Food projects produce more than food. They also provide opportunities for employment, youth engagement, and deeper integration with community projects. Through first-hand experiences, this session explores how food projects empower communities in ways beyond the plate. The conversations will focus on why our guests undertook a community food project and its results.
Jackie Gonzales, Elder in Residence at Squamish First Nation’s Ayas Men Men Child and Family Services
Jackie GonzalesJackie Gonzales is currently an Elder in Residence with Ayas Men Men Child & Family Services, providing support to the family circle, youth team, and counsellors. Over the last decade some of the work has been dedicated to food sovereignty for the community, which began as a monthly food distribution that consisted of organic meats, fresh produce and staples to assist families facing challenges. This led to the creation of the medicine garden, which provides local indigenous plants used for making salves, soaps, balms, and teas. The garden also provide fresh seasonal berries and vegetables during the summer months.
Branavan Tharmarajah is an alumnus of McGill and Acadia University, with a business and nutrition background. He is presently finishing his MBA in Community Economic Development at Cape Breton University. His experience spans private and nonprofit sectors, and he brings a unique perspective on using community-based approaches to promote health and economic development. At The Growcer, Branavan supports communities in their efforts to take back control of their food system.