Having the privilege of helping Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre launch their Family2Farm initiative, we finally managed to pass the preliminary stage!
Click here to view the Project Proposal!
Weekly Objectives and Achievements
Moment of Significance
One of the challenges we faced when writing our proposal was framing the project in a way that it would be perceived as promoting the interests of the community. Centered around connecting local farms with the families of the Ray-Cam community, our project aims to encourage farmers to donate excess produce to Ray-Cam. Donated surplus produce would be put to use and would provide fresh, nutritious food to the community served by Ray-Cam, while allowing farmers to save time and money as they would no longer have to transport or dispose their surplus produce. However, as described in our project proposal feedback, we learned that this concept of donating excess produce may pose a challenge as it may seem like the community is receiving unwanted food or, in other words, “waste”. As a team, we were quite surprised that the Farm2Family initiative could be perceived that way. It made us question the purpose and goals of our project. It also made us focus on the impact it would have on the community and whether it reflected the value of food donations, not as waste, but rather as healthy, fresh produce that is simply unsold.
As our project relates to Food Waste Recovery which is the process of preventing safe, nutritious, quality food from entering the waste stream (Great Vancouver Food Bank, 2018), it takes advantage of the BC Farmers Tax Incentives. However, this discussion of Food Waste Recovery and tax incentives is a newly studied and debatable topic as a line between which food is acceptable and unacceptable for donation still needs to be defined. For example, a fairly recent article about Greater Vancouver Food Bank brought up the concerns about receiving unwanted donations that were expired or nutritionally inadequate (Lovgeen, 2016). Donations received included foods high in sugar, such as snacks and cookies. Another article demonstrated how the proposed federal tax incentives requires some rigour to distinguish which food is suitable for tax receipts, “rather than just edible food because that’s just a very broad description of food” as stated by Schuurman Hess (Pawson, 2015).
Demanding the assurance of access to high quality, nutritious food is consistent with the struggle food justice, which is when all people have equal access to safe, healthy, fresh, and high quality food. Katheryn Bradley expands further on this as she explains how “the food justice movement is fundamentally a social justice movement. It takes issue with inequalities in access to food, exploitive labor practices in the food system, and environmental degradation associated with conventional agriculture and environmental racism” (Bradley & Herrera, 2016, p. 100). With this, we came to learn that power and privilege often plays a role in differentiating whether someone has the physical and financial access to nutritious food. Studies have shown that food insecurity is linked not only to income but to social issues such as race and gender. These often overlooked issues can affect employment options as well as the treatment of others. (Ionescu-Ittu, Glymour, & Kaufman, 2015).
Food justice relates to surplus food because it aligns with social rights and the idea that people deserve food that is nutritious and of good quality. They also have the right to make informed food choices. However, social stigmas can lead to further discrimination against those who are already at risk of food insecurity.
Therefore, understanding this underlying issue, we are now more aware of the importance of ensuring that donated surplus produce is conveyed not as waste but as safe, fresh, nutritious, and valuable.
With this in mind, we need to ensure that local farms being contacted understand the purpose of the Farm2Family project and the kinds of donations that the Ray-Cam Community seeks to receive. Some examples include high-quality, fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits, as well as dairy, and eggs. As we are currently working on creating a brochure, phone script, and email template that can be used by Ray-Cam when contacting local farms, we also need to make sure that the information provided in these resources reflect the value of utilizing surplus produce and not just giving out “waste” to people. Since fresh produce is perishable, the “good” can turn into “bad” with improper storage. Therefore, the available storage facilities at Ray-Cam needs to be considered. Depending on the shelf life and freshness of produce, the most perishable ones should be utilized first. Through this, we hope to not only encourage donation of fresh, high-quality food but also help Ray-Cam preserve the freshness of produce served to the community.
- Complete the following resource materials used when contacting local farms by March 1
- Email Script
- General Lists of Local Farms to be contacted
- Meet up with Community Partner on March 5 to discuss:
- Available Storage Facilities
- Content of resource material
- Contacting Farm Strategy
- Target Goal of 100 farms and record data collected into Local Farms Database (spreadsheet)
Strategies to Achieve Upcoming Objectives
- Divide the contacting task. Using developed brochure, flyer and email to contact farms that are participating in Farmers Markets first and then branch out to other local farms in the community.
- Use the meeting time with our community partner as efficient as we can and ask for any advice or suggestions that could be made on the brochure and scripts.
- Continue to communicate with community partner frequently as well as with group members via emails and messenger in order to effectively stay on track.
Bradley, K., & Herrera, H. (2016). Decolonizing food justice: Naming, resisting, and researching colonizing forces in the movement: Decolonizing food justice. Antipode, 48(1), 97-114. 10.1111/anti.12165
Great Vancouver Food Bank. (2018). Food recovery. Retrieved Feb 27, 2018 from: https://www.foodbank.bc.ca/our-programs/food-recovery/
Ionescu-Ittu, R., Glymour, M. M., & Kaufman, J. S. (2015). A difference-in-differences approach to estimate the effect of income-supplementation on food insecurity. Preventive Medicine, 70, 108-116. Doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.11.017
Lovgeen, T. (2016). CBC News. Vancouver Food Bank warns against unwanted donations. Opened bread, tinned alligator meat and spotted-dick pudding among unwanted items. Retrieved Feb 27, 2018 from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-food-bank-warns-against-unwanted-donations-1.3515798
Pawson, C. (2015). CBC News. Greater Vancouver Food Bank concerned over proposed tax incentives for industrial food donations. Worried about ‘bombardment of marshmallows, goose-liver flavoured chewing gum and pet food’. Retrieved Feb 27, 2018 from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/greater-vancouver-food-bank-concerned-over-tax-incentives-for-industrial-food-donations-1.3341301