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Some of what we learned and shared in October’s Community of Practice

 

We’re delighted to share back some of the conversation from our last Gateway Community of Practice session. This CoP convenes folks throughout the traditional Indigenous territories of so-called BC who share a passion and practice around work on:

 

  • Household food insecurity and poverty reduction
  • Indigenous Food Sovereignty, anti-racism and decolonization in the food system
  • Local food policy and governance
  • Community food action, network and movement building

 

We gather monthly over Zoom and welcome anyone who connects with these passions and areas of practice. More here!

 

🗓️ Our November session will host guest Nicole Wires of the White Noise Collective to guide us through a workshop in embodied practice for staying grounded, connected, and committed to racial justice. We’re really looking forward to this offering carrying on from some of our September conversation.  

 

🎯 Purpose for our October gathering was to learn about recent dignified food access work and offer peer consultation.

 

Recognizing Territory and Indigenous Sovereignty

 

Thanks to Aaren Topley for opening us up by recognizing he is on the homeland of the Lekwungen people, now known as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. He named the tension in supporting folks to grow food and agricultural systems that occupy stolen Indigenous territories across so-called BC. This questioning is the heart of food work in so-called BC and across Turtle Island, a curiosity and learning intention that has been continuously held by this Community of Practice.

 

Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones standing in a crowd of people with his right arm raised.

Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones Source: Cortes Currents

It was a beautiful bridge into what intended to follow with, bringing in what is happening on Pacheedaht and Ditidaht territory at Ada’itsx/Fairy Creek. On the invitation of Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones, the biggest land defense in so-called Canadian history is happening at Ada’itsx/Fairy Creek in solidarity with Indigenous sovereignty and the last old growth in these territories. We read the following excerpt from the Fairy Creek Blockade update from October 15 – 16 with the invitation to ground, notice our breathing, and bodies:

 

Elder Bill sat with myself and a couple other forest defenders in a cozy warm bus sheltering us from the downpour. He spoke with intensity when he told us not to back down in our fight to save the last of the old-growth. The spark in his eyes burned bright when he mentioned protecting our Great Mother and the role of these ancient forests as natural cathedrals. In fact, he hinted that their significance should rise above the brick and mortar places of worship. Fallen churches and holy buildings can be rebuilt, yet the value of ancient forests and their sacred presence are irreplaceable

Science can measure mycelial networks, point out endangered species, and report on the biodiversity of ancient ecosystems, but the sheer magnitude of the surrounding cedars, hemlocks, and firs that stand the test of time stir our spirits in a way that is tough to express in words. Standing beneath their canopy, we embrace this presence that connects us to the Great Mother and, ultimately, more deeply to ourselves.

 

 

Dignified Food Access

 

The cover page of the report titled Community-Centered Food Support and Care for All: Transforming Dignified Food Access in VancouverAfter a few rounds of paired conversation and asking us to consider the question “What does dignified food access mean to me?”, we heard from CoP member Sarah Kim on dignified food access work she recently wrapped up in collaboration with Jenny Van Enckevort, Kiwassa Neighbourhood House, and food justice advocates and co-facilitator partners. We asked her:

 

What was the work? 

❓  What was significant, what was learned?

❓  What feels critical to lift up, especially for a group that isn’t Vancouver-centric? 

 

📔 Read the report

🎤 An interview with Jenny about the findings

🥕 Check out a great new resource from Roots to Harvest Handbook for Dignified Food Access

 

Peer Support

Icon for Wise Crowds featuring four people on top of a swirl

Image Source: barishgolland.wordpress.com

We often hold entire sessions – or portions thereof – for peer support and consultation using formats like Troika Consulting or Wise Crowds. We went with a Wise Crowd approach this time, keeping the group together in conversation around a curiosity from CoP member Carole Hebden around revitalizing traditional trading routes and foodways.