Network Meeting Summary

October 2, 2019

Community Spotlight ~ Food Hub Meet & Greet
The evening started with questions from Mount Paul Community Food Centre and Kamloops Food Policy Council, followed by questions from the floor. Terry Lake – Liberal (TL), Iain Currie – Green (IC), and Kira Cheeseborough – Animal Protection Party (KC) joined us to speak to how their parties address food related issues.

Access to healthy, culturally appropriate food
TL – Feeding a global community is a very challenging thing. Innovations in food production have kept up but some practices are environmentally damaging/detrimental. It’s important to focus on sustainability of food production, utilizing resources in the best economic way. Supportive of food banks and the good work they are doing. Focus on local production, low cost healthy food and work to reduce the stigma of needing to access the food bank.

IC – The Green Party plans to partner with the provinces to create guaranteed livable income, which would help to address poverty and food insecurity. It’s concerning that we still need food banks and it’s something the government should help out with. It is a human right to have food security. Don’t talk about band-aids, we need to solve the problem.

KC – Having lived experience with food insecurity, reforming the current food systems is key (e.g., animal agriculture is environmentally destructive). Phasing away from animal agriculture and removing dairy from diet will be key. Animal Protection Party also looks at universal basic income to help people access nutritious fruit and vegetables. Require retailers to donate food to food banks and emergency food providers.

What priorities from the National Food Policy does your party address? What do you think is missing from this list?
TL – Incentivizing innovation and technology in Northern areas is essential. Universal basic income and affordable food would also increase access to healthy food for people.

IC – The national school lunch program, an already existing program, could be funded more through the federal government, which would be a win (agriculture sector) – win (health outcomes) – win (educational outcomes) situation. Something that is missing from the National Food Policy is greening the food system and policies, moving away from industrial agriculture to local, organic agriculture. The Green Party has a two-page platform on food security.

KC – Prioritizing food access and mandating grocers to donate to food banks would be key priorities. Something that is missing is rather than growing food to feed 58 billion animals for human diets, we need to phase out animal agriculture to feed humans directly.

Would you ask your party to embed cost sharing for the universal healthy school food program AND fund it?
KC – It’s so important for schools to teach growing and cooking food. Yes and yes.

IC – Yes and yes.

TL – Was a part of the provincial government that brought in Farmers’ Market coupon program. Prioritizing funding for school food program would happen. It’s key to educate youth regarding healthy, nutritious food.

How would you speed up the process to prohibit neonicotinoids from use?
TL – Pollinator colony collapse is a concern and needs a lot of research quickly. Led by evidence in decision-making, there is a platform to review Canadian Environmental Protection Agency management process.

IC – Precautionary principle would be brought in here: banning use of neonicotinoids until research proves it’s safe. Although there is not a neonic ban in the Green Party platform, Iain would push the Greens and parliament to use the precautionary principle.

KC – Animal Protection Party has nothing specific to neonicotinoids, however they do have something regarding biocyclic agriculture: organic agriculture that uses no animal products or pesticides. Banning neonics would fit into this.

Food insecurity is reduced if rental housing is lowered. How does your party propose to make rental housing accessible/affordable?
IC – Reintroduce policy from the 70’s/80’s to encourage rentals through CMHC lower cost financing to co-op housing and approve more suites/rental units.

TL – The federal Liberal Party has been investing in people through the Child Household Tax Benefit and a national household strategy. As a society, we need to destigmatize that renting is bad, encourage building of rental housing, and incentivize increasing rentals.

KC – Bring in rent control legislation, prevent gentrification, stop capital investors who are looking for profit over need, and subsidized housing for seniors, students, and those living on fixed income.

Indigenous food sources are at risk because they are not protected. What will you do to protect the undergrowth and wild food sources?
TL – Combine Indigenous knowledge with protecting natural land. One successful example is how undergrowth and mushroom harvesting was managed after the Skeetchestn Elephant Hill fire. This model could be exported across Canada.

IC – Root solutions: Indigenous sovereignty over land and food sources. Government can get out of the way of Indigenous peoples taking sovereignty over their lands and food production. Change forestry practices so that Roundup and clearcuting are not being used. Develop a national forestry strategy and take seriously Indigenous sovereignty over food.

KC – Return land sovereignty to Indigenous peoples. The current government is from a system of colonizing and eradicating peoples from homes. Need to stop extractive industries (forestry, mining, pipelines) and pesticide use, and work alongside Indigenous peoples to protect 50% of land and coastal areas. Freeing up land by moving away from animal agriculture and returning to Indigenous peoples.

Terry Lake, if I vote for you, how would you be different than what happened under Christy Clark’s government?
TL – During that time in provincial government, I advocated for increased income assistance as this was a coalition of Liberals and Conservatives. Over the last two years, I’ve been working to prevent opioid deaths. I believe in free enterprise and also helping vulnerable people. I re-entered politics to help. The Federal Liberals are working hard on truth and reconciliation.

We live in a rich country, but we are failing because everyone doesn’t have two meals per day. Many people have no income/no home. Medicine Hat houses everyone.
IC – Housing First Solution: properly fund housing; guaranteed livable income. There is a government responsibility to fix this and can pay for this with more taxes (e.g., a wealth tax, big business, remove oil and gas subsidy, tax on Facebook and digital communications). With this tax structure, government could finance social justice, mental health, and addiction.

KC – Housing first models work. Universal basic income and prioritizing subsidized housing would be key. Housing shouldn’t be on a market, but as a basic right, therefore prevent gentrification and capital investors. A profit driven society means some people are seen as more deserving.

Announcements
– October 16, Bowls for Souls, Fundraiser for Sensational Soups on World Hunger Day. Get your tickets on Eventbrite: $15 for the meal, $25 includes a handcrafted pottery bowl (donated by the Kamloops Arts & Crafts Club) that you can take home with you.
– The Big Edition, latest edition, was on offer at the meeting. An independent, commercial free newspaper that started in January that offers an alternative to panhandling. The December issue is all about food, so send in your contributions.

Upcoming Events – Save the Dates & Get Tix!
Check out our Events Calendar on the KFPC website. Help us to keep our community informed by posting events to the website calendar. Scroll down on our home page until you find it!

Who’s Who
Animal Protection Party
BC Food Security Gateway
Food Bank
Green Party
Harvest to Home
Kamloops Food Policy Council
Lived Experience Committee
Open Door Group Gardengate
PIT Stop
Thompson Shuswap Master Gardener Association

Next Meeting: November 6, 2019, 5:30 – 7:30
@ Mount Paul Community Food Centre
140 Laburnum Street
Food Hub Public Engagement

Chair: Deanna
Set Up: Alexis, Mike
Clean Up: Matt G.