Feasting for Change is an ongoing project inspired by the wonderful knowledge of traditional food practices among First Nations community members.
The Aboriginal Health Department, VIHA Nutritionists, and First Nation Communities have been working together since May 2007 to enhance food sovereignty among the Aboriginal Communities of South Vancouver Island through traditional, local “feasting.”
The Feasts serve as a platform to support an open discussion of community issues and the sharing of traditional knowledge between Elders and youth. They offer both rural and urban First Nations communities the chance to experience a meal created in a time-honoured way, and assist in bringing communities “back to basics.”
In other words, the Feasts are a way for community members to share traditional food and knowledge, while exploring ideas about the community and health.
Since May 2007, 17 such events have taken place and reached over 1,800 people. Nutritionists have worked closely with community members during this time and through partnerships with VanCity, the BC Healthy Living Alliance and others, have created the Knowledge Basket – a two-disc DVD set that includes the tools and resources which have been useful for communities in hosting their own “Feasting for Change” events. Feasting has traditionally been in communities for generations, “Feasting for Change” is an opportunity to honour this practice.
All 51 First Nations communities on Vancouver Island have been gifted with a Knowledge Basket.
Now, in order to support the continuing development of the project, the Aboriginal Health Department is offering the Knowledge Basket to all communities for $30. The money raised from the sale of these sets will help in continuing these community feasting events.
To find out more information or to order a copy of the DVD, please contact the Aboriginal Health Department at 250- 370-8914.
While working with First Nations communities on diabetes and nutrition issues, community nutritionist Fiona Devereaux, learned and recognized the immensely important connection and knowledge of traditional food practices among all First Nations people and their communities.
Searching for a way to revitalize this knowledge and share it with the communities especially the youth, Devereaux along with members of the South Island Nations, her coworkers Erin Rowsell, Jen McMullen, Kate Kittredge, and Sue Schaefer and Vancity created the Feasting for Change project in May 2007.
The initial Feast occurred in T’Sou-ke First Nation. Representatives were invited from each Nation in the southern half of Vancouver Island to share a meal of crab, halibut, salmon, and other traditional foods made using traditional methods. Elders and youth shared stories and ideas about how to “bring people together” and “get back to the basics” by honouring and sharing knowledge and expertise held by the community Knowledge Keepers.
This first feast served as a guide in organizing the 16 that have followed since. Communities across Vancouver Island have enjoyed the practices of pit cooking, eating food found locally, and creating meals together while sharing stories and ideas. For many, these Feasts have reignited the traditional ways of preparing food.
"It was so nice to have the families and friends together and having good times around our food"
“Only about 2 of my friends eat seafood.... but that day, all of them were eating seafood it was so great to see!"
"People don't really get together a lot anymore, as a community, but everyone was together that day".
“This is the first time I have tried these foods or seen food cooked in the ground.”
“I feel proud about how the old people used to do things.”
“I miss these foods, it is so nice to have them, my body always feels better when I eat them.”
Reconnection to Food, Land and Culture and Connect with Elders and Youth. Set the table around the old way and old food and see what happens...