Category Archives: Organizations

Organizations related to or supportive of local food

Is Organic Livestock Management Better?

In response to the post Drinking Milk From Abused Cows, one of my readers commented, “I didn’t watch the video. I’m far to sensitive to watch cruelty. We started buying organic milk many years ago. Do you think that means the cows are treated better?”

Organic Livestock Management

In response I did a little digging and thought I’d share what I discovered. Continue reading

“Live Inspired” Event with InspireHealth and Nature’s Fare Market

Two of my most favourite local resources have gotten together for the month of October to inspire living a more healthful lifestyle.

Compliments of InspireHealth and Nature’s Fare Markets enjoy a free webinar on the role of nutrition in cancer prevention and treatment, as well as many more tidbits of the information kind and the delicious, nutritious kind (yum!).

Thursday, October 25th, InspireHealth staff and volunteers will be on location in Kelowna to host information tables at all Nature’s Fare stores to distribute information and research about the value of an integrative cancer care approach and the power of cancer prevention. If you’re in the Okanagan, do stop in. We would love to talk with you!

At 7:00 pm on Tuesday, October 29th, InspireHealth physician Dr. Joe Schnurr will present a FREE one-hour webinar designed to raise public awareness of the overwhelming evidence of nutrition’s role in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

You MUST register for this free webinar in advance. Register Now

Live Inspired is a month-long health and wellness promotion and fundraiser, which will take place at all eight Nature’s Fare stores throughout October. In addition to discovering the benefits of different natural food items and supplements that help to prevent cancer, this in-store program will include store demos and sampling. Stop by any Nature’s Fare store and pick up a selection of natural foods and supplements recommended by InspireHealth’s medical doctor, and nutrition team.

Is Health Canada Protecting You?

When I recently posted a video of police in the US raiding an organic food store with guns drawn, my first thought was “Oh look, the War on Raw Cheese has begun.” After all, those frightening organic grocers are a pretty deadly threat, don’t you think?

My second, less tongue-in-cheek thought was, “Yikes, if it happens there, someday it could happen here.” Yikes indeed. Turns out, it might not be someday, it might be next week.

Among other concerns, first Bill C-6 and now the new Bill C-36 give Health Canada unprecedented rights to literally enter private citizens’ homes and businesses with no legal safeguards for those citizens. What’s wrong with this picture? Even known drug lords are innocent until proven guilty.

I’ve always appreciated that we Canadians take a more reasoned, conservative approach to meddling with the affairs of our citizens. Or so I thought. Seems the reduction of civil liberties in the name of security may not be something we lament only for our neighbours to the south.

I want to have a choice about what goes into my body whether it’s water, food, or medicine. I’m bright enough to seek out options, I make choices, and I take the responsibility. My choice may not be your choice, but allowing it to be my choice is precisely the beauty that living in a democracy offers.

In my view, health regulations are meant to ensure I’m getting the truth about my options, not for someone to be forcing choices on me, without my having any recourse or external checks and balances.

I was recently asked by a reporter if I trust our health regulations. Well no, no I don’t. Not unreservedly. I mean, it was perfectly legal to put unhealthy goop on movie popcorn for decades until the public got wind of what it actually contained and raised a ruckus. Right? And it took the action of private citizens to bring the truth about cigarettes to light, didn’t it? (And still we have choice about cigarettes.)

I don’t know all the in’s and out’s about the new proposed Health Canada legislation (Bill C-36) but it’s worth learning more before it quietly passes into law.

National Health Products Protection Association
Health Canada Exposed
Shiv Chopra, Health Canada Whistleblower

I do know that we need to maintain our right to choice and our right to due process. Giving any government organization the right to operate above the law is a recipe for disaster. And it’s not democracy.

The More We Work Together

When I first landed a plot in my community garden I loved the idea that I could meet and learn from others with a common interest and more experience than I. What I’ve come to realize is that we have more than a community within the garden, we are a community outside of the garden too. When I see those folks in other parts of the neighbourhood or about town, my community has extended. And that just makes me happy.

Then I started learning about all kinds of cool organizations that people in my community are involved with. Groups doing cool things to address facets of the interwoven issues around food security and food quality (it’s pretty hard to find a pressing issue that isn’t in some way related). And then I started seeing them collaborate and share ideas, share information. You know, creating all kinds of networks.

If you care about local food and the many issues that are interconnected and entwined within it, there’s bound to be an organization who cares about the same things you do. I encourage you to consider putting a few drops of whatever resources you have into the bucket of making the world a better place, whatever your pet project.

Soil, water, air, animals, poverty…you name it, there’s a food connection.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

October 2010 Designated Non-GMO Month

by Eric Fairwind
Member, Gabriolans for Local Food Choices
Reprinted with permission

This October has been designated the first ever Non-GMO Month.

The Campaign for Healthier Eating is designed to achieve the tipping point of consumer rejection of genetically modified foods in the US and Canada. The campaign begins October 10, 2010 and runs until November 11, 2011. We hope you’ll be part of this North American movement.

Everyone has the right to an informed choice about what they eat. In Europe, all products containing more than 0.9% GMO are labeled by the government. But in the US and Canada, government has obstructed giving consumers information about which food and products contain GMOs, by not allowing the labeling of GMO food. It is estimated that GMOs are now present in more than 75% of the processed foods in the average grocery store.

Many people are concerned about the potential health risks of products made using the technology of genetic modification. In fact, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine has called for a moratorium on GMO foods, long term safety testing, labeling, and education of their patients concerning the consumption of GM foods. They state that several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, dysregulation of the immune system, cholesterol synthesis & insulin , accelerated aging, changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system. More independent scientific studies around the world are finding similar startling results.

A large and growing body of scientific research and on-the-ground experience indicate that GM crops:

  • Can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts.
  • Can disrupt the ecosystem, damage vulnerable wild plant and animal populations and harm biodiversity.
  • Increase chemical inputs (pesticides, herbicides) over the long term.
  • Deliver yields that are no better, and often worse, than conventional crops.
  • Cause or exacerbate a range of social and economic problems such as forcing farmers to pay exorbitant prices for seeds and then paying them poorly for their crops, feeding in to a far-away industrial food system, and causing farmer suicides in India from an inability to pay for GM seeds & chemicals.
  • Are laboratory-made and, once released, harmful GMOs cannot be recalled from the environment.
  • Degrade the topsoil, destroying valuable nutrients in the soil.
  • Pollute groundwater by chemicals used in GM agriculture.

Most vegetables and fruits are not genetically modified, with the exception of Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%), and a small amount of alfalfa, zucchini, yellow crookneck squash and tobacco.

When buying packaged food, be sure to keep a lookout for common GMO ingredients such as: corn oil, corn syrup, corn starch, soy protein, soy oil, soy sauce, lecithin, cottonseed and canola oil. If your package lists one or more of these ingredients, these foods are genetically modified, unless labeled organic or non-GE (non-genetically engineered).

What crops are most often GMOs?

  • SOY (89%)* Chocolates use soy lecithin; Breads use soy flour; Shakes use soy protein concentrate; Baby formulas use soy milk.
  • CORN (61%)* High fructose corn syrup is found in sodas, cereals, cookies, candy, salad dressings, spaghetti sauces, and 1,000 other products. Baked goods use cornstarch; Vegetable oils use corn oil; Breads use corn flour.
  • CANOLA (80%)* Fried products use canola oil; Baked goods use canola oil; many health products use canola oil.
  • COTTON (83%)* Chips use cottonseed oil; Fried snacks use cottonseed oil.

*Percentage of GM soy, corn  and cotton in the US and GM canola grown in Canada.

For more extensive lists of GM ingredients found in food please visit Seeds of Deception and the Non-GMO Shopping Guide.
Please join us in making safer buying choices and not buying genetically modified foods.

For additional information on the GMO issue, visit the Non-GMO Project.

Building a Network for Change

Many of the people I’ve encountered as part of my interest in all things local food-ish get that being part of a network allows you to have a bigger impact than trying to change the world alone. It’s the very basis of a grassroots approach when you see something you like or don’t like and feel the need to shake things up.

Most of us don’t wield much more power than a small — if mighty — sword in the shape of a pen (or blog), so connecting with other people who “get it” and want to share ideas and resources to make things happen becomes second nature. I’ve found this particularly true of the local food community. There’s something about food, eating, and gardening that inherently brings people together and creates a connection.

Well, hello mainstream, it looks like the big guns are jumping on board. The kind of collaboration (a.k.a. networks) that communities and grassroots movements have long relied upon now has some new labels, cool technical jargon, and pretty graphics. But set aside the fancy terminology and it’s the same old barn-raising approach that has effected change since the dawn of time.

Hurrah! Just imagine the change that could happen…

Thinking Like a Network from Lemongrass Media on Vimeo.

World in a Garden

There are no end of good things going on around our community when it comes to eating local. Here’s another organization I just learned about at the Kitsilano Growers Market last week.

The World in a Garden Project was established in 2007 by nutritionist, Tricia Sedgwick in collaboration with the Jewish Family Service Agency. The project’s goal is to teach participants about the seed-to-table process of food, as well as promote cross cultural acceptance.

In addition to the many events — from educational programs to community festivals — food from the gardens is donated to the food bank and local food programs.

The program is self-funded via plant and flower sales, market sales, responsible entrepreneurship programs, garden tours, food and gardening workshops, The World in a Garden products (greeting cards, t-shirts and seeds), community partnerships and an annual film screening.

Home Grown Show at Museum of Vancouver

How Backyard Farming Is Changing the Way We Eat

The Museum of Vancouver (MOV) has partnered with Farm Folk/City Folk to explore Vancouver’s passion for backyard farming and local food. The large-scale photographic exhibit captures the current momentum behind local food production and urban agriculture.

The exhibit Home Grown: Local Sustainable Food, is a visual feast of 39 Brian Harris photographs set across four seasons, running August 26, 2010 through January 2, 2011.

“With harvest season in full swing and farmers markets bursting with tomatoes, we felt it was the perfect time for MOV to celebrate the city’s backyard farmers,” says Museum of Vancouver’s Director of Audience Engagement, Amanda Gibbs.

Using large-scale photographs Home Grown introduces visitors to the people behind local food. The photos range from proud inner city gardeners to an aerial view of an industrial scale sustainable hothouse. Visitors will gain insight into alternate styles of growing food like house-lot farming and farming co-ops.

“This series of photos is dedicated to those who see the beauty in small scale sustainable farming. Urban agriculture is about how we relate to the physical world and strive to develop a deeper connection to our food. The industrial world doesn’t seem to want people to know how their food is being produced,” says featured photojournalist, Brian Harris.

Harris’ images take MOV visitors to the city’s rooftops where a beekeeper tentatively lifts a tray of bees from a hive atop of the Vancouver Convention Centre’s living grassland roof.

“The living roof is 20 acres of grassland – it’s like a prairie up there – smack bang in the middle of a city, a powerful juxtaposition to the cityscape behind it,” remarks Harris.

The exhibit will also include a Communal Wall of Preserves which will grow with public participation, as MOV hopes patrons will donate jars of home-preserved fruits and vegetables. Jars of all shapes with a maximum height of 11inches or 28cm can be dropped off at the Museum’s front desk.

Upcoming Events

MOV will host a series of food-based events throughout the fall, including a free outdoor summer film, a Food & Beers speaker series, and Talks & Tours.

MOV-ie in the Park August 23, 9pm
Presented by Potluck Café and Catering and Horizon Distributors
Attention all foodies! Roll out a blanket and enjoy Eat Drink Man Woman, a food-themed movie on a giant outdoor screen in Vanier Park, just behind MOV. Free event.

Opening Night August 25, 7pm
Presented by MOV and Farm Folk/City Folk
Join us to celebrate the launch of the new feature exhibition Home Grown: Local Sustainable Food. Event is open to the public. Tickets are $15 and available at or at the door. Members will receive an invitation postcard in the mail valid for themselves and one guest.

Food and Beers Speaker Series
Hosted by David Beers, presented by Tides Canada

  • Can The City Feed Itself? October 14, 7pm
    A panel of local food corporate knights from growers & chefs to manufacturers discuss what still needs to be done to ensure a sustainable local food industry in Vancouver.
  • How Do We Compare to Other Cities? November 25, 7pm
    Renowned authors of The 100 Mile Diet, James McKinnon and Alisa Smith, return from their travels to share ten local food ideas being trialed in other North American cities.
  • Vancouver’s New Food Writing December 8, 7pm
    Meet Vancouver’s food writers as they discuss the current passion for food writing and how urban kitchens are linking their food to the planet.

Talks and Tours with Growers, Activists, and Chefs
Hosted by Farm Folk/City Folk,  held the first Thursday of the month at 7pm. Free with admission.

Vancouver’s Building Neighbourhood Food Networks Event

Village Vancouver, Vancouver Food Policy Council, Grandview Woodland Food Connection, and Langara College Continuing Studies presents, Building Neighbourhood Food Networks.

Join with other groups and individuals who are involved in neighbourhood and city-wide food security and food system activities in looking at networking opportunities in and between different Vancouver neighbourhoods.

We invite individuals and groups who are engaged around food, food security, food justice, and building sustainable and resilient food systems to learn what local Neighbourhood Food Networks are doing, and to meet colleagues, share ideas, and explore ways to work together toward common food security goals.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010
1:00 – 4:00 pm
Langara College, 100 W. 49th Avenue
Room C509


To register: Please RSVP by calling Langara College Continuing Studies at 604-323-5322. Be sure to quote course number CRN 60916 and include your email address when registering.