Food With A Side of Community

10:28:00 PM BB 0 Comments

I've been learning a lot from Food With A Side of Community. If you're wondering what Food With A Side of Community is, check out the link. To summarize, Food With A Side of Community (organized by the Support Network for Indigenous Women & Women of Colour) is a once a month gathering where anyone living in Victoria is welcome to cook and share food together. So far we have 3 events where we've made jerk chicken, bannock, and caribou stew. 
This happened out of a conversation with a friend of mine, Selina, about the importance of sharing food and how this is an important tool to build community. In addition to building community, we both felt like it was important for racialized people to have spaces where they can intentionally meet and share food. Selina and I had these conversations over the summer of 2015 and finally got to make this vision a reality when I made a brief return to the student life and we took a Women's Studies Class together last Fall. The term we used for our class project was "brown spaces", which in this situation means intentionally carving out spaces in mainstream society for people marginalized by race. The process of organizing this event has been amazing! I have learnt a lot about myself since November 2015 when we organized our first event. 

My understanding of reproductive justice has grown. As some of you may know, in 2014 I started SNIWWOC because I felt like Victoria was seriously lacking in issues surrounding reproductive justice for women of colour and indigenous women. A personal experience of mine led me to this conclusion. Feel free to ask me what this experience was in person because I love talking about it, but can't write about it for whatever reason :D. I teamed up with a few racialized friends of mine, and together SNIWWOC begun. We have grown a lot since then and I am so proud of the work we do.

From the beginning, food has been an important part of the work we do. Although SNIWWOC has other events, Food With A Side of Community has been the most rewarding. I am not entirely sure why. But I do know that I am constantly learning of the ways in which food and reproductive justice are intertwined. I am learning of more gaps that exist in my community as it relates to reproductive health and reproductive health care. SNIWWOC has talked about Victoria's food desert and our plans to address this in the near future.

Just as importantly, I am learning about the importance of letting go. Anyone who knows me knows I can be so obsessive and will plan every single detail. Event planning can be stressful because my mind is always ON! With Food With A Side of Community, I am learning to trust in my intentions and that of the SNIWWOC board. I have trust in the community members who come to our events and support us. I'm learning to trust in the words of appreciation for what SNIWWOC is doing, and in the many tangible bits and pieces of support that we get before, during  and after each event. From community members who volunteer to facilitate an event, to those who bring food, who help out with cooking and prep, folks who make donations, who suggest resources and funding options to keep the events going, etc. SO MUCH LOVE! 

I have learnt that Victoria does need "brown spaces". We need spaces where indigenous people and people of colour can come together and create food and share stories. Victoria needs more racialized food. Shout out to Mexican House of Spice for always having plantains and other African and Mexican staples. This shoutout is important because if you know me, you know plantains and garri are a staple. I have learnt that although "reproductive justice" can be such an academic sounding term, many people are willing to engage in conversations around reproductive justice as it relates to their lives and the work SNIWWOC does. 

I am that friend who says yes to cooking together (because I do enjoy it) but will stand on the sidelines and talk to you while you do the work. Sorry to all of you, you know who you are. I love cooking alone, so these events remind me that I can't really cook with people. I will usually start off in the kitchen, but end up talking to people and having conversations outside the kitchen. Thank you to all the cooks that stay in the kitchen next to the stove cos without this team of support, these events would not happen cos we would have no food haha. 

So many people believe in the vision of Food With A Side of Community and want to see it happen as much as SNIWWOC does. That energy and desire is magic. It is enough. Thank you. Our next event is on February 24.

Any blog entry is not complete without a selfie. Here you go:


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