Leading the way in innovation


BACI introduces food-swapping program, expanded community gardens, Ideas for Change group
Michelle Strutzenberger

What are the most innovative ways to foster the belonging of all in our communities? Is it food-swapping? Community gardens? New types of social media?

All of these activities are being explored with leadership from the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI), demonstrating the organization’s spirit of openness to trying new things.

As an example, a film festival is underway this weekend featuring filmmakers who have a disability, an inaugural event of its kind in B.C. BACI is a co-sponsor of the festival.

People are speaking to the potential of this festival and similar arts and culture work to change the thinking on disability.

BACI is also looking to expand its community gardens, which it has been growing for three years. While the gardens are now located predominantly on the association’s existing property, the eventual goal is to invite community-members to open up even their private lots for this kind of activity, says BACI senior manager of communications and resource development Carol Broomhall.

Community gardens are showing themselves to be fertile spaces for growing  healthy food and healthy relationships.

Several people the association works with have also recently begun to take part in a food-swapping program. For this program, people who have an abundance of one type of food exchange with someone who has a lot of another kind. This is another innovative and natural way to expand one’s social networks. As the weeks progress, more will be understood about how well this works and what can be done to enhance its effectiveness.

Perhaps the most powerful evidence of BACI’s openness to new ideas is its Ideas for Change group, spearheaded by executive director Richard Faucher. The group sees about 30 staff from all levels engaged in sharing, exploring and building new solutions.

With government funding in question and growing restlessness with established associations’ approaches to working with people who have a disability, BACI is proving itself a significant leader in realizing that “what got us here won’t get us there.”

The BACI Blast will be storying out all of the activities mentioned here in greater detail during the coming weeks, so keep checking back.

If you have a story to share or feedback on this article please contact Michelle at 800-294-0051, ext. 27, or e-mail michelle(at)axiomnews.ca.


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