spring is here at last! And that means stepping outdoors and getting together at the many events and activities happening around our neighbourhood. Here are a few ideas.

Join in a community celebration. Whether it’s a school carnival, a European festival or Collingwood Days, there are plenty of fun local celebrations for the family to enjoy. Come on out and meet your neighbours and discover local talents!

Explore by Skytrain. Spring is a great time to shop at local farmers’ markets, enjoy new food trucks or discover new neighbourhoods – it just takes a short hop by Skytrain to get there. For ideas check out the RCC News’ Skytrain Rambler series.

Show the Renfrew Ravine some love. Still Moon Arts Society runs workshops in the Renfrew Ravine and has an online guide to ravine self-walking tours. Evergreen runs its Uncover Your Creeks program in the Renfrew Ravine once a month.

Volunteer at a local garden. Dig into the opportunities at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House Rooftop Garden or the Norquay Learning Orchard, run by the local Food Security Institute.

Join a walking club. Drop by your local community centre or neighbourhood house to find a walking club or group day trip program that’ll take to you near and far.

Cranes Reifel Bird Sanctuary

The group taking the Killarney Community Centre trip to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary in late March saw gorgeous birds such as these sand cranes and mallard ducks.

Ducks Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Julie Cheng is the editor of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News. She has lived in Renfrew-Collingwood for 20 years and loves to get some vitamin D from the sun while gardening, cycling or walking outdoors.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Understanding diets: Separating fact from fad

BY AMANDA HUNTER, HELEN YEUNG AND KATHY ROMSES

Spring is a great time to renew focus on our health and wellness from a holistic perspective. This includes nurturing our bodies in ways to support our physical as well as mental health.

Every day, the average person makes over 200 decisions about food.

These small decisions can add up to important impacts on health and happiness. However, if you’ve ever tried to sift through nutrition blogs, articles and other online information, you know that it can be overwhelming to figure out what, how and when to eat for optimal health and enjoyment.

This past March was Nutrition Month, with the theme Take the Fight Out of Food. This campaign was led by Dietitians of Canada and focuses on building happier, healthier relationships with food by tackling five food-related topics. The campaign helps consumers to cut the confusion and get straight to the science, when it comes to choosing well-balanced dietary habits that can be maintained for long-term health.

To help you separate fact from fiction when it comes to diets, here are three basic steps you can follow:

Spot the problem.

The diet and weight-loss industry in Canada isn’t tightly regulated, leaving room for sneaky marketing to spread unfounded nutrition claims. Spot the problem by keeping an eye out for red flags to help identify myths that seem too good to be true.

For example, is the diet or supplement promising “rapid weight loss,” an “easy cure” for a long list of diseases, or some sort of “full-body detox?” If so, it’s a good idea to do some digging before including it in your lifestyle.

Get the facts.

Good dietary recommendations should be based on evidence, given by qualified experts and be something you can follow for the long term. Look for blogs, articles, recipes or social media posts written by registered dietitians.

Seek support.

Food is so much more than the sum of its calories. The way we choose to eat can have strong ties to cultural tradition or lifestyle patterns, as well as our overall happiness. If you’re seeking to change your diet, the support of loved ones can help to smooth the transition, along with reliable resources like the ones listed below.

A great way to kick off a positive change is to find new healthy recipes and try them out with friends and family. Here is a delicious appetizer recipe for you to try at your next gathering!

Chorizo Tapas with Roasted Red Pepper

Ingredients:

  • 2 fresh chorizo sausages                                                   2
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt                                                125 mL
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers from a jar, drained           250 mL
  • ¼ cup unsalted almonds                                                  60 mL
  • 15 slices baguette, diagonally cut                                  15 slices

Step 1
Diagonally cut chorizo into slices. Cook in a large non-stick frying pan, over medium heat, 2 minutes on each side until golden (or barbecue whole sausages, then cut into slices).

Step 2
Meanwhile, combine yogurt, peppers and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until creamy but still a little chunky. Add salt and pepper.

Step 3
Toast baguette slices, if desired. Spread each with a generous spoonful of sauce, then top with one or two slices of chorizo. Transfer to a platter and serve as an appetizer.

Recipe by Danone, available at www.cookspiration.com

Amanda Hunter is a dietetic intern studying at the University of B.C. Helen Yeung and Kathy Romses are public health dietitians at Vancouver Coastal Health.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Get ready for Vancouver’s biggest job fair – April 11

MOSAIC job fair

At a job fair it’s important to dress the part to make a good first impression. Visit the Vancouver Northeast WorkBC Employment Services Centre ahead of time to find tips on writing resumes and cover letters, and interview and networking skills.

MOSAIC is hosting its 6th Annual Career & Job Fair on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 from 10 am to 4 pm at the Croatian Cultural Centre located at 3250 Commercial Drive.

Career fairs offer job seekers a unique opportunity to meet employers face-to-face, create a positive impression, and make meaningful personal connections that are impossible when submitting a resume online.

Here are some tips on how to connect effectively with employers and get the most out of a job fair.

Before the job fair

  • Determine which of the businesses participating in the fair match your career objective. Make a list of your target employers based on their needs and your skills and interests.
  • Visit the websites of participating employers you have pre-selected to find out about their job opportunities and company culture. The research will help you figure out if the company is a good match for you.
  • Use the information from your research to develop a list of questions you’d like to ask employers. Employers are looking to hire people who are polite, proactive and equipped with a positive attitude and good listening skills. Stand out from the crowd by asking thoughtful, smart questions. Don’t ask questions for which the answers are readily available online.
  • Prepare your resume and make sure that you have plenty of copies ready. Prepare different versions of resumes tailoring each to a targeted employer and career objective.
  • Most employers prefer that you apply online before the job fair. It also allows you to cast a wider net, as many companies are hiring for a variety of positions at multiple locations and this way your application will be seen by more hiring managers within the company.

Furthermore, by taking the extra step in preparing for the job fair, it shows prospective employers your commitment and interest in working at their company. This does not mean that you are wasting your time by attending the job fair; employer representatives are taking note of candidates they are interested in, so be sure you make a good first impression.

  • Come prepared. Bring a simple notepad and pen to take notes and a folder to keep your resumes organized and ready to hand out.
  • Visit the Vancouver Northeast WorkBC Employment Services Centre to find tip sheets or workshops on topics such as resume and cover letter skills, interview skills and networking skills to help you prepare with putting your best foot forward.
  • Prepare a 20- to 30-second introduction to use with employers. The introduction should be a concise and well-presented message that quickly provides just enough information about you to generate the listener’s interest and attention, and set the stage for meaningful conversation.

At the job fair

  • Dress the part. First impressions are important and send an immediate message regarding how serious you are in your job search. Clothing should be clean and pressed; business casual is appropriate for most jobs.
  • Take time to interact with the employers you’ve targeted. Deliver your resume and take the time to make a positive first impression on the employer by showing interest in their needs.
  • To appear confident and knowledgeable about the company, demonstrate your knowledge by asking questions that are specific to a position or department you’re interested in. Tell the employer how your skill-set matches their requirements.
  • Watch your body language. A firm handshake and eye contact are important. Good manners are critical to making a good impression; employers always appreciate someone who is dedicated, conscientious and attentive.
  • Be friendly and stay on topic. Job fairs can be noisy, so speak clearly and with confidence.
  • After talking to each representative, ask for a business card and use the back of the card to record notes to help you remember important details and follow-up instructions. If no card is available, record their contact information and your comments in your notepad.

 After the job fair

  • Follow up with thank you notes or emails a day or two after the job fair. Thank the employers for taking the time to meet with you, review key points from your conversation and add any new information. Don’t forget to attach your resume and follow up a week or two later to see if opportunities are available for you within their organization.

For more information on how to prepare for a job fair or other job search tips and information please contact the Vancouver Northeast WorkBC Employment Services Centre at 604-708-9300 or visit www.employmentworks.ca


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March is Nutrition Month: Take the Fight Out of Food

BY ANGELINA LAM, HELEN YEUNG AND KATHY ROMSES

NutritionMonth-2017-eng

Are you constantly confused about what to eat because of all the information out there or simply having a hard time keeping up with the newest food trend? Each year, Dietitians of Canada leads a campaign in March called Nutrition Month. This year, celebrate with dietitians to Take the Fight Out of Food! Spot the problem. Get the facts. Seek support.

The goals of Nutrition Month are to provide nutrition information you can trust, help debunk fad diets and identify nutrition myths. With the support from dietitians, enjoying food, eating healthily and working on problems with food will be easier.

By participating in Nutrition Month, individuals will develop skills to make healthful food choices that are more sustainable and to become more confident in problem-solving food issues. Each week of March focuses on a different topic such as fad diets, digestive problems, picky eating, eating and stress, and managing a health condition.

Visit the website www.nutritionmonth2017.ca to find resources, recipes and phone apps featured along with each topic to make it easier to participate.

Why not get started now with one of the featured recipes for Nutrition Month.

Avocado, Roasted Squash and Black Bean Tacos

Makes 4 servings. Recipe by Avocados from Mexico

1 Butternut squash (approx. 1.3kg/ 2.9lb) 1
2 tbsp Olive oil 30 mL
¼ tsp Salt 1 mL
¼ tsp Fresh ground pepper 1 mL
2 tsp Sumac (or paprika) 10 mL
½ tbsp Olive oil 7 mL
1 Garlic clove, finely minced 1
1 Can (540 mL) black beans, rinsed & drained 1
1 tsp Ground cumin 5 mL
½ tsp Chili powder 2 mL
½ tsp Salt 2 mL
8-10 Corn tortillas 8-10
1 Avocado from Mexico, diced 1
½ cup Feta cheese, crumbled 125 mL
  Fresh cilantro, hot sauce and lime quarters, to serve  

Recipe tip: For seasonal ingredients, such as butternut squash, be creative and substitute it with other starchy vegetables like yams, which are available all year round.

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Peel the squash and cut it in two. Remove the seeds and stringy fibres, and dice the squash.

Step 2

Arrange the squash pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper, and sprinkle with sumac or paprika. Roast for 25 minutes.

Step 3

In a small saucepan, sauté ½ tbsp olive oil and the minced garlic over low to medium heat. Add the black beans, ground cumin, chili powder, salt and ¼ cup of water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for approximately 5 minutes or until the beans are well heated and soft (but not dry).

Step 4

In a hot pan, heat the tortillas for a few minutes, or microwave them for 20 seconds. Cover with a clean cloth to prevent them from drying out.

Step 5

Top the tortillas with roasted squash, black beans, avocado and feta. Serve with fresh cilantro, hot sauce and lime quarters.

Visit the website www.nutritionmonth2017.ca for more nutrition resources, recipes and tools to help celebrate Nutrition Month!

Angelina Lam is a University of BC dietetic intern. Helen Yeung and Kathy Romses are public health dietitians with Vancouver Coastal Health.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Multinational corporation pays $15 a day for Hope water

BY CINDY CHEN, JESSICA SUN AND ALYSSA YAN

The earth’s surface is covered by 70% water. Only 3% is fresh water,and less than 1% is accessible for personal uses.

How would you feel about a brand name company being able to access your water supply in the middle of a drought, while withdrawing the water that you and your community rely on for only a price of $2.25 per one million litres?

You may be familiar with the brand name Nestle, known for their countless products ranging from food to cosmetics. The Switzerland-based company is currently extracting millions of litres of water from Hope, B.C., and profiting through their bottled water industry and much more.

Up until 2016, Nestle has been profiting off our water for free, until they were required to pay $2.25, which only covered their access fee, per every million litres. However, this enormous corporation withdraws millions of litres of water while paying Hope less than $15 a day.

Their plastic water bottles alone are sold around the world and back to the citizens of Hope for over $6 for a pack of 12 bottles. What is supposedly a human right for everyone is being taken by large corporations like Nestle, and sold back to us without us even considering where the water comes from or why we buy it.

Troubled by this, a group of 30 youth is taking action and raising awareness for this problem through social media, newsletters, petitions, videos and more. By doing this, we hope Nestle will stop stealing our water and take responsibility of the damages they have created on Hope.

Cindy Chen, Jessica Sun and Alyssa Yan are Grade 11 students in the Leadership program at Windermere Secondary. Cindy enjoys learning about social justice and sustainability. Jessica is passionate about environmental sustainability and social rights. Alyssa is dedicated to giving back to her community through volunteering ranging from organizing community events to teaching kids piano.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News