Building a culturally integrated food strategy : a case study of the Collingwood Neighborhood House Lin, Flora
My research goal for this project is to use culturally sensitive lenses to critically evaluate Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 ‘local food’ strategy. In other words, I will explore to what extent does Vancouver’s ‘local food’ goals take cultural diversity into consideration. Under the extreme pressure of globalization and urbanization, cities in the world are competing against each other towards the goal of being ranked as global cities. Vancouver is not an exception where it tries to sell an image of being the most livable city in the world and a city that is green. However, with Vancouver being among one of the most ethnically diverse communities it becomes crucial that we question how feasible Vancouver’s local food strategy is in regards to meeting the food practices of our diverse communities. Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 ‘local food’ is one of the ten ‘green’ goals of the Vancouver Greenest City 2020 Action Plan by which the city works towards becoming the greenest city by 2020. The vision of this action plan is “together [as one] we will create a more livable, healthy and economically resilient city, and a better life for [our] future generations” (City of Vancouver a). An important reason why Vancouver is working towards becoming the greenest city is because of the acknowledgement that Vancouver residents have an ecological footprint three times larger than the Earth can sustain (City of Vancouver a). Nevertheless, it is important to note that Vancouver’s ‘local food’ is a specific topic and that there are other initiatives that are taking into consideration. RangiChangi Roots, my community partner, is a grassroots nonprofit organization that has the vision of many cultures under one climate where diverse communities work together for a fair and healthy planet (RangiChangi Roots). Their mission is to bridge the gap between the green movement and cultural communities because to them the “transformative change needed to solve the climate crisis will not happen unless everyone is involved” (RangiChangi Roots). In addition, RangiChangi Roots have been looking into whether people are willing to give up their favorite ethnic dishes to be more sustainable and whether it is viable to substitute local, organic food for ethnic dishes. While the RangiChangi Roots unveils the different food stories on one hand, together we both hope to create more awareness about how cultural diversity can be incorporated into the local food movement. Thus I would argue that in order to be more culturally sustainable for our diverse communities, aside from having food infrastructure that support our food system and provide food-related green jobs, we must work together to acknowledge that non-indigenous ethnic food can be part of a healthy food system.
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