5 Ways to Celebrate Meatless Monday in Vancouver

Granville Island Market Tour. Photo credit: Edible Canada

Granville Island Market Tour. Photo credit: Edible Canada

If June was a colour it would be green. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the annual global celebration of all things vegetarian – Meatless Monday – occurs in June.

According to the box gardens in my apartment building’s communal courtyard, all sorts of green veggies are ripe for harvest this month. Whether you love the crunch of rainbow chard or gentle spice of chives or the cruciferous, omnipresent kale, leafy greens mark the ripples of summer harvest to come: delicious fruits and vegetables like blackberries, strawberries, beets and carrots.

This year the City of Vancouver is joining the global call to give up meat one day a week.  According to the Vancouver Food Policy Council, a group of volunteer food advisors to the city, Vancouver will proclaim June 10, 2013 as Meatless Monday for our health-conscious city. We will be the first Canadian municipality to make such a proclamation. 

The city of Ghent, Belgium was the first city to participate in Meatless Monday as a city in 2009. Then, thanks to Sir Paul McCartney, various cities in the United Kingdom followed soon after. Stars and foodies such as Oprah, Giada De Laurentiis, Russel Simons and Michael Pollan have all signed on to go meatless on Mondays.  

So if you want to make like Oprah and worship earthy rouge beets or sugar sweet strawberries, look no further. Here’s a few ways to celebrate Meatless Monday in Vancouver on June 10 and beyond.

Sign up a vegetarian cooking class. The Dirty Apron Cooking School offers vegetarian cooking classes in Crosstown. Or looking to go a step further and take a class from Lovena Gaylide of Indigo Food on the basics of raw food preparation in Point Grey.

Learn to grow your own food. Each summer Van Dusen Gardens offers adult gardening classes on topics such as soil ecology, garden planning and the carrot family (I’m not kidding). Village Vancouver meanwhile focuses on providing grassroots info on how to compost and how to attract honey bees or other pollinators. 

Tour a market. By early June most Vancouver Farmers Markets are in full swing providing vegetarian market goers with everything from cook book swaps to garden talks. Granville Island is also a perfect place to buy ingredients for your perfect meatless Monday Meal. May I suggest local chef and Endless Meal blogger Kristen Stevens Vegetarian Thai Curry with Udon Noodles? Edible Canada, also on Granville Island, hosts tours of both Granville Island and Chinatown, helping veggies and carnivores alike find their favourite fresh ingredients.

Visit a classic. The Naam is a Vancouver staple. I’ve spent many a morning, noon and night at Kitsilano vegetarian mecca chomping down on their dragon bowl. If you’ve never been to this Kitsilano hippie-throw back, go now. It’s one of the Westside’s oldest vegetarian restaurants. And make sure you order something smothered in their addictive miso gravy. 

Mole Hill Community Gardens Photo Credit: Miranda Post

Mole Hill Community Gardens Photo Credit: Miranda Post

Hop on a bike and tour of Vancouver’s community gardens. Did you know that the City of Vancouver has over 75 community gardens? Pack up a picnic, gather some friends and start your vegetable-lovers tour-de-jardins in the WestEnd. First stop  at the Mole Hill gardens on Comox Street. Then, head east to Davie and Burrard Streets to check out the Davie Village gardens. Glide down Burrard to the seawall and cruise east along past the stadiums to check out the SoleFoods gardens. Cut north into Strathcona via Main Street and east on Union Street/Adanac bike route to end your mini-tour at the Strathcona and Cottonwood community gardens at Strathcona Park on Prior Street. Sit down, eat and breathe in the green splendor of June. 


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