Submitted by Paulina Grainger, Arts & Outreach Coordinator
How do newcomers access the food they want to eat when they come to Canada? This was a question raised by students from UVic Mapping Edible Geography class in conversation with English Language students and newcomers participating in an ICA project on the importance of growing food close to home.
Along with language and cultural barriers, access to healthy, reasonably priced and culturally-acceptable food is clearly one of the challenges encountered by new arrivals to Canada. With time, this food insecurity can often lead to a decline in newcomer health due to dietary changes and a shift to a more Western diet, usually high in sugar, fat and salt – leading to an increased risk for chronic disease.
With pertinent information gathered from the project participants about their needs and desires about finding and growing food in Victoria, the UVIC students created a “community food map” highlighting useful resources such as: ethnic grocery stores, local seasonal markets, community gardens & stores, seed libraries, and community recreational centres.
This map is now located in the ICA’s student lounge outside Classroom 1. All newcomers and ICA clients are invited to come and use and interact with it by adding some of their favourite food destinations. And if you happen to find a much sought after traditional delicacy, in a far-flung corner of Victoria, please don’t forget to share it with us!