Established as a not-for-profit organization, the Kamloops Food Policy Council (KFPC) acts as umbrella to 20-30 food- related associations in our area. KFPC emphasizes public education on food security issues as well as supports concrete food system programs, of which Public Produce is one. Public Produce is part of Community Food Action Program of the KFPC.
The current Public Produce site is located at McDonald Park on the North Shore, on the perimeter of the community garden. There is a second Public Produce site on the corner of Elm St and Tranquille that is currently under construction.
In 2011, with the help of a City of Kamloops Social Planning Grant, KFPC brought Darrin Nordahl, author of “Public Produce” to speak to our community. http://www.darrinnordahl.com
Soon after, the first public garden (Kamloops Public Produce ) was planted with a small grant from Interior Health Authority on an abandoned city lot in downtown Victoria Street. This pilot project was extraordinarily successful because of community engagement. It was a program that the city residents embraced, either volunteering time and/or by donating services. Commitment ranged from the United Way Day of Caring by the Royal Bank employees, to the installation of an irrigation system by Painless Underground Sprinklers, to help from such diverse institutions as the Kamloops Regional Correction Centre and the Stuart Wood Elementary School. Master Gardeners have always been an integral part of the Program, offering advice and expertise as well as help with maintenance.
In 2012, The City of Kamloops initiated a permanent, accessible, non-gated organic Edible Demonstration Garden in McDonald Park on Kamloops north shore, a low- income neighborhood. Kamloops Food Policy Council (KFPC) has a Letter of Understanding with the City of Kamloops to care for the garden with volunteer involvement and to conduct educational workshops & seminars within the garden through its Public Produce steering committee.
As part of its sustainability plan, the City of Kamloops is committed to become a more food secure city. Public Produce gardens support the evolution of food security within our city. They diversify urban food supply sources and are critical to building resilience to food crises. Public Produce gardens also act as an educational tool within the community, demonstrating sustainable, organic techniques that promote a healthy environment.
In 2012, Public Produce grew with the City of Kamloops planting an edible garden in front of City Hall. But what was even more exciting was the initiation of the permanent, accessible, organic Edible Demonstration Garden in McDonald Park.
Building on the success of the Public Produce Program on Victoria Street, McDonald Park and City Hall KFPC/Public Produce has a strong volunteer base and high community interest. KFPC/Public Produce uses social media such Facebook, the Public Produce Blog and the KFPC website as well as print media.
KFPC/Public Produce has a communications plan in place and will have regular press releases throughout 2013, whether announcing a seminar on grafting, a work party, or to publicize the arrival of lady beetles that devour aphids. How exciting to announce the arrival of new fruit trees and have a community-planting day! Educational seminars are also advertised through the City of Kamloops Activity Guide and on its website. Pamphlets that contain a garden plan, description of the plant material, care and use of the fruit are part of the communication plan. Long–term public awareness in fruit and nut trees is certainly part of this plan. . The City of Kamloops is also available on hand to assist with environmental education and assist where necessary through their environmental services and sustainability departments.
Public Produce has access to the expertise of the City of Kamloops’ horticultural, media and marketing, environmental and irrigation staff, Interior Community Services Community Garden program, as well as expertise of the Thompson Shuswap Master Gardeners Association (TSMGA) whose mandate is to teach the public about sustainable gardening. TSMGA has been involved with Public Produce in Kamloops from its inception in 2011. The Public Produce garden at McDonald Park has set up a maintenance committee consisting of City of Kamloops horticultural staff, the City of Kamloops Active Living Coordinator , a Master Gardener and the Public Produce garden coordinator, who is also a trained horticulturalist. This committee provides direction/vision, evaluation and maintenance of the garden.
Public Produce is assessed on a continual basis through feedback from the workshops, as well as year- end evaluation with City of Kamloops staff. KFPC has a Letter of Understanding with the City of Kamloops, stating our responsibilities regarding the upkeep of the garden & provision of seminars and community education.
The Victoria Street Public Produce garden provided a suggestion/comment box, which The McDonald Park garden would like to replicate within the new kiosk.
In January 2012, at the 8th International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability conference, Robin Reid (Thompson Rivers University) presented a paper focused on the Kamloops Public Produce Program: Situating Sustainability in Place: A Case Study of the Kamloops Public Produce Program. Ms. Reid is continuing her research regarding the Public Produce Program. This world-wide exposure moves forward the idea that Public Produce contributes to a more food secure & healthy city.
KFPC has completed a Strategic plan for Public Produce which is posted on its website and has now commissioned Elaine Sedgeman, Master Gardener, with the writing of a “How-to Guide for Public Produce”.
Send us an email at publicproduceproject(at)gmail.com and find us on facebook “Kamloops Public Produce Project.” or Follow our blog: http://publicproduceproject.blogspot.com/