27. DTES NH – Right to Food Zine







Project Title

Right to Food Zine Publication Support

Organization Name

Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House


Downtown Eastside, storytelling, representation, public scholarship, food insecurity, food

Related Course Concepts

Food justice, Food security, Asset based community development, Social class/income inequality, Cultural identities, Indigenous food sovereignty

Organization Information

Organization Name

Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House

Mission and Vision of Organization

To provide opportunities for residents to meaningfully engage with and contribute to their community in an equitable atmosphere of sharing and learning.

The secular, grassroots Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House (DTES NH) embraces people of all ancestries, genders, ages and descriptions; annually welcoming almost 9,000 DTES residents in a community where 70% of our neighbours have low‐incomes, 700 are homeless and 5,000 are under-housed.

Our programming is community inspired and varied, a sampling of which has included a Chinese Elders Community Kitchen, Traditional Aboriginal Community Kitchen, Leadership Development, a Children’s Community Kitchen, Nutritional Outreach Activities (Mobile Smoothie Project and Banana Beat), The Healing Circle, Father’s for Thought, Table Talks project, Family Drop In: Families, Farming and Food, Community Drop-in and the production of a Right to Food Zine.

Those who built the DTES NH put the Right to Food at the heart of our work, as nutritional vulnerability was a theme familiar to all. Our goal around the Right to Food is to reform the nutritional impact, quality, abundance and delivery of food in the DTES in consultation with residents, community food providers, non‐food community organizations, healthcare professionals, policy makers, growers/suppliers, food/beverage industry professionals and researchers.

Guiding Principles and Values

We know food to be a communicative instrument and hence use its offering as an instrument of community building.

The average DTES resident lives with one or more serious health issues, has a compromised immune system and is under-housed. Coupled with extreme material poverty, the lack of adequate housing renders people incapable of providing themselves with adequate nutrition. Typical housing quarters provide one small room with no cooking facilities or storage for foodstuffs. Many of our neighbours live in Single Room Occupancy units (SROs).

The average DTES diet consists of a of starch (in the form of white rice and pasta); copious amounts of tasteless coffee garnished with coffee whitener (an addictive petroleum by-product) and refined sugar; endless soup; day old pastries and donuts; dishes made with an alarming amount of taste enhancing chemical additives; and processed foods. These ‘foods’ do not support positive health outcomes for our neighbours, but remain omnipresent in our community.

What is not found in the average DTES diet is local, seasonal, fresh produce; sweets which are healthy (eg dates and figs); dishes made without additives and refined sugars; homemade vinaigrettes; alternatives to dairy products; and generally speaking fresh, identifiable foods. These are the things that the Neighbourhood House works to make available for our neighbours.

When one is materially poor, the first things lost are privacy and choice. Offering people a choice of the foods they ingest is a critical piece of the NH food philosophy. It’s a commonly held myth that those living in poverty don’t have nutritional knowledge or aspirations.

Contact Information

  • Primary Contact Person(s): Rory Sutherland
  • Email: ed@dtesnhouse.ca
  • Phone: 604-215-2030
  • Address: 573 East Hastings
  • Website: dtesnhouse.ca , Right to Food Zine

Preferred Method of Contact

  • Best method(s) to contact: Email
  • Best day(s) to contact:Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays
  • Best time(s) to contact: Mornings, Afternoons

Project Description

Students will assist with the production of the DTESNH Right to Food Zine food security publication. They will contribute content that fits with the theme of this RTF Zine edition. This content can also build on their related knowledge, skills, and interests.

The main project deliverable is a vibrant RTF Zine spring edition that reflects the food and nutrition-related needs and aspirations of the community we are a part of and serve.

What challenge or issue does the project aim to address?

The project aims to address food insecurity in the DTES, and negative perceptions of our community members, through grassroots community development work.

Student Assets and Skills (preferred or required

Any of these will be an asset:

  • knowledge of nutrition;
  • cooking skills;
  • knowledge of food safety;
  • knowledge of food procurement strategies;
  • experience interacting with vulnerable populations;
  • understanding of food security issues and right to food;
  • interest in storytelling
  • interest in community based research

Student Assets and Skills (to be developed through the project)

  • Build on existing interests/skills/talents such as design, research, advocacy, writing, to meaningfully engage in community, build relationships, collaborate and create an amazing food security publication for local residents and allies.

Is a criminal record check required?


Project Location

573 East Hastings. Students can work on the project off site as well.

Preferred Days of Week and Hours

The Zine meets at the NH on Wednesdays at 1pm and it's best if students can attend.

Project/Partner Orientation Materials

Students should review these materials prior to the first partner meeting:

Additional Project/Partner Orientation Materials

The following will be provided at the first community partner meeting:

  • Students will receive an orientation to the space, the organization, and how we place ourselves in the community, as well as ongoing direct staff supervision and support.

Related Community Service Opportunities for Students

  • We are launching the Fall 2019 edition of the Zine at the Feasting for Change art exhibition launch on September 19 at Roundhouse Community Centre. Students are strongly encouraged to attend this celebrations. Volunteers are also needed to assist with this event. Please ask for details!
  • We have many ongoing volunteer opportunities and have summer student intern positions available every summer.

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

I hope students will learn about...

  • Food security in the DTES, strengths-based community development, and the Neighbourhood House movement.

I think students will come to appreciate...

  • Regardless of their material circumstances, people in the DTES have a keen interest in and passion for food.

Through this project, students will develop...

  • Understanding of the complexity of food insecurity in the DTES and problems with the charity model of human services.

Organizational Outcomes

Intended Project (Short Term) Outcome

  • The RTF Zine spring edition will share the food and nutrition-related stories, needs and aspirations of the community we are a part of and serve.
  • Student contributions, including improved editing, content, and design of this RTF Zine edition will help showcase these stories.

Medium Term Outcomes

If the student project is part of a larger project at your organization, how will the students' work contribute to the goals of this larger project?

  • The RTF Zine supports leadership, confidence, and creativity in our community, and helps to counter negative perceptions about our neighbourhood and neighbours.
  • Improved editing and production polish of the RTF Zines will help us generate support for future editions from partners/funders.

How does the student project contribute to your organization's mission and long-term vision?

  • The Zine project advances DTES NH's mission to provide opportunities for residents to meaningfully engage with and contribute to their community in an equitable atmosphere of sharing and learning.
source: https://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:LFS350/Projects/F2019/DTESNH