Vancouver can be an isolating place if you are new to the area or you live alone. But food brings people together. And it can also be the starting place for breaking bread, sharing tips and saving money. Volunteer, start a food group, or just grab a friend to share a meal with.
Build community and reduce your food budget while you are at it.
Here are 5 ways to start building community and eat well in the process:
1. Join a food-buying co-op or start one. Co-ops can be a great way to save money by buying healthy and organic foods on the cheap. They can also be a great way to get to know people and help each other out. Farm Folk, City Folk is a great starting point for learning more about food-buying clubs. You can start one by contacting a company like Horizon and start buying in bulk with your friends, neighbours or co-workers.
2. Do food swaps. You may have heard of cookie swaps, but you really need to get on the soup swap train. Have friends come with several mason jars filled with a big-batch soup they have made. Everyone gets to go home with an exciting variety of soups that can be popped into the fridge or freezer. This is a great way to eat healthfully and skip expensive prepared foods or take out. Try one of my favourite thrifty soups and get started.
3. Join a CSA. Community-supported agriculture is a great way to have healthy, sustainable food and save money. Having to eat what you receive is a great way to build your cooking skills and get to know your farmer. Some farms even let you visit or volunteer with other subscribers. Check out local CSAs here.
4. Shop together. Grab a friend and hit the discount markets or buy in bulk together. Here are some places to buy bulk in Vancouver. If you can get to Richmond, this natural foods warehouse market on Saturdays is worth a wander.
5. Join a community kitchen. Sign up for a food skills program. Or just cook together with someone. Learning new skills in the kitchen can mean saving money and meeting new people. Get the deets on local community food events here.
Share food, break bread and enjoy community while saving money.