Corner Growth

Corner Growth

Affordable meal kits for Downtown Eastside residents that are easily prepared and distributed through a proposed network of smaller Downtown Eastside’s Washington Community Market (WCM) storefronts, in collaboration with the Community Impact Real Estate Society. Our project put forward a series of recommendations for operational and structural changes to the WCM based on its needs and interests.

School:

Langara

Department:

Geography

Course:

GEOG 2275

Instructors:

  • Colin Mills
  • Wesley Regan

City of Vancouver:

  • Sarah Carten
  • Steven Johnson

Student Team:

  • Aiden DeJong
  • Anastasiia Smirnova
  • Apsara Coeffic-Neou
  • Ashley Tyner
  • Cleome Wilkinson
  • Jeremy Lai
  • Jeremy Scudder
  • Madelaine de Giorgio
  • Madison Strasman
  • Majka Pauchly
  • Marina Rodríguez
  • Matthew Sung
  • Christian Banac
  • Sarah Leung
  • Sarah Trouwborst
  • Teodora Eckmyn

Strategy:

  • Vancouver Food Security

Term:

Spring 2021

Summary

Corner Growth aims to improve food sovereignty in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) community by providing more food choices through affordable single-serve meal kits. Within the DTES, our partner was the Washington Community Market, a grocery store that provides food at reasonable prices. Because many of its patrons lack food storage space, it acts like a community pantry in the form of a corner store. Although this service is valuable, we noticed that there was a lack of variety in healthy food choices. Our meal kits are designed to be healthy, inexpensive, and easy-to-make for both the Market staff and its patrons. Through discussions with the market and the patrons themselves, our team has surmised that greater accessibility to healthier food options, combined with an accessible proximity to food, would benefit the community.

While the Washington Community Market currently exists as one unit, we also propose that multiple Markets be placed across the DTES to provide wider access to a demographic of people who exhibit a range of mobility issues. The Community Impact Real Estate Society (CIRES), who recently acquired the Washington Community Market, has a variety of vacant storefronts that could be used. The existence of multiple storefronts (as opposed to one expanded store) would provide the community with access to affordable groceries without the need of residents to travel far. We surveyed some of the Market’s patrons and found that most of them travel an average of 10 minutes to reach the store, with commute times ranging from 30 seconds to 30 minutes. Ideally, we would like patrons to travel no more than 15 minutes, a benchmark inspired by the 15-minute-city concept from urban design. Another reason for multiple, smaller stores is that this would more likely preserve the personalized, welcoming atmosphere that patrons appreciate.