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.