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Ensuring that every Regina resident has enough to eat is within our REACH! Help support our child nutrition or healthy food programs through CanadaHelps.Org. Your tax deductible, online credit card donation is easy and convenient. DONATE NOW Charity Number #131314650RR0001

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REACH partners with Food Secure Canada to host a webinar!

 

On Thursday, Feb. 20, REACH was featured in a Food Secure Canada webinar focused on Child Nutrition Development. Click here to listen to this webinar and learn more about the work that REACH does on a regular basis.

What are we eating?

Ever wondered about the ins and outs of the food system in Regina?

I, and REACH, have the privilege of being involved in the Regina Community Food Assessment (CFA).  CFAs are collaborative, participatory processes that bring people together from all sectors of the local food system to analyze the local context; identify the assets, gaps, and priorities of the community; and develop an action plan to improve community food security.  Interestingly, Regina has never done this before.

 

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Harvesting the Local Food System

Community members are invited to tell us what you think of Regina's food system:

  • where our food comes from,
  • how it is grown,
  • where you buy your food,
  • what impacts the food you eat, and
  • our food waste

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Community Gardens and Regina go way back

2012 marked a special anniversary. The first recorded collective garden in Regina was established exactly 100 years ago. The Regina Vacant Lot Gardening Association (VLGA) emerged in 1913 as an association of local “public-spirited” citizens. The Association managed newly-broken prairie land at the edge of the city north west of where the Regina Cemetery now stands on 4th Avenue. The benefits of such a location was the ability to expand to a whopping 50 acres (that’s nearly 38 football fields end-to-end).  The challenges included keeping animals from grazing in the garden: correspondence between the VLGA and the city repeatedly notes challenges in fending off two- and four-legged marauders.

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You aren’t from around here, are you?

Recently, I attended a very interesting research presentation on food security and seniors in Regina by Dr Nuelle Novik (Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina). She discussed the preliminary findings of her community-based research project.  This project was collaborative effort with local community organizations like REACH to talk to seniors about how and why they access food security support programs. The themes that are emerging from this research really emphasize that food security isn’t just about food but about a whole web of factors: income, our formal and informal support networks, how we access food and transport it home, how resilient and creative we are in obtaining food and the impact of mental health.

One of the most fascinating ideas Dr Novik mentioned was about the supposed differences in rural and urban food sharing. There is this idea that rural people share resources to support each other in need while the fragmented and disconnected nature of urban living means that this doesn’t happen in cities. As a transplanted farm girl, I can attest to this rural food sharing. I’ve experienced friends and neighbours sharing garden bounty, wild game or dropping off dishes during times of celebration and hardship. And research also supports this idea. But perhaps we’re too hasty to cast an idyll rural life opposite an urban life where no one cares for you and you don’t know your neighbours.  I think by doing so, we overlook something very important.

People care for each other regardless of where they live, and one of the best ways we show compassion and support is through sharing food.

We like to have potlucks with neighbours or have friends over for supper.

We’ll split large food purchases with family and friends.

We’ll go to the local neighbourhood centre for coffee and treats, or to our church for meals.

We’ll share the bounty of our backyard apple trees or gardens.

Both urban and rural folks can be – and are – incredibly creative in how we access and share our food.  That fact makes me hopeful because it tells me that even though our community faces food security issues, we haven’t lost our capacity to share with one another.

By: Yolanda Hansen

President, REACH Board of Directors

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