Take Action > Food Justice
Boycott a product or brand by refusing to purchase or use/wear it.
Boycotting products is a simple way to actively resist consuming products that are produced with sweatshop labour. Resistance is always stronger in numbers: educate your friends/classmates about sweatshops and boycott a product or brand together. Make noise about your action by blogging about it, sharing it on Facebook or telling a local newspaper!
Check out these Successful Boycotts
Having worked in a restaurant where everyday I help people doggy-bag their food items and pack up take-out orders, I am appalled at how much plastic containers, paper bags, paper napkins, plastic forks, spoons and knives and condiments that we give away that will probably end up in the trash. Most of the customers take their food home to eat with their families anyway. However, I remember one regular customer who always phoned in for take-out and would always specify that she had her own container and would inform me that she did not require any extra utensils or even a paper bag to hold her food. When you order take-out and you know you won’t be needing plastic utensils, condiments or napkins, let the server know and bring your own container to hold the food. Or if you need to doggy-bag your meal, use your own container. It will reduce the amount of waste that will end up in the trash.
- To reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the trash.
The C3 Conference brings in speakers on the forefront of action raising awareness about climate change. They come to us from across the Lower Mainland and work with the students to reach the general student body. We share perspectives with the Canadian Youth Delegation as well as these speakers to advocate for system change within our respective communities. To reiterate, topics such as hydraulic fracturing, oil drilling, food security, ocean pollution and fisheries, tankers, air and water pollution will be addressed and discussed throughout the course of our event. Join the 250-300 students will be attending this event, where they will actively participate and learn from workshops, presentations, and activities!
- To bring together youth from across the Lower Mainland to discuss climate change issues
- To engage community leaders, facilitators, and speakers in connecting with and educating youth about climate change
Don’t throw your orange peel away! Turn it into a natural fertilizer.
Composting is a great way to integrate environmental solutions into our day-to-day lives by decreasing the amount of garbage we send to landfills, and putting biodegradable waste to good use. By composting at home, school or work, you can educate those around you on the issues related to food security and the impact our food has on the environment.
Check out these Composting Instructions
Raise awareness about the impact of trade by hosting a fair trade bake sale.
Trade regulations impact countries and people economically, politically, and socially. As government regulation decreases due to free trade agreements, corporate control increases. This often results in the disregard for worker’s rights, environmental sustainability, and human rights.
Fair trade ensures that people who are producing goods and foods are compensated fairly and decreases the gap between corporate profit and a worker’s wage. By hosting a fair trade bake sale you can bring people together while educating them about issues around trade and the definition of fair trade.
- Schedule a date and time for the bake sale – talk to a teacher, administrator, or student council member at your school to ask about scheduling;
- Create a menu. Check out Fair Trade Canada for some ideas or be creative and do some substitution. Common Fair Trade ingredients include chocolate, sugar, coffee, bananas, spices, pineapple, and more.
- Buy your ingredients. Check out Fair Trade Vancouver for suggestions of where to find fair trade products in Vancouver. When fair trade products are not available, look for local products or other examples of “fairly traded” products – they may not always have a label.
- Bake away!
- Set up your table (include some information about fair trade and the ingredients that you used) and sell your treats. Be sure to save some for yourself!
Make a farmers’ market feast with locally grown produce to share with family and friends.
Visit a farmer’s market near you with your friends and family. Create your own menu and ensure that all your main ingredients are locally grown. Have a blast picking out fruits and vegetables at the market; ask questions about where and how the food was grown. Then, enjoy cooking up a storm before you finally have a delicious locally grown feast.
- Action Reports
- → Jordan Had an Okanagan Farmers Market Feast!
Invite people to watch a documentary on the impact of media.
There are several documentaries out that address the impact of media. Many of them discuss issues about gender representations, consumerism, and social stratification.
Choose a documentary to screen at school or host a screening for your friends and family at home. Create discussion questions for the group to answer after watching the film.
- Choose a documentary film;
- Choose a date, time, and location;
- Spread the word through social networks;
- Prepare for the screening: make some snacks or suggest that others bring a dish, watch the film beforehand, develop discussion questions for a conversation after the film;
- Watch the movie;
- Discuss your questions.
- Action Reports
- → Kate screened the movie Black Gold with friends
Kids for Climate Action is a Vancouver-based youth group dedicated to raising awareness of the need to act on climate change at both an individual and government level. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our generation, and we are working to engage young people in the political process for this issue with such profound implications for the quality of our future lives. This fall, K4CA will be focusing on many low budget and innovative ways to raise awareness and to do outreach to get more members involved (as a large portion of our organizing team just graduated). However, our main focus in the coming months, will be canvassing in the lead up to the coming provincial election. By using a petition that examines the two pipeline proposals through BC, using a climate lens, we hope to create a broader dialogue with the people of Vancouver about these issues.
- Create dialogue with the people of Vancouver about the impact of climate related issues such as the proposed pipelines through BC
- Promote civic engagement and empower the people of Vancouver as voters
Have a competition to see how much you can reduce your weekly carbon footprint.
The carbon footprint calculates an individual’s impact on the environment using greenhouse gas emissions as a measure. The activities we participate in during our day-to-day lives have an impact on the environment. Basic things such as food, clothes, transportation, and the watts of electricity we use all contribute to our carbon footprint.
Challenge your friends and family to reduce their carbon footprint for a week and create a fun competition! Maintain an ongoing discussion with participants about how our actions impact climate issues.
Check out these Carbon Footprint Calculators
- Action Reports
- → Eric's carbon footprint
Start a garden and track your food from seed-table.
Many of us are disconnected from the production of our food. Our relationship with the food we eat begins at the supermarket and ends in our stomachs. But it is always rewarding to eat what you have grown and know exactly what has been put onto and into your food.
Start a garden in your yard, or join a community garden. Learn about soil preparation, seed planting, and how to nurture plants into full growth. Reward yourself with a delicious garden feast at the end of the season.
Youth4Tap is devoted to water conservation and awareness. We lead the local fight against the bottled water industries, one of the most wasteful and unnecessary ploys of the business world. By banning the sales of bottled water at our school, we effectively led the entire student body of 2200 individuals to drink tap water. To achieve this, we strategically installed water bottle refill stations around the school, for a total of 3 refill stations and $9510. To fundraise for this large purchase, we sold customized metal water bottles, promoting the use of the newly installed refill stations, as well as applied for various grants and awards. Fortunately, our school administration is very supportive, and they agreed to match our funds, which covered the costs for the third station. As well, we host an annual Water Week, which involves sharing our passion with the school and getting our peers to get involved in the movement. Join us and make your school plastic bottle free!
- To raise awareness about bottled water waste and water conservation
- To change student behaviour and encourage the use of tap water and reusable water bottles
Create your own media – a blog, a Zine, a video – to share your perspectives and opinions.
Although media often produces negative messages that tell us how to view ourselves and the world, we can take back control of the media by producing our own!
If you have something to say, or an idea to share, multi-media outlets have made it very easy for us to produce our own media and the Internet has made is easy to distribute. Create a video, Zine, Blog, or song and share it with your online social networks.
30% of all produce developed for consumption is inevitably wasted before getting to the general public. A big part of that comes from processing in grocery stores. Project Gratisvore is a food recovery program that targets food considered cosmetically unsatisfactory by grocery stores. An apple that is too bruised and an overripe banana are examples of such produce. Truckloads of such food are composted or simply thrown away every week; this builds up to a humongous amount of food injustice and food waste. We will develop stable recovery programs in grocery stores and donate this food to local community kitchens and food banks.
Learn more about Project Gratisvore at www.gratisvore.org
- Reduce food waste
- Support community kitchens and local Food Banks
Start a food garden at school. Create a student group with a teacher liaison and plant a garden. Invite the student population to volunteer at the garden at lunchtime or after school. Ask your science teachers if they would like to use the garden to teach students about plant life cycles and healthy ecosystems as a part of their class. Your school can start a compost to use as fertilizer for the garden. This is a great way to learn new skills and grow food with your friends!
- To enable students with knowledge on how to grow food
- To promote awareness about the benefits of eating local foods
Encourage the people you eat with to ditch meat once a week, and enjoy the benefits it has on their health, world hunger, and the environment.
Simply ask others to bring/buy something other than meat for their lunches, and enjoy a day of vegetarian meals once a week. Let others know that they’re doing good for animals, themselves, and the environment. Going meat-free once a week is not only a good way to reduce your carbon footprint, but to raise awareness of how poorly animals are treated for food.
- Raise awareness of the benefits of eating less meat.
- Engage others in learning about their food and what is in it.
- Create conversations about how animals are treated for food.
- Action Reports
- → Sarah started Meatless Mondays!
I would love to plant a vegetable garden but unfortunately don’t have independent access to the right space for it. So, I decided that I would plant my own herb garden inside my room. It is a pretty small action (I only have parsley and basil for now) but it is still cool to grow something all by yourself (from seed), to eat something that you’ve grown yourself, and to be able to talk to others about where food comes from. All you need is a pot (that drains into a bowl or plate), seeds, soil, sunlight, water, and some helpful Internet tips on when to harvest your herbs.
- To grow my own herbs from seed.
- To include some of my own herbs in my family's meals.
Plant medicine is a lot less toxic for the earth, and for your body. The practices of pharmaceutical companies can be dirty, and they are invasive. Doctors are often quick to write prescriptions, and we live in an increasingly pill-dependent society. If we learn to better understand them, and take care of them, plants can work as our allies to help balance our health and well-being. Making medicine with plants is simpler than one might expect, and it is a great way to form stronger connections within our communities.
- Plant and Identify Medicinals
- Learn their benefits and needs
- Learn to make tinctures, salves, vinegars and offer them to those in need
Challenge yourself to only eat locally grown food!
The 100 mile diet was developed by Alisa Smith and JB Mackinnon, a Vancouver duo who decided to only eat food that was grown in a 100 mile radius from where they lived, for a year! They wrote about their experience in a book they published, The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating.
Borrow the book from your public library and find out if you’re up for the challenge. Try it out for a week, ask a friend to join you. You can also write about your experience on a blog, or create a video diary.
I just volunteered at the Richmond Sharing Farm this past week and learned SO MUCH about farming, farmers, the local movement towards agriculture, and how to avoid slug infestation!
The Sharing Farm grows all kinds of vegetables and some fruits, and donates all of their produce to the Richmond Food Bank, so they have more than just canned goods to provide to children and families. Apparently Richmond has one of the highest child poverty rates! This farm provides them the opportunity to be eating fresh and healthy local foods.
I would highly recommend organizing a volunteer day at the farm. They’re always looking for help!
- Help a great organization do good for the community.
- Awareness - for the farm itself, for the plight of farmers, for the importance of local food systems
Write a letter to your MP and tell them what is important to you.
We elect MPs into government in hopes that they will speak on our behalf on the issues and problems that concern us as citizens. Even if you may not be of legal voting age, you can still voice your opinion and let your MP know what is important to you. You can also write to Canada’s Minister for the Environment, Peter Kent, and share your ideas on what Canada should do to protect the environment. Some people have said that for a politician, a letter from one person counts for the voices of 1,000 others who didn’t get around to writing the letter (with hand-written letters and original letters being given even more weight than e-mails).