Food has a remarkable ability to bring people together, and we experienced this first hand during Neighbourhood Food Week this past September. With 17 engaging activities, 700 participants, 26 community partners and the dedication of over 60 volunteers, this week-long celebration of food and community left a lasting impression.
The festivities kicked off with a Potluck Picnic, where neighbours gathered to share delicious meals, painted rocks for the community garden, and enjoyed a friendly pickup soccer game in the green space. It was a heartwarming start to a week filled with culinary adventures and community experiences.
Up next was the Dyeing with Food Scraps workshop, hosted by Jamie Bowen of The General Bean (and BCA ARTS fame!) Participants learned how to create vibrant, eco friendly dyes from leftover food scraps, promoting sustainability and creativity in one fun session.
Following this was the Cooking Mexican for One workshop led by the talented Idalia Galindo. Attendees explored the flavours of Mexico while discovering the joys of cooking for oneself, a valuable skill in today’s fast paced world.
Kids got in on the action with a Bike-powered Smoothie Making workshop hosted by The Alex Community Food Centre. The event not only taught children about healthy eating but also showcased the power of teamwork, physical activity, and sustainability.
For those interested in the art of fermentation, The Light Cellar offered a Fermentation workshop. Participants learned the basics of preserving and enhancing flavours using fermentation techniques.
Nutrition on a Budget was the focus of another workshop hosted by Momentum Calgary. Attendees learned how to make nutritious choices without breaking the bank, empowering them to lead healthier lives.
A highlight of the week was the Seniors’ Breakfast by Leopold’s. The team from Leopold’s Tavern took over the BCA kitchen at the crack of dawn to prepare a breakfast buffet of epic proportions to build connection and show appreciation to seniors in our community. That evening, Melba Seto of Bowness Soapworks fame led a workshop in creating scratch-made cantonese wontons.
Food Insecurity was the topic at hand during the Let’s Taco ‘Bout Food Insecurity panel discussion featuring Julie Van Rosendaal and representatives from the Calgary Food Bank, Fresh Routes, and Community Kitchen. Attendees not only gained valuable insights but also savoured a taco bar courtesy of Bowness’s own Salt & Pepper Restaurant.
Elevenses Coffee Club has become a weekly ritual at the BCA, and it was a pleasure to welcome more guests for the special Food Week edition where we enjoyed a cozy setting to chat over coffee and snacks. Elevenses remains a perfect opportunity for neighbours to meet one another, catch up, and share stories.
The week also featured a sneak peek of Calgary’s Cooking with Community Kitchens Programs of Calgary. Guests were invited to watch the group in action as they worked together to tackle recipes and prepare affordable meals to take home. For those looking to make the most of their food budget, the Food Flyer Hustle workshop, also with Community Kitchens, gave tips to participants on the art of finding and maximizing food deals.
“Preserving Made Easy” was another popular workshop that took place at the Montgomery Community Association with Janet Melrose. Attendees learned the art of preserving food, a skill that not only reduces food and garden waste but also offers the opportunity of enjoying seasonal flavours year-round. While this workshop took place in Montgomery, more residents gathered for the Doc & Dine event at the Greenwood Village Dome. We filled our plates with an Italian feast and enjoyed fruitful discussions following the DESERTED documentary highlighting food deserts and insecurity in Canada.
The week concluded with the Food Fair grand finale which welcomed Fresh Routes, the City of Calgary’s Food Programs, and a wide array of local food vendors and resources to the BCA. Hundreds of residents came together to explore food-related initiatives, connect with one another, celebrate the winners of the Food Art and Bake-off contests, and enjoy a feast of bannock wrapped hotdogs and stew lovingly prepared by Simon House.
Neighbourhood Food Week was more than just a series of events; it was a testament to the power of food to unite a community. It provided a platform for neighbours to connect, share, and learn, all while celebrating and exploring food. As we look forward to future events and initiatives, we are grateful for all of the connections and experiences of Neighbouhood Food Week.
Most importantly, we are grateful to each and every one of you who attended an event, volunteered, or got involved as a partner at any level. Neighbourhood Food Week was the product of an entire community coming together, and we look forward to 2024!
Neighbourhood Food Week is made possible in part with support from the Community Hubs Initiative: A partnership between The City of Calgary and United Way of Calgary and Area, with Rotary as a founding partner, and the Arusha Centre Climate Action Grant.
Special thanks to the local organizations who partnered with Food Week at the Harvester level (mentioned in bold).
This June, all Bownesians were invited to share about their lives in Bowness through the 2023 Quality of Life survey (formerly Vital Signs). Since 2009, we’ve conducted this survey every three years to take a pulse on life in our community and take action on building a better Bowness. This report will be used by the BCA and other community stakeholders to shape programming for the next three years. Read the Full Report, and then check out the BCA’s Action Updates which will be updated online every 6 months.
• The majority of residents report having a good quality of life, with a small percentage expressing stronger dissatisfaction, particularly younger people.
• The Bowness community demonstrates a strong sense of belonging and engagement, with most residents participating in community events and activities.
• Diversity, equity, and inclusion are valued in the community, but there is room for improvement in addressing safety concerns and promoting inclusivity.
• Access to services is generally good, but areas for improvement include affordable housing options, access to healthy food, accessibility, and transportation, particularly public transportation.
• Safety is a significant concern among residents, with neighbourhood safety being a major focus.
• Mental health and wellness scores are lower compared to other attributes, including over one third of residents experiencing loneliness, indicating an area that requires attention.
• Local economy perceptions vary among different demographics, with men, younger residents, employed residents, and individuals with higher incomes having a more positive outlook.
• The natural environment is highly regarded with green spaces and parks being well-appreciated amenities, and a high majority of residents are concerned about climate change.
• Residents show interest in community-based learning, and value arts and culture, but awareness of programs could be improved.
Originally published in the Sep/Oct 2023 Bowest’ner. Interview and article by Logan Renaud and Teri Brown.
Danira Miralda and Edward Beltran are “Incipio Modo,” a Calgary based artist collective and this fall’s ARTS featured artist. We sat down with Danira and Edward for a beautiful conversation about public art, creating art in a partnership, and making a home in a new country.
Tell us about yourselves and your history with the neighborhood.
Danira: I was born in Mexico, but I came to Canada when I was a baby. We lived in Calgary for quite a few years, then in Ontario, and then back to Mexico which is where Edward and I met. I’m a sculptor. I can do modeling and have many different skills, but carving is my thing where I feel like I’m in my element.
Bowness just captured us. We love the nature around it — there are so many parks and a lot of natural places to enjoy. I’ve been here for 13 years.
Edward: For me, it’s been 11 years since I came from Mexico which is where I started my career. I have always been looking for a life in the arts, so I discovered my way into that. Life is unexpected in many ways, and one of those ways was meeting Dani and coming to Canada.
The change in culture was a big challenge for me at first. But now I find this place one of the most wonderful places in the world. Just a simple walk in Bowness shows me how much richness and beauty are in the people, the areas, the animals, and in everything.
Danira: Bowness has that “thing” you know? You can get lost in it.
Edward: And this is a great city to start something new that doesn’t exist yet. We can grow as artists and then have an impact here. We like to be close to people and learn about communities and the people that have come from different parts of the world. Then I ask, how can I integrate myself as an artist in the community?
So the community shapes you and then you get to create art that reflects and even shapes the community?
Danira: Exactly! We started out in Mexico City working on a public art project. We were in an old Japanese trolley adapted to be a sculpture studio. It was parked in front of a plaza there, and that was where we worked! We were part of the community there — there was a shoemaker, cafes, a gallery, and then us sculptors in the trolley. That gives us a sense of what shaped that community and how that community shaped us. That stayed in our mind and we had the desire to explore that further. And then we came here to Calgary and had the chance to make public art stemming from particular sites and particular communities.
Danira, you mentioned that sculpting is your element. Is that yours as well Edward?
Edward: For me modeling is like speaking, both mental and verbal. And I just grew up with that feeling. When I am nervous, I always carry a piece of plasticine to mold and help make me more sure.
“Incipio Modo” isn’t a person, it’s two people! How did you come to making art as a collective and what’s it like working in a partnership?
Danira: It happened in the trolley! Edward went to visit the trolley and found me there, and then we just started collaborating! First the idea or project comes about. We both go into our minds and we start to talk about it. Then if his idea pulls me in, I gravitate that way — but it’s always a back and forth until we find the best or most favorable idea.
Edward: We’re always looking at different elements and trying to take the best ones.
Danira: That’s what makes an idea strong — we’ve got to convince each other. The arguments have to be there, so you revise.
Edward: It’s very emotional too.
What does the name Incipio Modo mean?
Danira: We made up the phrase, but both of the words are Latin. It basically means, it all begins now, or everything stems from this point on. It’s trying to say that every moment is really an opportunity to start.
Edward: It’s about the constant present.
You mentioned your work on public sculptures. Are there any in Calgary that people might recognize?
Danira: We did the two giant spiders in Kensington, and another piece at Prairie Winds Park. We decided to create a seed pod because we saw that it was a gathering place for so many people who are new to Canada. Immigrating is kind of like planting — you’ve got faith [in the new life that you’re planting], and you do your best to water the seeds and place them in fertile ground.
Edward: It’s like planting your dreams and your intentions.
How do you stay tuned in and inspired as an artist?
Danira: A lot of what we do is simply feeling out loud. We go in and produce every day, so what keeps us going apart from discipline is just the act of connecting, and sometimes forcing yourself to connect. Even when you’re not happy or in the mood, that’s when you have to go in there and put those feelings toward making something.
Edward: I love hearing people’s stories and seeing other artwork. When I feel captivated myself, it blows my mind and it makes me want to participate in some way.
Danira: And then it’s being part of a community and asking what I can give to the community and how I can flow with it organically.
Edward: And then allowing the artwork to become a reflection of you.
Talk us through the art you have planned for Bowness!
Danira: When making public art for communities, we like to observe things like landmarks, physical features, architecture, even transportation. Then we try to intertwine those elements and create something.
We go for walks every day in Bowness, and as you know, you start to get to know the landscape. And as artists we’re always saying, “Oh, that log looks like a coyote!” Or “Look, lightning hit that log and it looks so beautiful inside!” So we saw all these dead logs around and thought, “couldn’t we carve them into something?” That idea turned into the plan of finding a huge log in Bowness someplace, having it transferred here to the BCA, then carving it in public to become a functional log that you can sit on.
And then we’ll have carving workshops that will go alongside. When you’ve got a material that you’re going to carve, it’s usually not the perfect block right? You’ve got to look at the material and look at the faults, otherwise it will crack and break. So you can’t just impose yourself. As an artist, you ask, “what do I see in this, and how do I release it?” It takes the material and the sculptor both listening to each other.
Video by Alan Fortune
Thank you to everyone who came out and took part at the Tall Feathers workshop honouring National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
Over 100 community members came to experience this day filled with ceremony, learning, art, healing, and connection.
A special thanks goes to local artist James Ziegler, Elder Harley Crowshoe, and every single volunteer who pitched in to make this possible.
“I loved all aspects of this event. I loved getting to learn and listen to the elder. I loved getting to smudge in the ceremony. I loved being creative and making a tall feather with people in my community.”
“I want to express my sincere gratitude for the wonderful opportunity you offered us to participate in this meaningful celebration, which once again brought us together to reaffirm our ties to the community, to our land and to our ancestors. I also want to extent my appreciation to other organizers, artists and participants for their kindness and bringing beautiful energy.”
The Landing at the BCA is open for business once again as your neighbourhood hang out spot and lounge.
Come visit Amanda during The Landing’s evening and weekend lounge hours for rotating taps, pub bites, and more! (Please note that minors MUST be accompanied by an adult during lounge hours.)
Daytime Drop-in at the Landing remains open to all offering pay-what-you-want coffee and tea, wifi, puzzles, games, and toys.
Check The Landing’s webpage for up to date hours.
Located on the 2nd floor of the Bowness Community Association (Elevator accessible – 7904 43 Ave NW)
Hour subject to change.
Learn more about Faces of Bowness
I grew up in Bowness. I moved out to Kelowna for university, but moved back when I was 28 to start a family and I’ve been here ever since. My dad went to Bowness High and Belvedere; I went to Bowness High and Belvedere — so I wanted our kids to go there too.
Bowness was a pretty cool spot to grow up and I just thought it’d a pretty nice place to raise a family!
I love the Bowness Parade and the Tour de Bowness. Just seeing the community come out… the involvement, the pride, the people who show up and contribute and donate and volunteer. You don’t really see that community spirit a lot and things like that really exemplify what’s special about Bowness.
I’m excited to see some of the new housing developments and new businesses coming in on Bowness Road. For a long time Bowness had a bad rap, so it’s nice to see revitalization and more young families and kids getting to experience the childhood I had here.
I did the corporate thing with Shaw for the last 12 years, but I just took a package there and right now I’m a stay at home dad. We have a one year old and a three year old. It’s very true how quick kids grow up, and I want to spend as much time with them as I can. I have a YouTube channel called McNallie money where I interview CEOs and talk about recent developments at publicly traded companies. It’s my creative hobby now full time job.
Bowness is a great place to grow up. I really would encourage as many people to come and see the park and the river and the bike paths. Everyone I talked to when I say I live in Bowness says “Oh, I love it down there! I want to move there but it’s too expensive.” There’s a lot of new stuff going on and it’s maybe not the Bowness that you envisioned from 10 years ago.
Learn more about Faces of Bowness
“I’ve lived in Bowness for like almost a year and a half now. I was working at Leopold’s before I moved here, and then it worked out that me and my partner managed to find a rental here. So it was awesome because I work in the neighborhood and I’ve really grown fond of it.
There’s such a strong sense of community here. It reminds me of that smaller city life that I grew up with in Saskatoon.
I still remember when we moved in and a little boy was walking home from school and he came and knocked on my door. He asked ‘Are you new here?’ and came and introduced himself. It was really sweet and I feel like you don’t see that very often anymore.
I was already familiar with the community, but it really showed that there is something special here.
Watching what you guys do here at the BCA has been really awesome. And I hope that there’s just more opportunities for connection and more ability to keep what’s special about Bowness really strong.” – Tara
The Tour de Bowness bike race and street is coming up this Monday August 7 hosted by our friends at Bow Cycle and Mainstreet Bowness BIA.
We’ll be representing the BCA with a tent at the street festival on August 7, and we need help running the prize wheel, handing out information, signing up new BCA members, and selling I <3 Bowness merchandise.
The street festival itself runs from 9am-5pm on Bowness Road (Mainstreet), and whether you can volunteer or not, we’d love to see you out at this great community event!
Click below to sign up:
Questions? Contact Laddie at firstname.lastname@example.org