Network Meeting Summary 

December 2, 2020

Introduction

The intention behind the December network meeting focused on “race and the food system” was to bring diverse voices up to the forefront and gain multiple perspectives to see where the strength of our community ties. The December network meeting is part of a series of network meetings created to facilitate a discussion around race and the food system. These discussions have been attempted in the past by the Kamloops Food Policy Council but not to this calibre. Food is something that connects us all and regardless of our shape, size or race, we are disconnected. In this fast-paced society, we fail to have these important conversations around food. This was where our network members came into play. Having a resilient community of network members at the KFPC that has been together for 25+ years at the grassroot and organization level provides a huge opportunity to start this conversation. This preliminary conversation will guide further series that will dive deeper into how we view ourselves talking about racial caucusing, culture and normativity and intersectionality. The overarching goal is to create an anti-racism manifesto for the Kamloops Food Policy Council. The best approach is to gain insights from the community and create the manifesto taking into consideration different voices and perspectives.

 

The Facilitators

 Fauve Garson

Final year Master of Environmental Sciences Student at Thompson Rivers University. Fauve is currently studying the connections between race and inequalities such as class and race within our local regional food systems. Fauve intends to use the series of network meetings and network members to further expand her learnings.

Bonnie Klohn

Bonnie recently completed a Master of Art Education and is a part of a family that has been in Kamloops for 6 generations with ancestors from Scotland. They came from a place in Scotland that is called Innerleithen. Meaning the meeting of the two rivers. It is the meeting of the river Tweed and the Leithen river. The area is one of the major salmon bearing rivers in the United Kingdom. Bonnie feels a sense of responsibility as her ancestors are one of the first set of settlers to remove indigenous people from management and jurisdiction of their land. She feels a connection to the Salmon people responsible for the survival of that species.

Deborah Ogundimu

Deborah is a Master of Business Administration candidate at Thompson Rivers University, a plant based African immigrant with a cultural and spiritual connection to food. As someone who grew up with a farm in close proximity, immigrating to a country with a different food system and a lack of culturally relevant food has showcased the need to explore where the disconnect lies and how this gap can be filled from a business perspective.

 

Breakout & Jam board Sessions

The attendees were distributed into 30-minute breakout rooms to discuss;

  • What did your grandparents do for a living? What did they eat?
  • Where is home for you? What foods are associated with home for you?
  • Tell us about your etho-racial background. What do you know about its food system? Does it still happen now?

Afterwards, the facilitators hosted 3 Jam Board sessions to give members the opportunity to share their insights from the breakout sessions.

Insights on the Meeting

As a younger generation, we explored the foods that our grandparents ate and food associated with our history and cultures. The older generation put a lot more time into meal creation. There is a shortcoming with regards to intergenerational knowledge transfer for settlers and immigrants due to modernization, capitalism and convenience.

Historically, it was normal to prioritize food and the time it takes to prepare food. We are now in a “grab and go” lifestyle where the younger generation fail to see the importance of traditional food preparation techniques. The introduction of modern foods has helped to create a gap between what we traditionally pass on and what we now enjoy in our current lifestyles.

Capitalism through advertisement creates this instant convenient culture, an idea that convenience foods such as hamburger helper and craft dinners are a better alternative and a good substitute to the traditional slow food system. This has impacted our food system since the 50s. The network members discussed the externalities and how the modernized food system impacts the BIPOC community. The onset COVID-19 has brought to the limelight how the BIPOC workers and community are affected by the modernization of our food system. There is an increasing number of COVID-19 pandemic breakouts in factories where these convenient foods are produced. There is a strong connection between race and the industrial food system. There is an increasing amount of food deserts especially in the United States but also in Canada. Grocery stores are now replaced with fast food establishments like Taco Bell and food stamps are introduced in those areas. The members of the BIPOC community are encouraged through targeted marketing to eat from these fast food establishments. They lack access to culturally relevant and healthy food.

It is also evident that within those that are long time settlers, as several generations pass, intergenerational knowledge transfer has become less impactful. Food has become less ceremonial and traditional but more functional. Cultural food has been altered or even completely changed due to their immediate environment. It has become a fusion of cultures.

 

 

Wrap Up

Due to the complex nature of the topic, the plan is to continue to dive deeper on these conversations. We do not have a network meeting for January but in February, the goal is to facilitate a deeper conversation around culture and normativity. We consulted with Kyra Garson, a faculty member at TRU, who works in interculturalization to help facilitate a workshop and lead us through the conversation. Fauve’s thesis is on intersectionality concerning food and race. This could expand much further than food and race. The last network meeting on racial caucusing is to strengthen diversity, multiple perspectives and voices. This will help us create an environment to celebrate the BIPOC community and learn from each other.

 Announcements

  • Indoor Winter Market at Purity Feeds Greenhouse from 10AM to 2PM on Saturday. The winter market ends on December 19.
  • Mitch Ward, Migrant Farm Worker Outreach and Support worker. – There was a case concerning the abuse of migrant workers on local farms. Mitch has been supporting the workers for application for open work permits and pursuing some level of justice. Due to COVID-19, some migrant workers were on implied status as they could not return home due to the pandemic. This meant they could not qualify for employment benefits even though they had to contribute to the fund. Mitch fought with Service Canada and the worker got a full 30 weeks paid.
    • This sheds light on the challenges migrant workers face. There is a huge problem with inequality and race as those workers are systematically disentitled to federal benefits.

 Resources

Cory Doctorow – “Radicalized” Collection of Short Stories

“How Black Culinary Historians are Rewriting the History of American Food.” by Ruth Terry

Next Network Meeting

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Native Pollinators and Integrative Pest Management

Network Meeting Summary

November 4, 2020 

Elaine Sedgman and Kirsten Wourms educated KFPC network members, representatives from partner organizations, staff and contractors on Native Pollinators, Pesticide use, and Integrative Pest Management methods at the virtual November network meeting on November 4, 2020. The meeting kicked off at 5:30 PM with Bonnie Klohn, KFPC Finance and Policy Lead walking the attendees through a brief moment of guided meditation and territorial acknowledgement before opening up the stage for our first speaker, Elaine Sedgman, who delivered a 15 minute presentation and song to the attendees. Following the theme of the meeting, Kirsten Wourms also gave a 15-minute presentation, informing the attendees ways to protect native pollinators through Integrative Pest Management in the City of Kamloops. 

Elaine Sedgman

Elaine Sedgman is the author and illustrator of the children’s book “Osmia Lignaria Pollinator Extraordinaire” popularly known as “A Bee Named BOB.” There are over 20,000 species of bees in the world, 70% of which are solitary. BC is the most bee-diverse province in Canada as it is home to almost 500 of those species however, the popularly known species of bees, the honey bee is not native to North America. Bees native to BC include the  Halictidae “sweat bees”, the biggest family of bees worldwide, which requires open, accessible flowers. The Halictus Farinosus is the most common bee in Kamloops. The Agapostemon Texanus, green sweat bee, the Colletes bee, known to have a golden heart shaped face and the Perdita, comes out in the Spring and Summer. Bees in the Apidae family such as Bumblebees, which are popularly mistaken for Longhorn bees can be found in BC in the Spring. The Melissodes bees are known as sunflower bees as they are attracted to sunflowers and sunflower shapes. 30% of the world’s bees are solitary cavity nesting bees and are all in the Megacilidae family, also known as “hairy belly bees” as they collect pollen on their abdomen. They are long tongue bees so they collect pollen from bell-shaped flowers. These bees nest in hollowed out twigs such as elderberry and raspberry, snail shells and key holes. Osmia lignaria (Blue Orchard Mason bees) are native to North America. Only 1% of the world’s species of bees are social including Honey bees and Bumblebees. Bombus Fervidus is the most populous in BC and their colony size is about 200, lower than that of honey bees. The social bees have no risk of extinction due to human help however, the native bees are subject to extinction due to habitat loss and fragmentation as a result of modern agriculture. Almond orchards are a death zone as a result of increased herbicides and pesticides use. Other farming activities like ploughing and crop rotation limits the resources available to bees such as the Melissodes. In cities, social and communal bees such as Honey bees and Halictidae are known to thrive however, cities are a difficult ground for bees to survive due to the overabundance of lawns and pavements and lack of floral diversity. Plants treated with neonicotinoids are known to kill plants and affect bees. Honey bees deplete available pollen nectar, resources and displace native bees. Climate change has caused an increase in CO2 and a massive decrease in pollen protein required by bees and humans. 

Kirsten Wourms 

Kirsten Wourms is a Natural Resource Crew Leader for the City of Kamloops. Integrative Pest Management is a 5-step program that begins with prevention. Before prevention, all gardens and plants need to build resistance to pests. This is highly dependent on soil fertility, drainage, PH level, organic matter, irrigation systems, plant spacing and plant diversity. 

Step 1- Identification of Pest 

Many times, plants face environmental issues such as drought, flooding, sun scald and nutrient deficiency that might not be caused by pests. Plant, pest, and damage identification are required in the IPM process. This will better inform on the treatment needed to solve the problem (natural enemies & preventive measures)

Step 2 – Monitoring 

The most important step to understand the site conditions, locations, lifecycle, and weather. Record species of plants, counts of pests and beneficials and gross stage of plants in the area. 

Step 3 – Determine the Acceptable Injury Level 

This will determine the tolerance level. Eradication might be detrimental for beneficial pests and as such, we need to strike a balance between management and eradication.

Step 4 – Action 

Chemical control should be used as a last resort and after proper research and consultation. Cultural means of prevention such as plant selection, pruning, sanitation, crop rotation, and design should be the first step in the process of pest management. Physical and Mechanical means of prevention include screens, mowing and heat applicators. Action should be used in conjunction with monitoring as it informs on what lifecycle or season that certain mechanical traps can be used. Biological in the City of Kamloops include matching the pest with its natural predators through trials and 10 -20 year studies before released to ensure native pollinators are protected. 

Step 5 – Evaluation  

Evaluation helps to identify way to improve and assess the costs and benefits to ensure negative effects are minimized 

What is the City Doing? 

  • Pesticide & Spraying Reduction
  • Biological Solutions for Knapweeds –  Russian Olives, ToadFlax & Houndstongue
  • Hand Pulling  – Group “Adopt a Tail” for weed pulls 

Member, Staff/Contractor Announcements 

  • Farewell to Sandra Frangiadakis 
  • Farm to School is collaborating with SFU on a 3-year research project (evaluation framework) to engage schools and farmers in rural, remote and urban areas of BC to understand the barriers and opportunities for engagement and develop a better model for local food procurement and food literacy in farm to school programs 
  • Outdoor Farmers Market season ended and new indoor location at Purity Feeds (471 Okanagan Way, Kamloops, BC V2H 1G7). Saturdays from 10 AM to 2 PM until December 19
  • Glenn Hilke thanks farmers at the Farmers Market for takeaway meals and donations to the Loop/Meal Train
    • JUMP program taking a sabbatical from donation pick up from Farmers Market and requires an organization to continue. JUMP willing to train organization

Resources

  • Elaine’s Recommendations to the City of Kamloops. In the city of Kamloops, trees should be replaced with bee-friendly flowers as shade trees reduce bee forage 
  • From the Masters Gardeners Association:
  • A Bee Named BOB, Elaine Sedgman, Bee Stories Publishing, 2019 – Information about BOBs, Bee Nesting Boxes and Care
  • Mason Bees – Read More  Read More 
  • Natural Insect Weed and Disease Control by Linda Gilkeson.Read Here  

Next Network Meeting: December 2, 2020

The cracks in the food system have long existed however, the COVID-19 crisis and the impacts of climate change have emphasized how delicate our food system is. The challenges that surfaced following the onset of the pandemic brought to the limelight a highly centralized and industrialized food system susceptible to disasters. This raises a crucial question, “How can we move towards a food system that is resilient in the face of change?”

The Kamloops Food Policy Council is delighted to announce the formal release of a pioneering analysis that emerged as part of the Community Food Action Initiative funded and supported by Interior Health and Thompson Rivers University. Assessment of Kamloops Food System was spearheaded by Emily Pletsch and Robyn Mclean and executed in collaboration with the Kamloops Food Policy Council Strategic Planning Committee and Tapestry Evaluation and Strategy. The research was supported by the knowledge briefs prepared by nursing students Tina Schult and Shida Nyirenda focusing on systems change, emergent strategy, complexity theory, strategic learning, and Indigenous food sovereignty and decolonization. As a community, to move towards a system that is regenerative, sovereign, and just, we need to pause and reflect on where we are presently. The assessment provides a snapshot of the system, which will allow us to understand what to prioritize to make the biggest difference in the system, and to make comparisons and understand changes to the system as we move forward with this work. 

The value statements used in assessing local programs, initiatives, and organizations within the City of Kamloops were inspired by the mycelium theory of change drafted by the Kamloops Food Policy Council and network. Like a mycelium that requires a strong root network to thrive, we recognize the collective work of people in our network, striving to understand and develop solutions to challenges in our food system. This research has brought to the spotlight the remarkable work on-going in our community however, indicates we have a long way to go in meeting our vision for the food system.

The research identified two major gaps in the Kamloops food system: Indigenous food sovereignty and advancement of a sharing economy through food commons. Currently, food is seen as a resource or a commodity rather than a sacred gift and something deserved by all living beings. Indigenous lands are exploited for commercial gain by others (mostly settlers). For change to occur, a deep shift in the mindset of individuals and the community is required. This assessment serves as an onset for further research to explore the key questions posed and as a basis for additional funding.

 

 

The Kamloops COVID Meal Train was born as a solution to address food insecurity and alleviate the pressure on resources brought by the COVID 19 pandemic. It was established at the end of March, the onset of the pandemic as a volunteer-led initiative and a unique community/grassroots mobile food dissemination program. During this time, meal service agencies in Kamloops ceased operations as a result of shortages in capacity and the crucial need for volunteers to isolate at the peak of the pandemic that plagued the world. This presented a tremendous challenge as those who were most vulnerable were inhibited from accessing a fundamental human right, nutritious meals, and a place to seek unconditional support. 

The Co-coordinator of the program and previous board member of the Kamloops Food Policy Council, Glenn Hilke saw this as an opportunity to not only provide breakfast at a time when there were no meal programs available but to also expand to provide lunch to the vulnerable population. Based on his ties to the community and his work with the non-profit – Lived Experience Community, he defined the vulnerable population including not only those experiencing homelessness and those with lived experiences dwelling in alleys but those living in motels due to the inability to access housing as a result of the heavy costs & restrictions in the housing market. Seniors are also considered a part of the vulnerable population and the Kamloops COVID Meal Train has provided, with the help of volunteers and businesses, well over 30,000 meals to combat food insecurity in our community. 

Cynthia Travers, manager at the Kamloops COVID Meal Train and recently elected board member at the Kamloops Food Policy Council brought to the limelight obstacles and challenges faced by the Kamloops COVID Meal Train. As an organization and initiative created based on a model heavily dependent on donations and volunteers, the inconsistent donations and volunteers, the lack thereof to maintain 2 meals, 7 days a week schedule is even more arduous. The Salvation Army and Mustard Seed assists however, as a community we are responsible for bridging the gaps where there is lack. The COVID meal train does this by providing breakfast, lunch (& prospectively dinner) to meet this dire need in our community. 

How Can You Help?

  • The Kamloops COVID Meal Train is organizing a Barbecue and Car wash as a fundraiser 

When: Saturday, September 26, 2020 

Time: 11 AM to 3 PM 

Where: 405a Tranquille Road, Kamloops BC

The program’s success comes from the endless support and love of the community and the willingness of people and fast-food restaurants to donate time, funds, food, and skills to help those in need. The cost of each meal is estimated to be 75 cents and with more than 30,000 meals offered to the vulnerable population, it costs well over $20,000 to keep the program running. The Kamloops COVID Meal Train recognizes its passionate and highly knowledgeable  8-team drivers, who constantly absorb costs of delivering meals and community volunteers that spend well over 100s and 1000s of dollars out of pocket as a means of support. 

Moving Forward 

To make the program an initiative one that is self-sustaining, the Kamloops COVID Meal Train is involved in a monthly roundtable discussion with representatives from agencies in Canada. Grants and fundings are currently in the works. Glenn Hilke appreciates the current support of organizations, restaurants, and fast-food chains like Tim Hortons, Smorgasbord Deli, and the Kamloops Alliance Church for providing meals and a commercial kitchen. Other fast-food chains and local restaurants are also encouraged to donate a day’s worth of food per month to keep the train moving.

When the FarmFolk CityFolk mobile seed cleaner recently rolled through town, a couple of us from the KFPC were lucky enough to take part in their seed cleaning session at SSOL Gardens. The mobile seed cleaner is currently being toured around the province to promote commercial seed production and support farmers who are already producing seed for sale. This well-equipped trailer can be a game-changer for farmers thinking about growing for seed as the equipment it brings can produce commercial-grade seed in a fraction of the time it would take to clean it manually.

Seed sovereignty is an integral part of food sovereignty. In order to have a resilient local or regional food system, we need to be producing our own seed so that we are less reliant on large commercial seed companies and able to develop plant varieties adapted to changing local and regional climates.

Seed cleaning can be monotonous and labour-intensive work, but it can also be very relaxing and meditative. When you see that bucket of clean seeds – the finished product of your labor, it’s also immensely satisfying. And sharing the work with a friendly crew of helpers makes for a fun day on the farm!

The seed cleaning unit itself is a trailer that houses several interesting gadgets used in the seed-cleaning process including an air-separator, which uses suction to pull the lighter chaff away from the seeds. David Catzel, who built most of the equipment in the trailer, was on hand for our session at SSOL and was able to finely-tune the airflow for each type of seed, producing a very clean finished product.

There is quite a bit of manual preparation to be done before the plant material is ready to go through the separator. This is where the teamwork comes in. The more plant material that can be removed from the seed beforehand, the more effective the final cleaning will be. The mobile seed trailer is equipped with a sizeable collection of hand screens, which make the process easier.

On the day we were there, we helped clean two varieties of beans, six of carrots, ten lettuce varieties, and two onions. Daniela from SSOL Gardens figured the session saved her a week to 10 days of work and was way more fun than doing it alone!

David also facilitated a seed saving workshop for us while he was in town, which, unfortunately, we had to restrict to seven people because of social distancing restrictions. For those of us who got to attend, it was very informative and inspiring. One important takeaway was that although seed saving can be very scientific and particular with tons to learn about plant varieties, cross-pollination, and isolation distances, it can also be very simple. Many of our common vegetables, such as tomatoes, lettuce, beans, and peas are mostly self-pollinating and can easily be saved from one year to the next. And sometimes unintended cross-pollination can result in something new and different!

Thanks to David Catzel and Steph Benoit for organizing and facilitating the event and to FarmFolk CityFolk for making it possible!

 

Food Commons creates an integrated and amalgamated system for a community based local sharing process. It is a radical shift from the modernized practice of food production and commoditization to a traditional sharing economy approach that caters to farmers, farming communities, those that operate in the food system, and members of the community. It creates a grassroots network that connects people and addresses food insecurity within households and communities.

Food Sharing or Collaborative Consumption is not only exclusive to the service industry but is very integral to food security in our community especially following this pandemic. The sharing economy breeds a strong sense of trust within the community and helps those in need by addressing huge issues such as production, administration, funding, research, information, and distribution.

At the Kamloops Food Policy Council, we have several venues to promote the sharing economy – Common Gardens & Shared Kitchen. This encourages local food production, variety, equal distribution of food resources, and reduces food waste. 

 

In 25 years, we want people to recognize food sharing and local food production as solutions to the current economic landscape.

 

Food Literacy is referred to as understanding how to grow and prepare healthy and nutritious food through traditional means and understanding the impact of food on health, the environment, and the economy. As a community, we need to pass on the knowledge and know-how to ensure food security for generations to come.

As an organization, we promote education, food literacy, food sharing, researching best practices, and transferring knowledge within our network and beyond. We work with gardeners, farmers, institutions,  researchers, organizations, and community members & participants through common spaces such as our Butler Urban Farms. We have learned from community leaders on topics such as tree pruning, mushroom cultivation, growing microgreens, permaculture design, seed cleaning, and saving seeds. 

We encourage you to grow in knowledge with us and share with the community. 

 

 

 

Today, we focus on one of our core values, which is promoting indigenous food sovereignty by decolonizing relations and restoring ecological food systems. Food should not be seen as a commodity to be bought and sold but a sacred gift that should be accessible to all. 

We embrace traditional practices and cultural harvesting strategies and respect the interconnectedness of food people and nature. 

We ensure access to traditional land by returning it or creating indigenous protected areas and promote policies to ensure the sustainability of indigenous food systems for future generations 

We recognize indigenous legal orders, systems, and laws and work to minimize our impact on unceded lands, educate ourselves, and support an indigenous-led decolonization movement. 

 

 

Are you still with us? Today we want to celebrate another one of our core values at the KFPC: Economic Vitality and Support for Local Food Providers

At the Kamloops Food Policy Council, we believe in Local Economic Vitality through the Support for Regional Food Providers. We embrace solidarity over competition and profits. We believe we must protect our gatekeepers, farmers, producers, and workers who toil to feed us by ensuring safe and equitable labor conditions. By supporting the food and agricultural sectors, we can promote economic vitality and cater to the needs of residents, chefs, and institutions. 

In 25 years, we hope to see a community that supports food producers, processors, and distributors and enables them to expand to meet increasing demand. We hope to eliminate barriers for new entrants and provide the infrastructure needed to succeed and we hope to promote and advocate for policies and regulations that protect and promote as opposed to prevent. 

 

 

Today we want to celebrate one of our core values at the KFPC: Poverty Alleviation and Equitable Access to Food 

At the Kamloops Food Policy Council, we hope to alleviate poverty in our community through equitable access to health and culturally appropriate food. We hope to generate a food system in our community that is inclusive and diverse,  meets the needs of people from all walks of life, caters to people from different cultural heritage backgrounds, including those experiencing homelessness. We do this by working with urban farms in our community and gleaning from areas that are abundant to share with the community. This enables us to avoid food waste and address barriers to accessibility.