July 25th & 26th, 2007

IDRC and SSHRC to support joint work by Canadian and developing country researchers
Social science and humanities expertise to be harnessed for international impact
Canada’s International Development Research Centre and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council signed an agreement today to invest up to $6.27 million over the next six years to support international research alliances. This partnership will engage teams from Canada and developing countries in comparing and collaborating on their research, while working with people in communities that will directly benefit from the research.

Farmers market eager to find investors
The Halifax Farmers’ Market is waiting for the green light from the Nova Scotia Securities Commission to launch a $2-million development investment fund. "We’d like to launch it now," said market manager Fred Kilcup on Tuesday. The province created CEDIFs, or community economic development investment funds, in 1999 to increase local investment in Nova Scotia business ventures. Investors who buy units in a fund can take advantage of a 30 per cent provincial tax credit; the fund’s shares are also eligible for self-directed RRSPs. According to the provincial government, 41 CEDIFs in Nova Scotia manage more than $25 million in assets.

Housing solutions
Alana Zubot and her three-year-old daughter, Morgan, face an uncertain future because the Little Mountain social-housing complex is slated for redevelopment. City officials say they’re addressing the affordability crisis, but the mayor’s critics claim that much more could be done. On a rainy day in mid-July, the politicians far outnumbered the tenants or the media for a walk around Vancouver's largest social-housing project. Tour leader Ingrid Steenhuisen, a resident of the 224-unit Little Mountain Housing complex, started off by explaining the consequences of the provincial government's decision to sell the sprawling six-hectare site near the corner of Main Street and 33rd Avenue. Steenhuisen was followed by nine elected politicians and candidates as she proceeded to a small townhouse occupied by Zora Sana, a mother of four and a refugee from Afghanistan. Standing in the front yard, Steenhuisen said that Sana had recently obtained Canadian citizenship. But Sana's family and many others would have to move out of the social-housing complex if BC Housing relocated tenants during the process of selling, rezoning, and redeveloping the land. "What we've been asking the city and BC Housing for is to bring in phased construction so that people can relocate on the site," Steenhuisen said.

Twelve green thumbs
The list of vegetables flying past as David Schwartzman gave a tour of the Healthy Harvest Co-op farm garden seemed never-ending: tomatoes, salad greens, beets, cabbages, walla walla onions, parsnips, peas, beans, bright lights chard, potatoes, and Italian sprouting broccoli. That doesn’t even get to the flower beds, where there are dahlias, sweet peas, lilies, marigolds, and nasturtiums. This six member co-op, which sells the produce and cut flowers at their farm gate and through two farm markets, consists of mentally and physically disabled gardeners. “Eighty per cent of the members must be on [BC] disability level 2,” explained program manager Andria Tetlow. That hasn’t stopped them from producing top sellers with their potatoes, salad greens and dahlias, and creating a farm garden that’s on the edge of organic certification. “They are not considered able to have employment,” she said. “But they can manage this. They do it all themselves.”