Globalization has played an immense role in the way that we cultivate and produce our food. The globalization of food allows us to experience different cuisines from all around the world.
It’s a luxury that is neither sustainable nor practical, and influences not only the way we prepare and consume food, but how we value and understand food. These four films by Andrea Cessna are aimed to critically reflect global food on a local level.
Food is universal. Food is culture. It’s ceremony. It’s life. Preparing food can be healing, meditative or a way to honor tradition. Food builds community and brings people together.
Affordable and reliable access to nutritious food also determines our ability to have a healthy life, and a healthy community.
A City of Food Deserts and Food Swamps
Saskatoon is a city of food deserts and food swamps. This first film traces its early history of and how urban sprawl has affected access to food in the central and core neighborhoods. In 2015-2016 two grocery stores closed within four months of each other — the Shop Easy in City Park, and the Good Food Junction in Riversdale. About 25,000 residents lost access to a walkable grocery store. A group of concerned citizens and community advocates responded by establishing the City Centre Food Cooperative (CCFC). After partnering with CHEP and the Community Service Village downtown, the CCFC now offers biweekly access to affordable, nutritious produce in the community.
The issue of food waste has recently gained international attention after France implemented a law requiring supermarkets to donate instead of just throwing away edible, unsold foods. In Saskatoon many struggle with insecure access to food. Marina Reimer is a local womanwho has lived part of her life as a ‘dumpster diver’, and offers critical insights into the social and environmental impacts of food waste due to geographical distance for food to arrive on grocery store shelves. She shares her experiences about the stigma associated to dumpster diving and the negative impact food waste has on our community.
Newcomers to Saskatoon and our Community Gardens
Newcomers face many challenges when they arrive in Canada, they. Establishing a connection with the land and community is often necessary for a sense of belonging in a new society and environment. This third film shows three of Saskatoon's community gardens across the city: Good Earth Community Garden, McEown Park Community Garden and the Saskatoon Food Bank Community Garden. Two newcomers to Canada share their struggles and experiences after arriving in the Bridge City, and the roles their community garden has played as they began their new lives in Saskatoon.
A Poetic Call to Action
The fourth and final film was a collaboration with two local Indigenous spoken word poets eco aborijanelle and Kevin Wesaquate. The poem is both a call to action on Indigenous food sovereignty and an addendum to the list of recommendations put forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, by proposing three additional recommendations to the existing 94. The film showcases Pow Wow and Fancy dancer, Sienna Waskewitch, in three different locations in Saskatoon, each of them symbolic.
The University of Saskatchewan admin building represents Euro-centric ideology, worldviews and knowledge systems.
The ongoing development of The Banks apartment complex in the Riversdale neighbourhood represents the settler-driven gentrification of inner-city.
The War of 1812 Monument by the river represents our government’s unfulfilled treaty promises The imagery of these places/spaces intend to represent the ongoing effects of colonization of what is now known as Canada.
While producing these four films I found myself frustrated and inspired at the same time.
Frustrated, because I was disturbed by how many people face food insecurity in a food abundant and producing province like Saskatchewan. It's an issue tied to socio-economic status and systemic discrimination.
Inspired, by the number of individuals, organizations and community groups that work so hard to change this situation. What I hope these films illustrate, more than the issues pertaining to food security, is how powerful and achievable change can be when we come together locally, to become leaders globally.
Andrea Cessna was born and raised in Saskatchewan, where she works as the Marketing and WOTS Coordinator at the Core Neighbourhood Youth Coop in Saskatoon and sits on the PAVED Arts Board of Directors. Her education and passion in visual anthropology led her to ethnographic fieldwork in India, visually documenting the effects of urbanization and globalization in a village. This evolved into an interest in producing films and documentaries, like these four.
Muskwa Lerat was Andrea’s collaborator, sound engineer and word-painter for these four films. He's a First Nations artist and producer stationed in Saskatoon, originally from Cowessess First Nation in Treaty 4 Territory. He began artistic pursuits young in The Unsatisfied Poets, a local hiphop group, and at 22 attended the Recording Arts Institute of Saskatchewan to focus on audio recording. He's a founding member of the Sound and Silence Collective, and continues to work with young, local musicians as a recording engineer.