Network Meeting Summary
December 2, 2020
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.
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 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 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.
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.
- 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.
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