Over the past 18 months, I have been working on ideas to support our local farmers and finding a way to showcase their produce. As the Chair of Surrey’s Agricultural Food Security Advisory Committee, I am elated to introduce a pilot project that showcases locally produced/grown/raised/processed food that will be on the menus of our Surrey restaurants in September. Each town centre has representation and will be offering their preparation of Surrey local food on Sundays in September, with the exception of South Surrey, where Tap Restaurant will be offering their local menu on Tuesdays.
One third (1/3) of the City of Surrey is in the Agricultural Land Reserve. To keep the public aware of this, the menus have been developed to have a minimum of two thirds (2/3) of the menu items coming from the City. As we move through the month of September, those farms that are providing the restaurants their menu items, will be featured on various media platforms.
For more information regarding our local farms and markets go to:
Please take some time to enjoy a Sunday dinner (Tuesday in South Surrey) that features our local farms — which translates to better tasting foods — and supports our local economy.
The participating restaurants are:
• Bozzinnis – 13655 104 Avenue
• Elements Casino – 17755 60 Avenue
• Maharaja Restaurant – 8148 128 Street
• Old Surrey Restaurant – 13483 72 Avenue
• Royal Oak Restaurant – 15336 Fraser Highway
• Tap Restaurant – 101-15350 34 Avenue ***
• The Taphouse 15330 102A Avenue
*** Tap Restaurant will offer their menu on Tuesdays in September, as the restaurant is closed on Sundays.
Thanks to Stefania Seccia from 24 Hours, for taking the time to meet with me today, to expand on the thoughts and ideas that will give an opportunity to a new generation of farmers. Stefania allowed me, as the Chair of City of Surrey’s Agriculture and Food Security Advisory Committee, to speak to the growing (no pun intended) issues surrounding our farming community. The Surrey Virtual Incubator Farm Project will develop a one-stop shop web portal for aspiring young farmers to get basic agri-business information on how to farm. The project will provide the knowledge for new farmers looking for access to lands that are under-utilized in Surrey. The platform will be similar to sites like VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner), where landowners will be able to list and provide details of their property and interested farmers can review and make contact for a lease arrangement. Surrey will be the first municipality in BC to take such an innovative and proactive approach to promoting the land lease market in BC’s agriculture sector.
This is innovation and imagination at it’s finest. I can’t wait for a lunch in a Surrey restaurant in 2016, where 80% of the meal is grown and processed within our City boundaries. If we can get some hops grown in the City, I’ll see what can be done to get that meal closer to 100% from Surrey!
As the Chair of the Agriculture & Food Security Advisory Committee, I am delighted to support the 8th Annual Surrey Urban Farmers Market in the plaza of City Hall. There are approximately 30 local vendors on site, every week, who provide fresh, homemade, and locally grown and produced items for the public to purchase. This keeps our local economy “growing” (pun intended).
The Market runs through October 7th, every Wednesday, from 1 pm to 6 pm at City Hall. Entertainment varies from week to week and there is plenty of space to enjoy yourself in the plaza. Nothing tastes better than produce that has just comes fresh from a farm where you know who grew it and how they grew it. Do you know where the fruit and vegetables you ate tonight came from? I do.
Please join me and others on Wednesdays. Help our Urban Farmers Market and keep the local economy going.
For more information about the Surrey Urban Farmers Market, and the vendors and entertainers participating, please visit the Surrey Market website, at: http://surreymarket.org/
(Click on any image below to open a pop-up gallery)
Saturday (May 2, 2015) the second Surrey firefighter in the last few months, was laid to rest as a result of his struggles with mental health issues. Firefighters and other First Responder agencies from all regions across BC, attended the service, to show their support to the family, friends and fellow firefighters, during this trying time.
The Chaplin, Lieutenant Scott Young from Coquitlam FD, led the Celebration in a way that was truly cognizant of the circumstances of the service. While the Celebration of Life was filled with good stories, there was no avoiding the “elephant in the room” which was the mental health issues that our member was challenged with.
Surrey Fire Fighters’ Local 1271 President Mike McNamara called upon the audience to ask that “we put an end to this disease we can all control, and that is the disease of social stigma. It’s time we recognize that an illness is an illness, and it doesn’t matter where it is in your body – your leg, your heart, your lungs or your brain.” Chaplain Young referred to depression as “the bastard that can be in us.” He spoke of how we all function well and continue our productive lives – until depression takes over and changes the way in which we make decisions.
The Celebration concluded with bagpipes playing Amazing Grace and the trumpet for the Last Post, which was provided by the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Pipes and Drums. Played in perfection and well appreciated by all there, but with all due respect, as a retired Surrey firefighter, songs I do not wish to hear again for a long, long time.
The loss of two Surrey firefighters in two months due to their struggles with mental health issues is numbing. There were counsellors that were on hand in the theatre. A proactive idea to provide the opportunity for those who want to express their thoughts and feelings.
The doors to WorkSafe BC, to start talking about post discharge follow-up for those with a work-associated mental health diagnosis, have been opened. Now the public “social doors” need to be opened. President McNamara said it best when he addressed the social stigma. Olympian Clara Hughes who suffered from depression created the “Let’s Talk” initiative which aimed at fighting the stigma surrounding mental health. It’s time for Firefighters and other First Responders to start taking care of their own members in the same manner in which they serve their community – with pride, honour and respect. It’s time to come to the realization that it is OK to say “I’m not OK.”
Educational awareness will, in all likelihood, become a key component to fighting and ending this stigma. I look forward to the day when I can share that this component has been developed and put in practice. With regards to educational awareness, the National Mental Health Week runs from May 4 to May 10. Join in and participate in the Canadian Mental Health Association’s 64th annual event. Go to http://mentalhealthweek.cmha.ca/ or use the Twitter hashtag #GETLOUD.