Meet Betina Wheeler, the new Coordinator for the North Shore Table Matters Network. Betina describes herself as a passionate foodie; something she says she came by honestly on the knee of her grandmother back in Newfoundland. Since 2006, she has chaired the New Westminster Community Food Action Committee and has been a passionate food advocate, locally and provincially. She has brought many food security projects to fruition. Initiatives have included: a low cost in season cookbook (New West Cooks) and a Health Literacy Guide; the New Westminster Food Programs and Services map and print resource; a Pilot Harvest Box Program; a bulk food buying club; a Facebook page; Walking Food Maps; the Simcoe Park Community Garden; and, promoting local community kitchens and the New West Farmers Market. The project she is most proud of though, is the community food charter – Food for Every Body: A Food Sovereign New Westminster. The charter articulates the rationale for diverse stakeholders to get involved in the development of a sustainable food system.
For the last 18 years Betina has worked with the New Westminster School District; the last 15 years playing a leadership role in community development. This saw her develop a wide variety of programs and initiatives for the benefit of schools and the community at large. She has led projects that paved the way for systemic change and was instrumental in the development of the Healthy Schools New West Committee where she spearheaded the strategic planning process. Her role saw her representing the school district at many community tables, which provided her with an opportunity to become well versed on a wide variety of social issues. She has also participated in City strategic planning processes in New Westminster that led to the development of the Food Security Strategy, the Official Community Plan, the Environment Strategy, the Community Poverty Reduction Strategy, the Child and Youth Friendly Community Strategy, and the Childcare Needs Assessment and Strategy.
She is thrilled to be joining the North Shore Table Matters Network and is looking forward to getting to know the communities and using her unique skill set to support the development of the strategic plan and move innovative projects forward that can have a real impact.