FED Spotlights: LifeCycles Project Society & Big Wheel Burger

Lifecycles Project Society

Long-time FED partner and member, the LifeCycles Project Society cultivates community health by connecting people to the food they eat and the land it comes from. They support our region in growing, accessing, and eating local food in ways that foster diversity and enhance our urban environment. We spoke with Lifecycles’ Administrator Mary Tooley on why it’s important to think globally but act locally when it comes to food security.

How does the Lifecycles Project support food security on Vancouver Island?

MT: No one should be going hungry because they cannot afford to buy food. We aim to put good fresh food into the hands of those who need it. We are in this way trying to offer food security to anyone who needs it.

How does urban agriculture play a role?

MT: Using urban space for gardening is another method of increasing food security, by helping to grow additional food in backyards and other green spaces.

Can an individual's garden have an impact?

MT: Absolutely! If you do grow food in your own garden, it not only helps secure food for your family but can help your community too. Bring any excess produce to us and we will distribute it to those in need.

What role do community gardens play?

MT: Community gardens enable those who wish to, to contribute to the amount of fresh produce available in the Greater Victoria region. They also create healthy and diverse ecosystems while building community.

Tell us about how your Seed Library initiative, in partnership with the Greater Victoria Public Library, can also help provide food security to the region.

MT: To strengthen our local food economy 90% of our food begins with seed. Seed libraries foster community skill and knowledge about saving seed- the foundation of our food systems. The Seed Library is a great way for hobby and beginner gardeners to share seeds and steward a regionally adapted seed collection. Together, we are supporting community self-reliance by providing free access to seed, gardening advice, and the tools grow (and share!) seed.

Photo taken from LifeCycles' website

Big Wheel Burger

As Canada’s first carbon neutral restaurant, Big Wheel Burger was founded on the idea that fast food didn’t have to mean junk food. With an emphasis on quality and using local food producers, they serve quality burgers, shakes, sodas, and fries through local, sustainable, and environmentally friendly resources. We caught up with Cook Street store manager, Dan Borowiecki to talk about real food and supporting local.

Big Wheel Burger is quintessential local eating. Why is it important to Big Wheel to source local foods from local companies?

DB: Sourcing from local food sources is important because it allows us to ensure quality and freshness, as well as cutting down on the amount of resources that go into mass-scale

farming such as transportation and storage. It also allows us to support our local economy, which is vital to the growth and health of our region. By increasing the demand for local produce, there is a natural need for a greater supply, making it easier for other businesses to get on board as well.

A huge part of your business model is environmental sustainability. Why is sustainability so important to Big Wheel Burger?

DB: We really strive to redefine the stereotypical models surrounding fast food, which have traditionally been synonymous with low wages, wastefulness and unhealthy food. To offset these ideas, all of our staff is paid a generous wage, we only use recycled and compostable products, and we use freshly prepared local ingredients when possible. By adhering to these values we are hoping to pave the way for a new era of fast food that can still be convenient for the customer, but will not have a negative impact on the environment.

You have FED community garden beds outside your restaurant. What benefits have you seen from having the FED gardens outside your restaurant?

DB: The FED gardens allow us to offset a small amount of carbon and provide fresh and free herbs for locals in the community. They also look very lovely, and are a wonderful addition to the outdoor ambiance of the restaurant!

Photo taken from the Celiac Scene's website

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We are absolutely honoured to be living and working on the traditional territories of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples, specifically the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, whose relationship with the land continues to teach and inspire us to this day.