For the last 3 years or so, this time of year has conjured up promises of an abundance that many Vancouverites don’t often get to experience first-hand. Had I the proper skills, experience, and business savvy, I might consider myself an urban farmer; but lacking that connectedness to the act of growing food as a direct part of my livelihood, I can only claim to be an accidental gardener with a penchant for heirloom tomatoes.
As a gardener in this neighbourhood, I am not very unique. I am flanked by fig trees grown by elders of Italian origin and forests of gai lan manicured by a Chinese grandfather. I inherited a portion of my current gardening space from a Vietnamese family who took some of their celery root and spring onions with them, and the 20-year-old rhubarb that covers a good portion of one of my garden beds was generously donated by a Polish lady who lives several blocks away. It seems like your typical smorgasbord of gardeners and perhaps it is: in a very basic way, we are all contributing to our own food security (ie. by growing our own food).
But I’m often left wondering: what more can be done? It’s no doubt satisfying to take, from just outside my front door, the spoils of my collaborative effort with nature and certainly there are many organizations in Vancouver who believe strong food systems are an integral part of the city. The city’s Social Planning committee has been actively gathering feedback for the development of a citywide Food Strategy and increasingly, people are beginning to investigate and report on the lesser-known aspects of our regional food system. Rangi Changi Roots very much encourages everyone to get involved in these efforts. In the weeks to come, we’ll be sharing more opportunities that we feel will connect the threads of the ‘unheard’ stories around food in our city.