Maurita Prato – Executive Director

Stay calm … and grow food! That’s the overall message of our new podcast series with our Executive Director, Maurita Prato as the host. This new podcast is about building community resiliency in the Comox Valley in uncertain times, through awareness, inspiration and empowerment of food systems actors globally and locally.

Each episode features three segments:

  • Awareness: Community Food Security News from the global to the local
  • Inspiration: Sharing a heart-warming story of community compassion and resiliency around food security.
  • Empowerment: An interview with a local ‘food hero’ and/or sharing any actions that you can take to create more food security in our community

“I can’t believe we are coming up to our 6th episode this week,” says Prato. “Right now, there is unprecedented interest by ​individuals and families to learn how to grow food​, how to preserve it, and to teach kids, and share with their neighbours. New food heroes are emerging everywhere. At the same time, local to global disruptions in the food supply chain is making daily headlines. For example, farmers in the USA with broken restaurant contracts are plowing under their crops and farmers in Ontario are dumping their milk. Holding both awareness and inspiration in a balance is key to successful community food security and that is what this podcast is about.”

In this week’s episode, we will hear more about the journey of restaurants more broadly over the last couple of months, and more specifically that of Atlas Cafe.
One of the hardest-hit industries over this time has been the restaurant industry, and through restaurants are currently in the process of reopening the lost revenues over the last couple of months, combined with the investment needed to reopen and the limited physical capacity of operation needed to be in compliance with BC’s safety rules means some will really struggle and some will not reopen at all.

Here’s a list of previously published topics:

  • Squashing Hunger with Lake Trail Community Education Society
  • Community Food Security – The Long Game. An interview with ED and Vancouver Island Health Authority Food Hub lead, Jen Cody of Nanaimo Food Share.
  • Local Food Flows into Emergency Programs. Interviews with Honey Grove Bakery, Hillcrest Farm and Forest, LUSH Emergency Food Chef, and LUSH Warehouse Manager.
  • Municipal Food Policy in the Face of a Pandemic and Grow Food Everywhere. Interviews with Aaron Topely, regarding Victoria’s current food growing policies, and Arzeena Harmir and Bo De Valle Garcia – discussing Comox Valley’s Grow Food Everywhere campaign.

We hope that listening to our Pandemic Podcast leaves you feeling more informed, inspired and empowered to take action, grow food or strengthen our local food economy for the good of the whole!
Many thanks to our production team: Jean Sarrazin, Rob Crowston and Alivia Veenstra. Rob and Alivia are from Wachaiy Friendship Centre. They also host this show at
You’ll find the Pandemic Podcast here.

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