Neighborhood Grocer changes the law? - Le Marché St. George

This letter to the city to discuss the development of adaptive and evolving policies in Vancouver. The issue: a neighbourhood food hub and community member who sells packaged and prepared food, has been asked to comply with zoning bylaws that do not allow a neighbourhood grocery store to serve food. An overwhelming response from the community has framed the discussion - what do you think? 

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Food Cloud Feast - feast, not waste

Foodcloud-1 I know life is cyclical and so are its seasons. Ever feel like you have a creative block where you don’t feel the drive for discovering and or searching for wonderment, but it’s just going about the days and you’re tired but you can’t break out of the cycle.  I call that creative death - whatever you call it, it’s a motivational low.  There can be exciting things happening around you, your days are packed and there is meaning to what you do don’t get me wrong, but there’s just a lethargy about it.

The last couple weeks has been absolutely full of fun food events, I’m ecstatic that I’ve met such a variety of amazing people here.  There is no doubt that Dublin is a vibrant and growing city, but  I suppose when there’s so much happening I get lost in all the action.

Last night was a real awakening. The Food Cloud Feast was held at the stunning Smock Alley theatre. It was to bring about knowledge and attention to food waste & the Food Cloud the app.    Food Cloud is a dynamic project by Iseult & Aoibheann aimed at helping get food surplus from food RETAIL level to charities serving high needs areas in Dublin.

Foodcloud-3 Tesco “We think it’s a brilliant idea “

We were fed a serious feast! Sophie Morris, of prepared a delightful Indian-themed menu including poppadoms, spiced rice dishes, and a lamb korma curry.  The spice was just right.  It prepped us for the panel discussion regarding food waste - why it happens, who are the key players, whose role is it to fix it, and what effect it has on Dublin, Ireland and beyond. Foodcloud-2

Most surprising to me was that retail giant Tesco was also present for the discussion.  Everyone from policy-makers, chefs, retailers, pub owners, foodies and the like were all present.  A group that honestly spanned all ages. The whole evening brought about awareness to food insecurity in our country and the excess in which we live; that is, in order to keep retail food shelves stocked with the selection we see on a daily basis, there are business models in which retailers replenish food and circulate it to get shelves looking as full and enticing as possible.  I think awareness is the first step of understanding the food system and the needs that exist, but what stirs about change for an individual is a movement of people committed to a similar goal.  Thanks gals for inspiring so many to know more about food waste and how we can spur on change. Truly leading by example.

Have you seen this previous post Dearest Dublin: Week 3 - Love food, don't waste food, #FEEDING5K  

I’ve been sitting on an idea to discuss food retailers (Tescos, Aldi, Lidl, etc) and their power in the food system.  Starting next week, I think I’ll try to write a series about this power and what it means for us as consumers.


[ABOVE PANEL: Oisín Quinn, The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Emer Costello, Labour Party’s MEP, Eoin MacCuirc, Bia FoodBank, Odile LeBolloch, EPA]

For the Love of LIFE, slow down.

You know, food never lacks enticement for me. But yet, I can never will myself to post regularly. The possible reason being laziness & life > desire to post.

I love how food brings people together, it is the backbone of cultures and should be conceptualized in that way. Preparing food, enjoying food, and passing on great tradition in cooking, is a lovely way to connect between generations when nothing else seems to connect us. Some of my best memories and conversations surround a great meal with my favourite people. I feel though, that in our everyday lives we don't make enough time for these moments. Just the fact that I feel I never have time to post is evidence that I don't set aside enough time for more important things, like sharing meals with friends.

This past weekend, B&M had me over at their friends Margot and Paul's place. Together, I think we span three different generations, but let me tell you about our meal. Starting with the sushi rolls. It was hearty, with Irish-styled potatoes par boiled, seasoned and roasted in the oven. Steaks grilled to perfection and cinnamon rhubarb cake, from the garden! We hung out in their dimly lit gazebo toasty, warm and well fed. It was such a great time to learn about other people and connect over stories and experience. This is why I feel food brings people together. (have I told you how I have wanted a gazebo since i was five?) - I should also mention that we were surrounded by four big black furry bouviers :) 20110825-094736.jpg

Anyhow, I came across these videos that are filmed so it makes food even more sexy than it already is - dreamy, whimsical.

Watch and let me know which one you like.

[vimeo w=640&h=360]

ribboned asparagus salad from tiger in a jar on Vimeo.

[vimeo w=640&h=360]

beet cake from tiger in a jar on Vimeo.


Not Us & Them

The other side of the tower is home to the Mustard Seed, Volunteer Way, and Cash Corner.  This is on my doorstep.  The stress on “Addressing the Homeless” as the Mustard Seed’s initiative contrasts the never-ending drive for corporate success from the previous picture. Not only should it be the Mustard Seed’s choice to address the issue, but each of ours.

One side of the glamour that is corporate-culture downtown, has another face that is gritty; and as AJ said it “less than fascinating or intriguing”.

If you have never had to face poverty, why is it your problem?  What do you have in common; or how do your struggles compare to someone who is living below the low-income cut-off ?  It is not someone else’s problem.



One of the most iconic symbols of Calgary is the tower. All Calgarians can relate to this and call it their own, but have you ever thought of it as a boundary or dividing line between the corporate concrete jungle and those in need?

Down at the core, we face the tower on one side and talk about how to grow our careers and find our role at work. But what is your role in this community we call Calgary?

Be Critical, stop apathy and make this your community. What is your role?

From the past

I'm going to post some photos from the exhibit for the Urban Exposure Project.

To think, that there's going to be a new group soon going through new experiences and taking great photos is very exciting!

Interested? You should do it... sign up!


Calgary Safe Streets

Most people expect images of poverty like this one – “How our city is addressing issues relating to poverty like addictions, mental health, or homelessness.” The bright new biohazard deposit is like an inefficient band-aid to a deeper wound.

These photos were taken on my walk, where AJ joined me and explored our city around the tower.  The Urban Exposure Project has challenged me and left me with some questions to ponder.

Break free form your barriers and assumptions of poverty.

The largest population living in poverty is children and single parents.


the URBAN what?

Usually I blog about things to EAT, drink, and photograph.  Like I've mentioned in the past though, I want to write about things that I am passionate about.

living to Love

means to me, more than just enjoying things you love, but loving on others.  to Love, I think often means to give and serve others.  In the past couple months, I had the spectacular opportunity to work with United Way in Calgary doing their Urban Exposure Project.  When presented with the idea, I thought it was the best melding of two things I love: Photography and Community. I have, in the past, worked at the Community Kitchen Program of Calgary and various other organizations like the Distress Centre.  I find with each of these experiences, I learn more about my community and more about myself and where/what my role is.    When you work with different organizations, you are introduced different populations and different needs in your community and you understand more where people are coming from.

Specifically with the Urban Exposure Project, I saw how varied people's situations were and how real the need of our city is.   It made me realize that any one of us could be in a situation of need at some point in our lives.  I mean this not just in basic shelter, or food; but in need of support and the need for community - the coming together of people.  So, what was Urban Exposure Project and what did we do?

It was a four month project, where a group of us met every other week.  Each meeting would either be a talk or discussion about different agencies or programs the United Way funds or it would be an experience to talk with people in the community who have used these resources in our city.  We also had "opt-in's"  each week, which means that you would volunteer or serve at various agencies in the city; among the list were the Drop-in Centre, Community Kitchen of Calgary, Neighborlink, we even took part in a Poverty Simulation.

In our spare time we photographed things, in our communities or through our experiences at volunteering, that embodied the image of Poverty.  Throughout the months, your idea of poverty changes and is shaped by these experiences.  The project wrapped up with a photo exhibit, showcasing a selection of each participant's images.

The journey through Urban Exposure Project was introspective; emotional; and eye-opening.  There were weeks where I would question if the work was futile, and the people in our communities didn't care or exploited the resources; then the were weeks where I would be very passionate and feel like we need to come together as a community and not just assume that the issues at hand were someone else's problem.  All in all, the work and time we have poured into this project is only a small  peek into the amount of hours, efforts, and resources that people in this city are putting forth each day.  I feel as though it has increased my knowledge of the needs around me but more importantly, it gave me a chance and  a new way to see "serving the community".