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How We Eat Now - New West Museum event highlights food security

On May 16, the New Westminster Museum and Archives will open its latest exhibition, You Are What You Eat: Community Food Security .
beach family
Shizu Nishiguchi (1893-1943), a hairdresser, is on the far right; her husband, Sennosuke Nishi (1882-1955), was a local fisherman. They lived at 828 Royal Avenue where they kept chickens and grew chrysanthemums. Shizu died at the age of 50 when the Canadian government interned Japanese-Canadians.

On May 16, the New Westminster Museum and Archives will open its latest exhibition, You Are What You Eat: Community Food Security.  The opening reception, at 6 pm on the third floor of the Anvil Centre, features tours, local food organizations, and a no-host bar. The exhibit runs to October 20, 2019. 

“Food is about more than just meeting nutritional needs,” says Deanna Tan Francoeur, Fraser Health’s Public Health Dietitian, who was involved in the development of the exhibit.  “Not only does it nourish people but it connects people.  I hope that visitors will think about food differently, more holistically.   That they will think about what is the impact of food not only on themselves as an individual, but on our community as a whole.”

The exhibit, developed with an advisory group composed of members from New West Community Food Action, Fraser Health and New West Farmers Market, traces stories from the past and present to show how people eat in the community.  One of the core messages of the exhibit is why food security is an issue in the city.  One in seven New West residents live in poverty.  Other questions from the exhibit are: Have you ever had trouble finding the foods you need to keep emotionally and physically well?  When you find them, are you ever shocked at their quality, cost or availability? 

Filled with historic photos, colourful vintage food packaging and even a retro stove and fridge, the theme looks particularly at the current situation of eating in New West.  The exhibit will feature a small cookbook library, hands-on multicultural cooking utensils and a play garden.  As well, the museum also worked with the New Westminster Foodbank, Family Services of Greater Vancouver, New Westminster Community Gardening Society and Social Forum Hope to create some short films about eating in the city.

A series of associated programs are organized to enhance this feature exhibition including Bugs ‘n Bees: Pollination Workshop, an educational garden program focused on food at “ground level”and Chocolatl: The Ancient Drink of Gods, a fascinating opportunity to learn about Mexican and Columbian history and culture through a delicious crowd favourite.  These and other programs will explore ongoing conversations about food.  Further programming is being confirmed and will be updated on the museum website.

The New Westminster Museum is located at 777 Columbia Street in the Anvil Centre, New Westminster. The museum is open to the public every day, 10 am - 5 pm (with extended hours on Thursdays to 8 pm). Admission is by donation.For more information, call 604-527-4640 or go to


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