Kamloops’ Agriculture Plan: Provide your input!

The City of Kamloops is asking for input as they develop the agricultural area plan.

From their website:

“An agricultural area plan focuses on a community’s farm area to discover practical solutions to issues and identify opportunities to strengthen farming and ultimately to contribute to agriculture and the community’s long-term sustainability. Through public consultation, an agriculture area plan was identified as a priority of the Sustainable Kamloops Plan.

At this time, we are requesting your help as consumers, retailers and producers in the City of Kamloops to share your thoughts on agriculture in Kamloops. Public input is a necessary part of the planning process and your information will help guide the development of the Plan.”

There are three surveys available; one for consumers, one for retailers, and one for producers. An individual is welcome to complete as many surveys as are applicable to him or her.  Let’s take part in this project to make sure that our city has an Agricultural Plan that truly represents all its citizens – please provide your answers, and share the link to the surveys with your friends and family in the Kamloops area!

Click here for more information and a link to each survey.

Thank you!

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Food Security Questionnaire: Candidate Responses

We recently sent a letter on behalf of the Kamloops Food Policy Council to all mayoral and council candidates regarding their stance when it comes to issues surrounding food policy and food security in the region.  We asked the following questions:
1) What do you believe are priority actions for improving and maintaining the sustainability of all aspects of Kamloops’ food system?

2) What do you see as the responsibility of municipal governments regarding food security?

3)  Please describe an action that you take or have taken to promote food security in Kamloops.

4) What procedures does the City of Kamloops currently have in place to monitor the status of our community’s food security? Do you feel that these measures are adequate?

5) What is your understanding of the following terms: food security; food sovereignty; public produce; community gardens; community kitchens; urban agriculture?

6) What is your position on the use of pesticides in agriculture?

We received responses from two of the four mayoralty candidates, and thirteen of the 24 council candidates.  Below you can find a summary – for each candidate who replied – of the responses we received for questions 1) and 2), which we found to be most informative and relevant to the candidates’ campaign in this regard.  Hence, the list below each candidate’s name highlights key points from their response, and lists the items that he or she said they believe should be city council’s priorities when it comes to food policy and food security. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order. We hope that this information will prove useful as you decide how to vote on Saturday!
Please feel free to share this information with anyone you think may be interested. (If you would like to see all the responses just as they were written, e-mail us at kamloopsfoodpolicy@gmail.com and we can send them to you.)
Happy voting!!
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Mayoral Candidates:
Brian Alexander
     “The Government’s responsibility is to serve the people’s needs, and listen to the people’s voices!”
  • Move away from food distribution on the corporate world market
  • Take action against anything that could be harmful to city’s residents
  • Put power in the hands of residents with programs such as community gardens
Dieter Dudy
    “For us to sit idly by while members of our community have no idea where their next meal is coming from is unconscionable. As a city we need to ensure that resources are in place that address these food security issues.”
  • Adopt a food security policy
  • Ensure resources are in place to address food security issues
  • Expand on existing programs such as Community Kitchens, Community Gardens, Food Share, and/or an agricultural plan that includes ensuring enough food is grown locally to address the needs of those who lack the resources to provide for themselves
  • Adopt a succession plan in local agriculture; ‘encourage young people to get involved in local agriculture by giving them easier access to arable land and providing initiatives to mitigate the start up and subsequent operating costs’
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 Council Candidates:
Nancy Bepple
     “As a member of […] council, I voted to adopt both the social plan and the sustainability plan of the City, both of which include food security as a cornerstone.  As well, as part of the same council, I supported hiring a social plan coordinator and a sustainability coordinator.”
  • Provide an affordable means for disposing of abattoir waste to make local producers more able to compete on the market
  • Put pressure on the Liberal government to make food production a priority as they revise the water act
  • Minimize urban sprawl by concentrating growth in higher density
  • Discourage the creation of ‘hobby’ farms which divide larger parcels of land (only councillor who ‘opposed to sending a letter of support to the Agricultural Land Commission for Tranquille Farms plans to create a 115 RV park on protected agricultural land’)
  • Ensure food security is clearly addressed in planning documents, as it is in the Social Plan and Sustainability Plan
Dino Bernardo
      “I believe municipal governments have a major responsibility regarding food security.  The provincial and federal governments play an important role, but we need to start this thinking and process at our level in concern for our citizens, and to put pressure on higher levels of government to implement change.”
  • Create a committee to educate the public and to devise steps for change that all residents can implement
  • Take responsibility to influence the decisions made by provincial and federal governments regarding food policy
  • Collaborate with local experts on the topic of food security to determine the best course of action
Donovan Cavers
     “As someone who grew up on a farm I believe in an ideal world local governments should ensure that the local region is capable of supporting the nutritional needs of its population. At the very least to have, as a priority guiding principle, the concept of food security and food sovereignty when issues of all sorts arise. (especially land use and zoning)”
  • Legalize backyard hens
  • When water metering starts, give exemptions on water use to urban edible gardeners and farmers
  • Promote community gardens – to the general public as well as in schools during children’s most exploratory stages of development
  • Explore the creation of a permanent or extended season farmers market, and give true facilitation to the ones already in existence.
Ken Christian
     “…I suppose you have never done enough until you reach a degree of sustainability in food production, variety, seasonality, processing and storage capacity that matches our population.”
  • Maintain and preserve agricultural land through effective land use planning and land classification systems
  • Support local interest groups (ie. KFPC) and formalize their liaisons with the city council
  • Make civic properties available for community gardens and edible landscaping
  • Support marketing strategies year-round for local food producers
  • Support community kitchens for youth, lower income earners, seniors and nutritionally marginalized groups
John DeCicco
     “I support the work of the Kamloops Food Policy Council through the Kamloops Social Planning Committee, representation at City Council and project presentations.  I also support Community Garden grants and staff liaison to work with the programs.”
  • Support community gardens and farmers’ markets
  • Promote the 100 Mile diet and its use in City facilities
  • Support food distribution projects
Nelly Dever
     “I’ve been in the health and wellness industry for 18 years. A large component of operating Nelly’s Executive Fitness (12 years) is educating and promoting locally grown/organic foods for various health and sustainability reasons.”
  • Collaborate with TNRD, KFPC, Agriculture Committee, Health and Wellness Practitioners, locally owned food suppliers, and business owners
  • Educate the public – young people through schools, seniors through seniors’ facilities, and mid-aged population through the health club industry
  • Focus on factual nutrition education
  • Support soil conservation
Tina Lange
    “Council has a good understanding of food security and I believe as a whole that Council and City Hall have come along ways and will continue to expand their support of food security.”
  • Support Kamloops Food Policy Council
John Noakes
     “Food sovereignty relies on educating our citizens on how to effectively grow food crops.  A generation ago, more people planted vegetable gardens than what takes place now.”
  • Continue to expand community gardens
  • Turn unused agriculturally-viable land into crop-producing land – get unemployed youth involved with growing, and use crops to benefit their families as well as the food bank and New Life Mission
  • When water metering begins, give a special rate for people growing an edible garden
Chris Ortner
     “[Community gardens] promote a sense of connection and community. Kamloops has done a good job in expanding this concept, but should do more, where demand exists.”
  • Ensure there is a complete and up-to-date list of local producers available to all
  • Do a gap analysis between what is currently available and what could be made available in the local region
  • Provide incentives and do business attraction work (ie. through Venture Kamloops) to attract new farmers interested in farming opportunities
  • Follow through on recommendations of the Sustainability Plan
  • Oppose removal of lands in the Agricultural Land Reserve
  • Provide tax reductions on a proportional basis for properties engaged in food production
  • Support local meat plants where zoning and neighbourhood conditions are acceptable
Dennis Paget
     ” I am concerned about our food supply and support local growers as much as I can.”
  • Support the creation of a year-round local food market
  • Be further educated on food security issues
  • Encourage local growers to expand their market expectations
Peter Sharp
     “Kamloops has a great  and proud history of food production, with it’s extensive orchards, farms and ranchlands. There is no reason why we can’t enjoy a full range of safe, affordable, nutritrious and culturally acceptable food from our area.”
  • Support local food producers
  • Support an expanded version of the Farmers’ Market into a year-round venue
  • Support initiatives of Kamloops Food Policy Council
Marg Spina
     ” I am passionate about people  receiving the good food they need to sustain their health and lives through community garden plots, urban agriculture , edible landscaping, and community kitchens which now receive perishable foods from Foodshare.   This is Canada, and we need to feed everyone.”
  • Support local agricultural lands through zoning
  • Create a vibrant food policy based on sustainable practices supporting local producers through farmers’ markets and allocation of space within city limits
Arjun Singh
     “I offer these responses as a starting point for continued dialogue with food security advocates in Kamloops. I am certainly willing to grow in my beliefs on this critical issue.”
  • Create edible landscapes and community gardens, especially in the more fertile valley bottom
  • Support community kitchens
  • Support the health of farmers’ markets
  • Link Venture Kamloops more into promoting a local food economy
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Where do municipal candidates stand on the issue of food security?

 

The following is a ‘letter to the editor’ from our co-chair, Registered Dietitian Laura Kalina, outlining some of the important things to think about as we prepare for the municipal election on November 19th.

As our municipal election date draws closer, serious voters are trying to choose who they will vote for among the many candidates. There are plenty of opportunities to meet these people, all of whom deserve our appreciation both for their willingness to put their names forward, and for the hard work they put into their campaigns.  And there are many important issues and decisions that these people will face in the next three years. But how to choose among the numerous candidates for mayor and council?
Members of the Kamloops Food Policy Council (KFPC) have made the job a little easier for you by compiling some questions that you might want to ask candidates in order to assess their level of understanding and knowledge of the important issue of food security.

What is the KFPC?

Established in 1995, the volunteer organization emphasizes public education on food security issues and initiates concrete food system projects, such as Community Gardens. The KFPC acts as an umbrella, providing an opportunity for project and advocacy groups to co-ordinate their work.  The KFPC also acts as a forum where the experiences and insights derived from grassroots projects can be framed as policies for adoption by agencies, institutions and governments. One such document is the Kamloops Food Action Plan.  Anyone interested in food is welcome to attend meetings (dates and times are posted in advance at www.kamloopsfoodpolicycouncil.com)

What is food security?

A community is food secure when all its people have access to nutritious, safe, acceptable and culturally appropriate foods, produced in ways that are environmentally sound and socially just.

What is food sovereignty?

Food sovereignty goes even farther, in valuing food producers, localizing the control of food production, emphasizing education and skills; in other words, placing the control of food production back into the hands of all citizens.

Increasing food costs

Food costs in Kamloops (while still very low compared to most parts of the world) have risen significantly in the past few decades.  This is due to various factors such as increasing oil prices (which affect production and transportation costs, as well as increasing the cost of fertilizers, which are generally petroleum-based). Other factors are increases in natural disasters resulting from climate change (such as droughts, flooding, wildfires, and pest infestations) and decreases in the amount of farmland due to urban encroachment.

Sustainable, local food production helps secure a steady supply of food for the community. It also keeps a food system resilient in the face of global influences such as climate change and changing energy prices.  We need to switch to the 100 year diet (choosing foods grown in a sustainable manner) as well as the 100 mile diet (selecting foods grown as close to home as possible).

How secure is Kamloops’ food supply?

How does Kamloops stand in regard to these important issues?  Most Kamloops citizens realize that some members of our community are food insecure. Examples would be those who find it necessary to visit the Food Bank, or people who must rely on services that provide meals, such as the Pit Stop and the New Life Mission.

But in actual fact, very few of us are truly food secure — almost no one is as food self-sufficient as we were in the past.   It would not take more than a few days of blocked transportation routes, or serious fuel shortages, before store shelves would empty in Kamloops.  BC as a whole has gone from producing 73% of our food supply in 1985, to just 48% in 2001. It is critical that we provide more support for the agriculture sector in Kamloops and in BC. We cannot continue to lose our farmland to development. This is especially important in the face of climate change, population growth, and increasing transportation costs.

The City of Kamloops, in its Social Sustainability Plans, has recognized the importance of food security, and supports such initiatives as Community Gardens, Community Kitchens, and the Public Produce Project. But much more remains to be done and City Council members can exert considerable influence.

WHAT ARE SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK CANDIDATES?

The members of KFPC suggest that you ask candidates any or all of the following questions:

 

  • What do you believe are priority actions for improving and maintaining the sustainability of Kamloops’ food system?
  • What is your understanding of the terms food security, food sovereignty, public produce, community gardens, and community kitchens?
  • What is the responsibility of municipal governments regarding food security?
  • Please describe an action that you take or have taken to promote food security in Kamloops.
  • What procedures does the City of Kamloops have in place to monitor the status of our community’s food security?
  • What plans are in place that incorporate urban agriculture within the City of Kamloops?
  • What is your position on the use of pesticides in agriculture?

 

While voting for council members, voters should also remember that it is not a requirement to vote for eight candidates. Choosing only those whose knowledge and backgrounds you have thoroughly researched will help ensure their success. There is an old saying: “Actions speak louder than words”.  It is very interesting to study the nomination papers for the municipal candidates on the City of Kamloops website.  Take a look, talk to all the candidates, and then, on November 19th, carefully tick off a few boxes.

 

Laura Kalina, Registered Dietitian, Co-chair, Kamloops Food Policy Council

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Food Policy Best Practices

Part 2