Video Project: Food-Health-Literacy

Cooking Across Cultures: 

Ingredients for Wellness and Belonging386

What connection do you see between your identity, as an individual, or community and consumption of your traditional foods?

What are some of the benefits you see when you connect with others around your traditional foods?

How do you address the ethical balance between your desire to consume your traditional foods with issues around access, availability and environmental sustainability?

These are some of the questions posed in Cooking Across Cultures: Ingredients for Wellness and Belonging.  

Filming began in spring of 2015 with the intention of examining the healthy immigrant effect. The Healthy Immigrant Effect is the notion that when newcomers and immigrants arrive in Canada, they are healthier than the average Canadian, but after 5 to 10 years of being in Canada their health decreases to match the average Canadian or lower. While there are other possible determinants of health that influence the decline of newcomers’ health over time, such as physical activity, economic status, education and others. Film makers were curious about the relationship of food and health in maintaining newcomers’ health.

Participants from four different cultures share their experiences around their traditional foods and how this relationship has changed since settling in Vancouver.

In the video we learn from representatives from Haida Gwaii and Tsimshian Territory; Lima, Peru; Osaka and Kanazawa Japan; and Kabul, Afghanistan about their struggles maintaining and adapting consumption of their traditional foods.

The project took a participatory approach and encouraged participants to share stories about traditional food customs, cultural connections and nutritional habits from their homes.  In a multicultural setting, participants shared ideas and recipes around cooking, preserving methods and challenges in accessing traditional foods.

Cooking Across Cultures; Ingredients for Wellness and Belonging was produced by Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House and funded by Decoda Literacy Solutions. Filming was done during Multicultural Cooking Clubs, funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Many thanks are given to partners supporting food network and food justice work; Mount Pleasant Food Network, City of Vancouver, UBC School of Social Work, and United Way of the Lower Mainland. Special thanks are extended to Oka Community Planning and Visual Communications for the countless hours of in-kind support.

This video was filmed on Unceded Musqueam Traditional Territory.


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