Vancouver Coastal Health provides about $40,000 a year to further community food security on the North Shore and support Table Matters.
“We stretch it a long way,” says Broughton.
The network’s work is guided by a steering committee, comprised of local leaders involved in a variety of food securityfocused initiatives, and volunteers at large. Table Matters also has strong support from local government. A staff member from each of the North Shore municipalities sits on the committee. “It’s great that our municipal leaders recognize food as a local issue.” says Broughton.
Alex Kurnicki, a streetscape planner in the engineering, parks and environment department of the City of North Vancouver, has been a member of the Table Matters committee since 2011. Over the last five years, the city has emerged as a leader within Metro Vancouver on issues related to food security and urban agriculture, he says.
“Table Matters informs my work on food security and urban agriculture issues by identifying directions the city needs to take new policy as well as being informed on new trends and possible future policy directions, such as food recovery and community kitchens,” he says. In addition, serving on the committee with his peers from the districts of North and West Vancouver (Cristina Rucci and Arleta Beckett respectively), provides an opportunity to stay informed on what’s going on elsewhere on the North Shore, as well as co-ordinate on policy development.
In addition to the 100 member projects, there are approximately 300 individuals who are members of Table Matters. Table Matters is strongly focused on community engagement and organizes an annual networking and education event, usually in the fall. As well, Table Matters offers an annual community small grants program, thanks to the funding received from Vancouver Coastal Health. Projects focused on serving more vulnerable populations are of particular interest. Eleven groups recently received funding, totalling $10,000 for 2014/2015. They include the North Shore Disability Resource Centre, which will use the money to offer food preservation classes for residents of five group homes, and the North Shore Community Garden Society, which will put the funds towards the development of the new Garibaldi Community Garden in the District of North Vancouver.
Apart from funding support, “We can help leverage expertise and resources,” says Broughton.
The current focus of Table Matters is the creation of the North Shore Food Charter, which the network started work on in 2012. Broughton hopes the document is the first step towards establishing a Food Policy Council for the North Shore, following in the footsteps of other regions across North America.
The North Shore Food Charter is intended as, “a statement of philosophy and values, particularly around food,” says Broughton. “It’s a set of principles that we’re striving to achieve,” she adds.
“Our goal was to try and bring all of this together in one document and also really reflect what the community’s priorities are around food,” she says.