Burnaby Food First




Food First was formed by the Eastburn Interagency Council in order to address a lack of nutritious foods available for families living in poverty.

Membership :

The group consists of community members and local agencies, who meet nine times a year (monthly, from September to June). Some organizations include: South Burnaby Neighbourhood House, Fraser Health, Fraserside Community Services, Burnaby School District, Meals on Wheels, and Ministry for Families and Children. Numerous other members receive their newsletter and occasionally participate in meetings; there are about 150 people on their email distribution list.

Association with Government :

Food First has a formal relationship with the municipal government via a Burnaby social planner who sits on the committee. However, they do not receive funding from the City.

Activities :

  • Food First launched The Empty Bowls Project in 1999, a biennial fundraising Gala in which the monies raised support local food and healthy eating skills programs for children, youth and families in Burnaby. The fundraiser was last held on April 18, 2013.
  • Partnering with Fraserside and MOSAIC’s Newcomers Centre, Food First was Involved in The Biggest Little Garden in Town project, the popular New Westminster food growing program that spread to Burnaby.
  • They host free educational workshops each month on healthy eating and food preparation techniques, such as: Introduction to Canning Jam, Healthy Food for Kids, Apartment Food Gardening for Beginners, and the Joy of Pickling.

Challenges :

  • Insecure funding/resources
  • Trying to get more community members involved

Help in overcoming challenges:

  • Committed participation from partnered agencies
  • Energetic and dedicated City of Burnaby social planner
  • Flexible funding opportunities available from VanCity Credit Union


All have been successful, especially the Empty Bowls Project, which now has become its own organization.