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Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year 2016!

Welcoming the New Year! It's 2016 and a great time to reflect on what we have accomplished and for us, I can say that 2015 was a year of changes and challenges.


Due to the wonderful work of Burnaby Food First’s workshop coordinator, Leanne Zmud, 2015 saw 16 workshops which covered canning, cooking with greens, to gardening. Many of the workshops were filled as soon as they were posted on this blog! So, a HUGE THANK YOU to the 285 workshop participants, 15 volunteers, 11 facilitators, 6 venue hosts and the various people who helped make our workshops known throughout Burnaby. It definitely takes a lot of coordination and information sharing to ensure successful workshops!

Burnaby Food First nearly doubled the amount of workshops provided in 2015 (2014 had only 10 workshops) and hopefully we have increased the number of people who are cooking local healthy foods at home or growing food in their gardens (either at home or in a community garden).

In the Fall of 2015, we welcomed Meghan Cooke who took over from Leanne to manage our workshops. Thank you Leanne and welcome Meghan – we certainly look forward to many interesting workshops in 2016!


Burnaby Food First was present at various festivals and cultural events such as Hats off Day to the Edmond Festival to promote food security!

Those events helped raised our profile within the community as well as providing us with the opportunity to sell aprons to support our free educational workshops, Sharing Backyards and School Gardening programs.

Oh, and by the way, we are now selling aprons online to support our cooking and gardening food security programs!

Check out the apron store and make a commitment in 2016 to ensure that everyone has access to nutritious and local foods (as well as preparing it).

Sharing Backyards

Again, managed by Project Coordinator, Leanne Zmud, we went from having 1 match in 2014 to over 15 matches in 2015! Talk about building connections and sharing gardening knowledge between neighbours!

Sharing Backyard in Burnaby Heights!

Goodlad Garden in Edmonds!

We also held a successful information event at Burnaby North Neighbourhood House which allowed people to get to know one another and to find new opportunities.

Since the project began it has engaged with approximately 80 participants. These participants spanned a wide age range and backgrounds, including newcomers to Canada.

School Gardening

If we are to get people access to local foods, then one Burnaby Food First program took a different approach - getting youth involved with gardening.

Project Coordinator, Leanne Zmud, recruited community members to volunteer as school garden mentors for Burnaby high school students who were interested in gardening at their schools.

Thanks to the involvement of 3 Burnaby Schools - Byrne Creek, Moscrop and Burnaby South Secondary - the students of the “Green Your City” initiative (led by Alice Huang) and the 7 school garden mentors ( Lisa, Jim, Noreen, Sonya, Teresa, Jammy, and Anja – thank you very much for your time) who shared their garden knowledge with the students and diligently watered the gardens during the summer months!

Moscrop School

Byrne Creek with students and mentors

Burnaby South

The School Gardens culminated in a September harvest pot luck celebration where everyone brought a dish to share and was made with ingredients from their gardens (or at least a portion of it!). The potluck was an opportunity to eat together and recognize everyone’s efforts that contributed to the success of the school gardens.

Hopefully there will be many more opportunities for students to “get their hands dirty” with future gardens on school grounds! Again, a big thanks to Leanne for managing this program!

Students gardening!

So, 2015 was a year of many changes as well as challenges! As we move forward towards 2016, there is a sense of anticipation as to what the future holds for Burnaby Food First as well as the community coming together to find solutions in providing access to local and nutritious food for everyone!

We certainly hope that we have the opportunity to connect with you either as volunteers or perhaps attending our workshops? Or even joining us as a member! How about purchasing an apron either at the Burnaby Farmer’s Market during the Spring and Summer season? Or simply read our blog and share what information we have out with your friends (or sign up for workshop events). We also accept online donations too! We love to see that people are visiting our website and finding out food security! For that, we thank you in helping to spread the word to your family, friends and neighbours.


Thank you to the various sponsors in 2015! We hope that we will continue with great partnerships and gain new partners for 2016! Thank you for your support of our programs and services.
  • Burnaby Hospital Foundation
  • Burnaby Meals on Wheels 
  • Burnaby Public Library
  • Edmonds Community School
  • Edmonds People in Community (EPIC)
  • United Steel Workers Union Local 1-1937
  • Vancity
We would love to see that everyone has access to more local and nutritious foods for 2016 (and beyond).

We wish you and your family a safe and healthy new year! Thank you for your support!

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