Food As Medicine Notes

On September 8th, 2017, approximately 80 residents of Winnipeg’s inner city came together in a special event featuring the Bell Tower Family, the National Diabetes Association and researchers from the University of Manitoba to discuss FOOD AS MEDICINE. The conversation was highlighted by our usual Food Not Bombs vegetable soup (veggies donated by Food Fare) and some delicious Bannock Pizza from Neechi Commons. The discussion asked community members to identify ways we could use food to improve our health, how to improve services and costs so that all members of our community could access healthy and culturally relevant food.

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Find below a summary of our conversations grouped into the following 7 areas:

FOOD BANKS

  • Easy access food banks for people with a disability, wheelchair or walker
  • More emergency food available in the community
  • More MILK available for seniors AND children at food banks

PHYSICAL WELLNESS

  • Free Gyms
  • Exercise classes for low income people
  • More access to cultural/traditional health activities (example: singing/dancing/pow wow classes)
  • More opportunities in the community for people struggling with addictions

COMMUNITY GARDENS/GREEN HOUSES

  • More community gardens with traditional food (not just flowers)
  • Free herbal tea
  • Teach how to grow herbs and traditional herbs
  • Year round community gardens (including green house and winter activities where applicable)
  • Bring back Indigenous corn

LIVING WITH HEALTH CHALLENGES

  • Diabetes “rehab”
  • eating well with diabetes
  • Foot care if you have been amputated for diabetes reasons
  • Heart care for people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol
  • Increased access to alternative sweeteners (sugar and aspartame are both bad for us)
  • More information about the harms and benefits of alternative sweeteners and sugar
  • Access to appropriate foods for those who are diabetic or lactose intolerant

TRADITIONAL FOODS

  • Increase access to traditional foods on the land
  • How to braid sweetgrass  lessons
  • More berry picking groups (and planting berries in the city and out of the city, when we can provide transportation)
  • Sharing stories about how food can be medicine

ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE/HEALTHY FOOD IN THE INNER CITY

  • More community shuttles to grocery stores
  • Host a community vegetable sale at the end of every month (possibly at the bell tower)
  • Lower prices for healthy, organic food
  • Increased communications and access to farmers markets
  • Increase access to free healthy  family dinners throughout the week (like cooking classes that let you take what you cook home to your family ex. “make and take”)
  • Cheaper prices for local fish

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

  • Opportunities to teach community members how to grow traditional foods (in the city)
  • Cooking and preserving classes (for jams, pickling, etc.)
  • Cook Book/cooking classes with healthy recipes and ho to cook on a budget
  • More opportunities to learn about the teachings behind food (spiritually)
  • Recipe exchange program between community members and nutrition experts
  • Increased information about the dangers of dye food colouring in our foods
  • Increase the marketing of healthy foods locally
  • Art classes – make collages of healthy lifestyles
  • Ban marketing junk food to children
  • Ban free refills of sugary rinks at fast food restaraunts
  • Healthy cooking video series for YouTube/Facebook
  • Fire department could come to the bell tower to teach about first aid
  • Free Seeds / Seed Bank or Library

As you can see, there are various long term and short term initiatives or projects we could be working on as a community to try and improve the health of our relatives living in poverty or those who are already living with chronic illness. We will be sharing the academic report with community members when it is finished and will also be continuing our relationship with the National Aboriginal Diabetes Association to ensure we can do prevention and maintenance for our relatives living with diabetes.

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Natalie & Joyce from the U of MB rang the bell together

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Youth & Reconciliation : What is it? How do we get involved?


What is it?

Reconciliation is about all of us including Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal children and youth. We believe that reconciliation will happen when all people know about the history, successes and challenges of Aboriginal peoples today, and have peace building and citizen skills to ensure a better future for all people.

How do we get involved?

APPLY

  • YRI recruitment happens every June – July! Send in a resume and cover letter to volunteer@canadianroots.cato be considered.

TRAIN

  • There is a week-long YRI training every August where you’ll be linked with the people and resources for a successful year.

ORGANIZE!

  • From September to April, organize monthly events for youth in your community to discuss what reconciliation means to you.

SHARE

  • Share your learning at our annual conference or at exchanges near you! 

7 Ways to Get Involved With AYO! This Summer!

As the weather heats up, so do activities within the AYO! Movement! This summer we will be hosting  these 7 opportunities (there may be more) and will be debuting our first ever AYO Staff position for one lucky summer student!! Find below some upcoming upcoming opportunities for Indigenous youth:

AYO Politix & #PDvotes17 (Saturdays)

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There is a provincial by election to replace MLA Kevin Chief in Point Douglas on June 13th 2017! That means AYO Politix (#politixBS) is meeting with individual candidates, recording Speed Rounds and working with other community groups to have an All Candidates Forum! Stay tuned to the AYO Politix Facebook Page to learn more!  We will be asking the candidates to speak on local economic development, child welfare (See Fearless R2W) and Health (See our TOP 5 Health Policy list). Our festivities began on Sat May 20th, with Green Party’s Sabrina Koehn Binesi! Upcoming Brain Storm dates are below:

Meet Me at the Bell Tower (Fridays)

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The MM@BT movement continues to meet Fridays at 6pm in cooperation with the Indigenous Family Centre and Food Not Bombs (and of course our relatives the Bear Clan gather at 6pm on the same corner). We look forward to welcoming consultations related to The Merchant’s Corner, a bell tower baby first birthday and a chance to explore both mental and community health!

Fearless R2W (Thursdays & 1 Saturday)

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Fearless R2W is moving forward, we are about to release our re-vamped Community and Government Recommendations on our blog! We continue to meet Thursdays at Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre at 510 King Street and are beginning the process for our first ever COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT FORUM. We will also be supporting the AYO Politix Candidate’s Forum and asking questions on child welfare.

Inner City Voices (Mondays)

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Every Monday for the past 5 years, @northendmc has been hanging out on the CKUW airwaves with many of the other rowdies from AYO & the Village including Jenna Liiciious, Markus, Chris, Ninoondawah and many more! MC & Liiciious recently had a blast hosting the 11th Annual Volunteer Awards & Listener Appreciation Party for the CKUW family! We promote local musicians, especially hip hop, and are always looking for interesting and exciting ways to collaborate with inner city residents and groups as well as other shows on CKUW like Rogues Primate.

The Village Walk (Mondays)

village walk 2017 returns

Back by popular demand and now in it’s 3rd year, it’s the Village Walk! Brought to you by SpiritFusion, AYO!, Ma Mawi Chi Itata, Got Bannock? & more – The Village Walk provides a chance each lunch hour, on Mondays, to start your week with a walk around the community where we can explore the neighbourhood and get healthy together.

Youth Pipe Ceremonies (Saturdays)

 

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We’re back for the 2nd year of weekly, summertime, street level youth led ceremony! We’ve already hosted 2 events at the North End Bell Tower and the Merchant’s Hotel. We are looking forward to supporting other events in the community where ceremony, and the streets can come together, in spaces where we can pray for families and express gratitude for the good things we have in our lives.

100 Basketballs (Family Fun Day in August)

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For the past 3 years, #100Basketballs has provided inner city children and youth with free basketballs and a family fun day that featured basketball related give aways, food, entertainment, 3 on 3 basketball tournaments and more! This year, 100 Basketballs will happen in August and for the first time will be in the West End of Winnipeg. More details will be available soon!

  • If you wish to partner, support, donate equipment, shoes, basketballs or help in any other way please contact Lenard Monkman at lenardmonkman@gmail.com
  • Donations can be dropped off with the AYO team Fridays at MM@BT

There you have it! After 7 years of existing it is amazing to see how our volunteers and partner organizations continue to work together to make space in the village for community to be created. We have now shared 7 of our initiatives that you can get involved in this summer either by attending as a participant or getting involved as a helper. See you on the street!

Bell Tower Fifth Anniversary Highlights Young Leaders This Friday

On Friday November 18th 2016 at 6:00pm at the corner of Selkirk Avenue & Powers Street, Meet Me at the Bell Tower will be celebrating five years of weekly anti violence community building and highlighting the examples of some of our amazing young leaders!

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We will be meeting at the Bell Tower, hearing from the youth, ringing the bell and going for a march around the community. We will hear from Shania Pruden, fresh off the We Day stage, Atticus McIlraith who is kicking off his Winnipeg Harvest Baby Formula Drive and Ramona Harper, a youth leader in the Bell Tower Family since we began in 2011 will share what bell tower means to me.

Bell Tower Birthday Wishes

  1. BRING FORMULA FOR WINNIPEG HARVEST
  2. BE POSITIVE AND SHARE YOUR EXAMPLE WITH THE WORLD
  3. SPEAK OUT ABOUT DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, EATING DISORDERS AND SELF HARM
  4. BRING A PRIZE FOR THE GIVE AWAY
  5. SEND US A BIRTHDAY MESSAGE USING THE HASHTAG #BELLTOWERFAMILY

Support…So Far

So far many people are supporting us! We will be doing a media interview on Global TV on Friday morning, POP Entertainment and Management are helping us get our decorations and certificates, volunteers will be doing face-painting and there will be food! We also have a very special cake and 200 cupcakes on the menu. If you have any way you would like to support in some way please let us know via social media or email us at info [at] ayomovement [dot] com. Feel free to RSVP on Facebook and share our poster with your networks!

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But wait! There’s more! Check out this poster from Atticus on the Baby Formula drive he is launching at our birthday!

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Fearless R2W Page Added to AYO Website

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We have added a new page to the AYO website! We have been hard at work over the last few months trying to regroup the way we organize our website and are going to be sharing the updates with all of you.

Fearless R2W is the initiative that we are working on to empower parents and families in the North End of Winnipeg who are working with the child and family services system.

Click here to visit the site!

Closing the Gaps in Urban Indigenous Health (with WRHA)

Announcing a partnership between AYO & the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Population & Public Health Branch to understand the challenges and identify ways forward to improve health for urban indigenous peoples, especially our youth.  Over the next several weeks, a variety of activities and initiatives will be undertaken to solicit feedback from urban indigenous community members as well as the creation of reports that focus on 3 areas:

  1. gaps in service
  2. recommended solutions &
  3. commercial tobacco reduction

CLOSING THE GAPS IN URBAN INDIGENOUS HEALTH

Our first endeavour is to host 2 events to introduce the project and begin working with the community on documenting our feedback. The first set of consultations and report will focus on identifying the gaps in urban indigenous health from a youth and community perspective.

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Friday January 29th 2016
Closing the Gaps Bell Tower – Community Event
6pm – 470 Selkirk Ave
Open to all community members
CLICK HERE FOR FACEBOOK EVENT:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1523322877961641/

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Saturday January 30th 2016
Closing the Gaps Brain Storm – Urban Indigenous Youth Event
12 noon –  865 Main St
Open to urban indigenous youth
CLICK HERE FOR FACEBOOK EVENT:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1058269267557016/

Butterfly Lab – Bringing Ideas To Life

On Tuesday November 25th Youth are invited to comw down to our first ever BUTTERFLY LAB, a creative and safe environment where you can find all sorts of supports bring your idea to life!

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Our Butterfly is a youth platform that aims to support the creativity and innovation of young people’s ideas

Official Website @ http://www.ourbutterfly.com

Join AYO & Our Butterfly founder Chris Leowen as we help youth workshop ther ideas, get them down on paper and begin to take the necessary steps for that idea to become reality.

Bring your energy, passion & or course your ideas!

https://facebook.com/events/1557874234431292