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Meet CCEC Member Tani Tupechka

Accessing good food during illness and the leg hold trap of poverty is the hardest thing I’ve ever faced.  In 2009, I was forced off work and onto disability because of a chronic muscle illness. Food took on a whole new meaning for me.

At the recent Vancouver Food Summit, a Coast Salish elder said, “food is life.” So true.  And food is also love and fueled by communities working together.

Each of us has an important role to play in food security - including community organizations like CCEC. I’ve done a good deal of food activism at the community level; in gardens, kitchens and educational initiatives.  I saw how access to good, affordable food is a huge barrier for many people – as it was for me.  NGOs and organizations need to receive the support to put even more energy and resources towards this key issue.

Accessing local food programs became key for my survival.  I had support from people in my community, but if it wasn’t for the financial help that CCEC provided, I would have gone hungry many times.  On top of that, in the spirit of community, the workers at CCEC always treated me with respect when I needed help, especially Atilio Alvarez.  He never once treated me like I was poor or untrustworthy, instead he was always kind, supportive and caring.  I am super grateful to him and the many people in our communities that helped me when I needed it most. 

Recently, I’ve been able to return to the community work I love and my own struggles have focused my energies on food justice.  Food security is at the heart of social and environmental justice. It ensures that people not only survive, but begin to thrive.  

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October 19th is International Credit Union Day, a day to celebrate the positive 'self-help' story of citizen based financial institutions. In many ways the story in BC is a very good one, but the consolidation trend of the last 25 years has a less optimistic face.

Ross Gentleman's OpEd piece in today's Vancouver Sun sets that out for all BC credit union members to consider. http://vancouversun.com/opinion/opinion-small-credit-unions-threatened-by-consolidation

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Babes in the Woods Eatery Receives Support from the Galiano Community Loan Fund

Meet CCEC member, Galiano’s Chef Lisa who opened her Babes in the Woods Eatery in 2014.  She secured a $10,000 guaranteed loan from CCEC member, Galiano Community Loan Fund (GCLF), which allowed her to open the restaurant and buy the equipment. 

Lisa heard about the Galiano Community Loan Fund a few years ago when “They helped Ginga buy DJ equipment so he could pursue his career professionally and I thought that was really cool.”  When she was opening her restaurant, with very little money, her plan was to get a case of tomatoes, turn it into something and sell it, then buy two cases of tomatoes, and so on….she remembered the story of Ginga.  She visited the Fund’s website, found the loan application online, applied and was approved for a guaranteed loan of $10,000.  With this support, she was able to open the restaurant and buy the equipment she needed to grow her business into what it is today.

Lisa has always wanted to open her own restaurant.  After years of working for others, she really wanted to create a place that cares about its’ employees as they are the foundation for any business.  Before she opened Babes in the Woods Eatery, she was working as the lead cook at the Woodstone Residence, a treatment center for young people with eating disorders.  When the center and her job was moving to Vancouver, she decided to stay on Galiano.  She says, “I decided I am going to do what I really want to do.  After 3 years of watching these brave young women battle this life threatening illness and winning, I took a page from their book and stepped into my future world.”

Living and working on Galiano has its’ challenges and that is one of the reasons the Galiano Community Loan Fund was started by a group of local residents.  Lisa says that she is most grateful to receive the loan as, “The fund has provided me with more than just financial assistance.  They did their due diligence in regards to my business plan, acting as mentors to me.  Their sound advice and feedback are tools that are crucial to me.”   She does face challenges that are common on the Island with the main concern being staffing.  She is asking, “How do I keep them year round?  How do they make a living?  How do I make a living?  Do they have the skill set to do the job?”  She says flexibility is very important and some decisions may not make the best business sense.  But, on Galiano where human resources are scarce, you need to adapt to the available resources.

Lisa is working hard to make Babes in the Woods a thriving little business.  She says there is a plan to move the restaurant to a property owned by the business!  While knowing that it is not going to be a straightforward or an easy process, she feels this move is working to ensure the future of her little business.  She looks forward to the next phase of her business as she says that she’s learned that challenges can often make us stronger. 

Contact:  lisagauvreau@gmail.com

http://galianoisland.com/babes-woods-restaurant

 

What is the Galiano Community Loan Fund?

(information from their website)

The Fund was created by Galiano Islanders who have come together as lenders to the Fund to support borrowers in the community who:

  •  • want to start or expand a business on the island
  •  • need access to affordable housing on the island
  •  • want to develop marketable skills to use on Galiano
  •  • have a worthwhile project that will benefit the community

 How does the Galiano Community Loan Fund work?

The Galiano Community Loan Fund operates in partnership with CCEC Credit Union.

The Fund receives loan proceeds from supporters who have lent money to the Fund and these loan proceeds are deposited at CCEC.  In turn, CCEC administers loans made to borrowers that are guaranteed by the Fund.

The pooled loan proceeds at CCEC earn interest and the earned interest is distributed to the supporters who have lent money to the Fund as a return on their loans.  Some supporters choose to forego receiving a return on their loans to the Fund.

Visit their website for more information if you want to be a Lender or a Borrower.  

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"There is no Secwepemc consent for Kinder Morgan" say the Secwepemcul'ecw Assembly.

Secwepemc elders, youth, children and families are calling for an immediate shutdown of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline in light of the forest fires raging through their territory. They fear the pipeline poses a serious safety hazard. They also say the unprecedented increase in fires is evidence of global warming created, in part, by Alberta tar sands oil transported by Kinder Morgan.

"We are in a critical state of emergency dealing with the impacts of climate change,” said Secwepemc teacher Dawn Morrison, adding “this includes catastrophic flooding and fires, as well as social issues such as poverty, increased violence against our women and high rates of death from substance abuse in our communities.”  

Morrison, founder of the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty, says “the health of our families and communities relies heavily on our ability to harvest wild salmon and access clean drinking water, both of which are at risk if the Kinder Morgan pipeline was ruptured or impacted by the fires.”

The Secwepemc’ulecw Assembly is demanding a moratorium on any pipeline proposing to transport crude or diluted bitumen through their vast traditional territory where they are stewards of the forests, fields and waterways that flow from the Rockies on their way to the ocean.

The Assembly met last month to reaffirm its territorial title and authority saying, “We have never provided and will never provide our collective free, prior and informed consent - the minimal international standard - to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Project.

We explicitly and irrevocably refuse its passage through our territory. Investors take note, there is no Secwepemc consent for Kinder Morgan. Kinder Morgan will not pass through Secwepemc Territory.”

To view the Secwepemcul'ecw Assembly Declaration visit: secwepemculecw.org

For interviews contact:

Jeffrey McNeil – 416.720.4358

Kanahus Manuel – 250.852.9002 or 323.804.5106

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Wild salmon are our most important Indigenous food and cultural and ecological keystone species. Indigenous communities have celebrated the spirit of wild salmon for thousands of years, and we are deeply concerned about the health and survival of them. Wild salmon provide a powerful metaphor for unity, so come swim with us. Get involved in the WSC 2017 October 7-12.  Volunteer to plan the caravan.   Follow us on facebook for more detailed information coming soon.

 

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The Britannia Community Centre renewal project is underway. Funds have been earmarked to revitalize the 18-acre Britannia site that includes the High School, a swimming pool, ice rink, seniors centre, library, family centre and more.

Community consultation is the first step.  Get involved. Come to the meetings.  Make your voice heard.  Britannia Community Centre complex is the heart and soul of the Grandview Woodland neighbourhood, is close to CCEC Credit Union and a number of our members live in this area and use the facility.  

Planning and Development Committee meetings are held on the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 7-9pm in the Britannia Info Centre and are open to the public. (Next meeting: Tuesday, August 15th, 7-9pm in the Info Centre)

The Housing Subcommittee is exploring possibilities for public housing on the Britannia site.  Email info@britanniarenewal.org for more information or to get involved. (Next meeting: Tuesday, July 18th, 5-7pm in the Info Centre- a light dinner will be provided)

Check out our website for past meeting minutes, upcoming agendas, news, updates, and more!

www.britanniarenewal.org  | info@britanniarenewal.org

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Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein's newest book is called NO IS NOT ENOUGH, and it is a call out to communities, thinking people, and progressive politicians. She sat down with Charlie Demers at a Writers Festival event on June 24th and laid out the essential arguments for constructive change - environmentally, socially, and economically. 

At the core, she emphasizes that resistance, saying no and protesting, is not going to be enough.  She contends that 'reacting' to a rapacious agenda the degrades the planet and consigns millions of people to poverty, or worse, is only a first step.  She sees the need for progressives to fashion a strong, fresh, and vital agenda that can contest the field in democracies, especially the USA. And also, she sees the need for communities, municipalities, and local governments to pick up the bigger challenges - and not wait for 'big government' to take action. 

The book largely pivots on the new directions, statements, and behavior of the new leader of the free world.  She entertainingly and succinctly lays out the 'brand management' tactics of the new president.  There are echoes of her previous books No Logo, and This Changes Everything. But she also includes observations on the recent BC election and the UK election.  In those cases she was heartened by the championing of truly progressive and exciting policies, broadening the discussion of what can be done by government. She noted that these visions were supported by voters.

The argument goes further than electoral politics, however. Ordinary people and community-based initiatives are also needed - both to effect action and to hold governments accountable.  Naomi Klein was referencing the Women's March and other events that are prompting people to get involved and take greater responsibility for a whole host of issues; immigration and refugees, housing, health services, education, transportation... In this context, CCEC and the many community groups we bring together are primary examples.

The challenge to the hundreds in the audience that evening was simple, 'It is up to you, us, to develop a vigorous, positive plan for the future; and put it in place.'

 

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Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks Work Towards a Poverty Free BC 

Lettuce Turnip the Beet on Poverty Reduction Campaign

Meet CCEC Member, Vancouver Neighbouhood Food Networks (VNFN) and Ian Marcuse, tong-time CCEC Member who is one of the sponsors for this group.  Ian works for the Grandview Woodland Food Connection, one of the 14 neighbourhoods across Vancouver who belong to this Food Network.

The VNFN’s are a grassroots network of people, organizations and agencies collaborating on food initiatives to ensure that all community members have access to healthy, culturally appropriate and sustainably produced food.  Ian says, “We know that food brings people together and help to build connections, but it also divides us as a community.  There are too many people that don’t have enough money to pay for food.”  Financial constraints have been identified as an underlying cause of food insecurity by groups including the Dieticians of Canada.

That is why Ian and the other Network Coordinators are working with the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition to bring attention to the fact that British Columbia remains the only province in Canada without a formal plan to reduce poverty; and that having an effective and comprehensive poverty reduction plan is critical for achieving food security.  Ian says, “In our work, we engage with the most marginalized community members, witnessing first-hand the detrimental impact that barriers to accessing food and abject poverty can have on a persons’ health and well-being. It is often those with the greatest need for high quality nutritious food that face the most difficult barriers to accessing it.” 

He shares with us the story of one of the participants in the Bulk Buying Program.

"When I first met her just over one year ago, she said, “I am literally starving”, and now she says, “this program has saved my life".   I’ve worked 9 years in this job and no-one in Vancouver has said to me that they were starving.  I then learned that Anne is a pensioner, on a low fixed income, has multiple health and mobility related issues related to eating an unhealthy diet for many years.  She didn’t have money for healthy food.  Then her doctor told her she was malnourished and must eat more fruits, vegetables and unprocessed foods.

Being in the program has given her the option to eat more veggies.  Anne now enjoys trying new foods she would not normally eat, such as kale.   She also describes the community connection that has helped her.  Anne told me she feels that the program is not just a food pick up, but an event to look forward to and a chance to connect with others and share health and cooking tips and what works for others."

Ian tells us that the Food Networks campaign, Lettuce Turnip the Heat on Poverty Reduction – Vote!  is designed to make the connection between poverty and food insecurity.  He says, “Poverty is an election issue. We are working to raise our voices together to show candidates in the provincial election that we’ll be voting for politicians that commit to a strong and thorough poverty reduction plan.”

For more information and to see the the infographics developed by the VNFN group that show the impacts on each pillar on alleviating hunger, visit http://vancouverfoodnetworks.com/vote/  
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Former CCEC GM Jill Kelly was honoured with the Gary Gillam Award at last week's Central 1 Annual General Meeting. The award goes to individuals who exhibit exceptional leadership, as volunteers and otherwise, in the pursuit of community economic development.  Jill was recognized for her achievements in the world of credit unions (especially as a pioneer at CCEC), childcare, co-op housing, LGBTQ rights, worker co-ops, and community healthcare. Jill currently sits on the board of the Reach Community Health Clinic. Hooray for Jill!  With humility, in her remarks she expressed her appreciation and noted that all the items listed were done jointly with others. She asked that the cash award be directed to Groundswell Education Society and the Cooperative Development Foundation.

The other award winner was another CCEC member.  Catherine Ludgate served on the CCEC board for nine years, during which time she went to work for Vancity.  There she carried two projects; the Living Wage campaign and Each One, Teach One Financial Literacy campaign. These initiatives lead to her being recognized under this awards program as well. Congrats to both Jill and Catherine!

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Helesia Luke, CCEC Board Member says, "A month ago I started a new job and with it embarked on a learning curve that has been a real eye opener. "  As the new Green Jobs BC Co-ordinator, my first observation is that there is no lack of global leadership on the topic. Labour, environmental and financial leaders are rallying for change and scalable solutions that provide good jobs and reduce carbon emissions. As recently as last week, former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney noted the transition to a green economy is a trillion dollar opportunity for businesses and national economies

In the absence of policy however, citizens in Canada are taking matters into their own hands with grassroots initiatives like Iron and Earth. [ttp://www.ironandearth.org/] I&E is a worker-led group formed by unemployed oil sands workers who recently signed an MOU to build six offshore wind farms in Atlantic Canada.

A new study from Berkeley  is reporting that 500,000 people are now employed in California’s renewable energy sector. The study credits state policy for the remarkable growth in good jobs that lower carbon emissions.  

Imagine what could be accomplished in Canada with effective policies and investment in a green economy. The Green Jobs BC Conference is November 24th and 25th. Come and join the discussion about how BC can transition to green and just economy.

Green Jobs BC is an alliance of labour and environmental groups with a shared vision of an inclusive, sustainable economy that provides good jobs, are socially just, protects the environment and reduces carbon emissions. 

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