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June 15th Italian Market & Pizza Making Workshops

11 Jun

ItalianMarket2018This Friday, June 15th is the first Italian Market of the season. These outdoor markets are held monthly in the parking lot in front of the Italian Cultural Centre from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. They have a distinctly Italian taste to them which includes the food and the music. At the same time you will see many favourite local vendors in the mix with food, produce and handmade goods. Running along side this Italian Market this Friday, with be Pizza Making Workshops in Beaconsfield Park located directly behind the Italian Cultural Centre.  You will have the opportunity to stretch and cook your own pizza with pizza master, Giueseppe Cortinovis, in their beautiful outdoor pizza oven.  This is a hands-on event that is suitable for all ages.  Two basic pizzas are being offered, but you are invited to bring or buy extra toppings from the market to make the pizza distinctly yours.  Cost of the Pizza Making Workshop is $13 online or $15 at the event.  There will be 4 pizza workshops starting at 5:00 pm. They will continue at 5:45 pm, 6:30 pm and 7:15 pm. To reserve your spot, visit the Italian Cultural Centre online.

ThinCrustPizza

 

Brews, Tunes & Tech At The 9th Annual Vancouver Craft Beer Week Festival

5 Jun

VCBW1

The ninth annual Vancouver Craft Beer Week Festival (VCBW) at the PNE Fairgrounds attracted thousands of craft beer and cider enthusiasts this past weekend. The two day beer fest capped off a 10-day citywide celebration of craft beer culture and community. But it’s about so much more than beer! VCBW is outdoor entertainment at it’s finest – live music, games, food trucks and over 100 craft breweries and cideries. Nine years in and VCBW has evolved from Canada’s first-ever craft beer week to become the most anticipated craft beer and cider festival in Western Canada.

For those who have attended a beer festival in the past, you’ll know that it’s difficult to keep track of which brews you’ve tasted, which you liked and which you didn’t – and the more you drink, the more challenging it gets. With more than 300 beers and ciders to try, VCBW offered festival goers an easy way to keep track on their website! On the participating breweries page, each brewery is listed, showing its location on the festival map, the 2-4 brews being poured, as well as giving users the ability to “favourite” a brewery. This meant that you could go through beforehand, choose all the ones you wanted to try and systematically work your way through the festival. If you’re like me and prefer a more spontaneous experience, you could have the webpage open on your phone, “favourite” as you go, and check back later to see which 6-packs you’ll be picking up for your next summer BBQ.

The festival had something for everyone, with extra beer tokens available for purchase and plenty of grassy areas to lounge with your crew, you could kick back with your kombucha infused blonde ale, lime and agave cider, sublime pineapple hefeweizen or beet juice pale ale and revel in the beginning of summer in Vancouver. And not to miss was the “crafts with Craft” tent where you could string pretzels on a string to wear as a necklace – providing endless snackage all while keeping your hands free to hold your beer.

By Contributing Writer: Nicole Alivojvodic

East Van Garden Tour Sunday, June 17th

30 May

If you love gardens, whether looking at them or working in them, you may wish to check out the upcoming East Van Garden Tour.  This is a self-guided tour that happens Sunday, June 17th. It’s a great opportunity to see what creative projects people have undertaken in their gardens and peak not just over the fence, but on the other side to see how people have used their garden space. Whether you have a home, patio garden or a community garden, The East Van Garden Tour is a great source of inspiration and ideas. If you haven’t participated in this event, previously, you purchase your tickets in advance. Then show up on June 17th at Figaro’s Garden Centre to obtain your map sometime after 10:00 a.m. After which you head off to tour the gardens until 4:00 pm. To purchase tickets in advance, visit Eventbrite, call Figaro’s Garden Centre, 1896 Victoria Drive or contact the Britannia Community Services Centre, 1661 Napier Street, in person or by phone 604-718-5800. Tickets are $15 each.  The tour is popular and has sold out in previous years, so we recommend that you get your tickets in advance.  People who attend the tour will also get a one-time discount to shop at Figaro’s starting on the day of the tour. Note: This is a very walkable tour, but it is not wheelchair accessible and pets are not allowed. To learn more who is behind the tours, visit Britannia Neighbours.

 

Italian Day On The Drive Sunday, June 10, 2018

22 May

ItalianFlag

One of our favourite community events is back, Italian Day which will be held on Sunday, June 10th,  This year’s theme is MUSICA.

 

Balla come se nessuno stesse guardando,
ama come se nessuno ti avesse mai ferito,
canta come se nessuno stesse ascoltando,
vivi come se il paradiso fosse sulla terra 
Dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth 

For Italian Day, Commercial Drive from Broadway to Grandview will be turned into one long piazza. Many of the restaurants will have outdoor seating areas, food trucks will be dotted along the stretch, live music will take place on several stages. As music is this year’s theme, we understand there will be a concert at Grandview Park with a 12 piece celebrity artist from Italy (yet to be named).  You can also expect Federico Fuoco, owner of Federico’s Supper Club, to put on a show to entertain the crowds as only he can.  There will be authentic Italian table food & wine samplings, European design with fashion and vehicle showcases, Little Italy Bocce court, food contests and many opportunities to experience food from a variety of countries as well as Italy.

Britannia Community Centre will be hosting an Italian Day Music Shaker Workshop in the Napier Greenway from Noon to 4:00 pm.  All materials are supplied. Everyone is welcome to stop by and participate.

Italian Day kicks off at Noon and the party runs till 8:00 pm. Just a reminder that vehicle traffic on Commercial Drive is blocked off, so it is best to take transit, walk or cycle in. For those cycling to Italian Day, we expect a Bike Valet will be set up again at 1st Avenue & Commercial, but this hasn’t been confirmed yet. We invite you come out and celebrate all things Italian. Italian Day represents the largest one day cultural street festival in Vancouver – and perhaps in Canada – drawing over 200,000 attendees of all cultures and ages.  Stop by and see some of the magic of this great street festival.

Panto Day At Hastings Racecourse Sunday, June 3rd

21 May

PantoAtTheRacesOne of our favourite shows at The Cultch is having a fun celebration on Sunday, June 3rd. The staff and the Board of Theatre Replacement and The Cultch invite you to celebrate five years of the East Van Panto. Hastings Racecourse we hear is generously providing their marquee tent right next to the track along with catering for 70 Panto fans.  On top of that, they will be donating $5,000 to the show.  Tickets to this family friendly event are a very reasonable $10 which includes lunch and refreshments.  There will of course be horses as well as a raffle and much fun, good cheer. Come make some new Panto friends. Note, there are only a limited amount of tickets available.  For tickets, visit The Cultch.

Social Enterprise: A Conversation With Elizabeth McKitrick, Second Nature Home

1 May

SecondNatureHomeLocal writer, Maryam Khezrzadeh, recently prepared a feature on the platform, Medium.  Her article was on a local business, Second Nature Home, which is also a social enterprise.  With Maryam’s permission, we have set out her article below. Social enterprises are noble undertakings, but they need to be profitable as well to survive and finding that balance is important and we want to see these businesses succeed.  Without further ado, Maryam’s feature:

People don’t buy from a business just because it is doing something good for the society. So how do social enterprises succeed? How do they compete with the increasingly socially aware big corporations?

Elizabeth McKitrick is the founder of Second Nature Home Boutique, a social enterprise in the Trout Lake/Cedar Cottage neighbourhood in East Vancouver.

One afternoon, a few years ago, I entered the shop for the first time, expecting boutique prices for the boutique quality. But I was surprised! The well-made, beautiful pottery, linens, jewelry, woodwork, self-care and edibles were all priced comparably lower than same or similar items in other stores. What was going on? What a gem, I thought!

I became a regular and the shop became a place not only to refill soap and shampoo bottles, but also to learn about the city, the people who made the products sold at the store and the goings-on around the neighbourhood.

For the second episode of “Ten Minute Conversations”, I invited Elizabeth McKitrick to tell us about the boutique, its social mission and how it survives and thrives in an expensive city such as Vancouver. To listen to an interview with Elizabeth McKitrick, visit Soundcloud.

What is a Social Enterprise?

Most people are confused about what a social enterprise really is. A 2013 survey in UK revealed that only one in five people can correctly identify a social enterprise. Half of the public either thinks that a social enterprise relies on grants and donations to provide support to people (charity), or that the main purpose of a social enterprise is to return profits to individual owners and shareholders (traditional business). None of these definitions capture the essential nature of a social enterprise.

At its core, a social enterprise, has a mission to address specific issues within a society. The enterprise assumes responsibility to change an unjust situation for the better and sometimes even transform whole societies, and it does so by participating in the economy. It is this direct economic activity and the central steering role of a core mission, that marks a social enterprise.

This is how Elizabeth defines it:

A social enterprise is one whose social mission is just as important as their financial mission. So it’s on equal footing; you have to make a profit in order to be in business, but the profits are re-invested back into the business for the benefit of “all involved”.

There are a number of things that fall into the social mission for Second Nature. Elizabeth and her team are aware of the consequences of social isolation, and so they’re committed to make a place that encourages and enhances connectedness; a place where people can come and be known to one another, meet their neighbours and have a conversation.

The enterprise is also committed to promote conversations around the environment and how our ways of living and climate change might be related. Furthermore, the shop has equipped the neighbourhood with a soap refilling system to target plastic waste.

 SNHSoapStation

It is direct economic activity and the central steering role of a social mission, that marks a social enterprise.

The financials do terribly matter though. As we mentioned, people don’t buy from a business just because it is a do-gooder. A small percentage of people give a very high priority to ethical considerations (early adopters), but a significantly larger population, considers the ethics of a business only after everything else (price, quality, availability) is more or less the same. So a social enterprise, like any other business, has to find a way to provide good value.

Good Value: Price, Quality & Intrigue

The shop, purposely tries to keep its pricing low, because it is located in a mixed income neighbourhood. The majority of families and individuals in the neighbourhood, Elizabeth tells us, live on strict budgets. The way Second Nature manages to offer beautiful, local, handmade products at affordable prices, is by partnering with makers who are also in the same situation.

This co-dependent and co-development of makers and buyers, facilitated by a (not-greedy) social enterprise might just offer a fair equilibrium. The makers get all their costs covered and also receive 60% of the profits. The shop receives 40% of the profits. But the margins are moderate, not high. And sometimes even, the shop and the makers strategically decide to cut back on their margins to be able to offer certain valuable products that have longevity to them:

For example we have some linen towels that we bring in that are all ethically sourced, and they are pricy! but we do try to keep the margins down …we are not making 50% or 60% markup on them which we know some other stores are doing! (laughs) … you could use [these towels] for twenty years and wouldn’t have to buy another towel.

Elizabeth McKitrick (center) and Elya Bergen (right) inside Second Nature boutique.

It is not easy work to curate quality goods and maintain good prices. Second Nature invests a lot of time and effort researching and testing the products. It is the shop’s direct alliance with an army of local makers that makes it possible to not only test and filter goods more effectively, but also to offer a very diverse array of products. “And that’s part of the intrigue”, Elizabeth believes, “people come in and go, oh! I’ve never seen anything like this before!”

For Second Nature, though, makers are not just strategic partners:

We also encourage people to go outside … It doesn’t have to go through us. We encourage the expansion of the makers’ influence. We are about promoting artisans and helping them to be solidly supported, so they can continue making beautiful things.

But why is it so important to support local makers?

The Importance of Circular Economy

When you support a local artisan, you’re giving the money into their pocket, so that they can buy other local products. And it’s strengthening the local community in a way that would not ever happen. It’s very organic.

Locally owned businesses in Canada re-circulate 2.6 times more revenue back into the local economy than multi-national chains. It’s not only that local business are more likely to buy local services and products, it’s also that they employ people in the community and support local events, sports teams and charities. So money gets recirculated many times and in many ways within the community invigorating the local economy and making it grow.

Why Local? Infographic from BC Buy Local.

Elizabeth believes that the community’s understanding of this ripple effect has definitely increased in the past few years. “There is a desire to buy local”, she tells us. People are more aware of true costs of producing, consuming and disposal of a product and so are adapting new attitudes towards their purchasing. More people see paying a little more for local products as “investing in the life of another person or another family” and investing in a product that they love and are going to wear, keep and use for a long time. A departure from rapid consumerism.

Reprinted With Permission: Maryam Khezrzadeh

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