BPL seminar talks veggies for Asian Heritage Month

May marks Asian Heritage Month, and an upcoming seminar at Burnaby Public Library is using Bok Choi to spark conversation on Asian-Canadians’ contributions to the B.C. farming industry.

The Hua Foundation, a non-profit organization addressing food security issues from a Chinese-Canadian perspective, will be presenting at All About Asian Vegetables, a seminar hosted by BPL’s Tommy Douglas branch on May 17. During the hour-long event, the foundation will discuss how to grow and purchase Asian vegetables locally, and different methods for cooking these vegetables. They will also provide background on Chinese-Canadian farmers in B.C.

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“In the 1920s, 90 per cent of the Lower Mainland’s produce was farmed by Chinese-Canadian farmers,” said Kevin Huang, co-founder of the Hua Foundation. “Then policy and racism tried to keep them out, but they formed networks (and remained in the industry).”

Huang believes the seminar is a way for the non-Asian community to learn how to diversify their diet while educating themselves on Chinese culture. In addition, the foundation will encourage buying locally-sourced Asian vegetables from smaller grocers, rather than imports from chains such as T & T Supermarket.   

“As a new immigrant myself, there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to learn about the local food system, especially through a cultural lens,” he said. “There’s a knowledge gap and missed opportunities when we don’t talk about the cultural contributions (to our food system).”

All About Asian Vegetables is a free event, but space is limited. To register, call the Tommy Douglas branch at 604-522-3971.

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