Dispatch from the food movement: Sarah Kim, Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks

SEPTEMBER 9, 2020 – 

We spoke with Sarah Kim, coordinator of the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks about how the food movement in Vancouver is reacting to the challenges of Covid-19, the potential for convening and her vision for policy change.

 

What is the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks' mission?

“The work that we do is all about aiming to build relationships and using food as the vehicle. It’s all about bringing people together and emphasizing that we need each other.”

 

How has the pandemic affected your work?

For the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks, Covid-19 has affected the work of the organization’s networks, as previously very few dealt with emergency food access. When the pandemic hit, they shifted their work to providing food relief. Some groups have also adapted by creating online programming such as online community kitchens and workshops. Kim has noticed new opportunities and possible silver linings to the pandemic.

“The thing about the pandemic is the ability to have conversations with people you would never have had conversations with before, and to bring people together that you wouldn’t have been able to bring together before.”

 

What are some of the things you would like to see implemented at the national level?

“One of the biggest government policies and shifts would be towards giving people a livable basic income. I think that’s just so evident, addressing the actual root causes of food insecurity and addressing the upstream challenges.”

According to Kim, food insecurity cannot be properly addressed solely with food banks within a charity model.

“What I would love to see is more of an emphasis on our collective social strengths and goodwill. There’s enough food out there for everyone, I’d like to see people building more neighbourhood food systems and food networks so that they know who their neighbours are, so that they can share skills with each other whether it’s gardening skills or nutrition skills or food workshops.”