On the first of this month our network gathered online for our December Network Meeting to discuss Community Food Action (CFA) in our city. With a number of new and familiar faces, Bonnie Khlon started our meeting with a brief discussion on the extreme weather events of this past fall and the importance of local food in climate change.

Our new communications lead, Krista Macaulay, facilitated the panel structured meeting where presenters shared and discussed food programs in Kamloops. Our panel included Mariana Guerra’s presentation of the Evaluation Plan on the Gleaning Abundance Program (GAP), Peace Jilani sharing her thesis research on the impact of the GAP, Serena Caner discussing Farm2School and the potential of school food environments in Kamloops, and Caitlin Quist & Kevin Pankewich presenting their Evaluation Plan on the Butler Urban Farm (BUF).

After the panel of presentations, attendees were asked to join the topic of their choice –  BUF, GAP, or School Food Environments – to provide adequate time to dive deeper into dialogue. Our breakout rooms followed the “what, so what, now what” liberating structure to reach a broader vision of CFA in our city, considering what is happening with food in our urban environments and what are the best steps for its continuation and growth.

The fruitful discussions looked at the current role of CFA in our city –  but really highlighted why food matters in Kamloops. Peace’s research on the Social Return on Investment of the GAP showed the numerical effect CFA has on food security and food waste, but also on the immeasurable impacts such as community building, emotional capacity and friendships. This theme was repeated in both the School Food Environment and BUF breakout room: where there is food, there are people. Where there are people, there are opportunities for connections, community development, and joy.

Looking forward, ideas were given on what more our programs could be doing. We discussed how CFA programs can grow, how to strengthen our outreach to wider networks, and what roles the KFPC can take on to lead new community food initiatives – specifically in school food environments.

The meeting concluded with a brief update from staff members of the KFPC on the brand launch of The Stir – Kamloops’ regional food hub and the exciting next steps towards doors opening in early 2022!

Thank you to our amazing panel of presenters and all who attended the meeting. Food has a deep purpose in our city, not only does it sustain us, but it connects us. We hope to see you all for our next network meeting in the new year on February 2!

We are hiring a Finance & Administration Lead who will work within the Kamloops Food Policy Council’s distributed leadership model.

The Finance & Administration Lead works collaboratively with Board directors, other KFPC employees and contracted project leads. The Administration Lead provides consistency and credibility for the organization by delivering core operational functions and acting as a key facilitator for the work of our Board and staff team.

The Kamloops Food Policy Council values diversity and is committed to providing an inclusive work environment. We are looking for qualified individuals at all job levels who represent the diversity of the people participating in the food system. We encourage applications from Indigenous peoples, individuals of all genders and sexual orientations, origin and ethnic affiliations, abilities, ages, and religions.

To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume to: info@kamloopsfoodpolicycouncil.com. Please combine both cover letter and resume into one PDF document labelled:

Last Name, First Name

Applications will be accepted until 11:59 PM Friday, Dec 31, 2021

Click here for full job posting.

The Kamloops Food Policy Council is grateful for their time as facilitators of the Kamloops Changing the Face of Poverty (CFP). 

At the wake of the pandemic,  it became clear that our food systems in Canada are fragile and can collapse in crisis. In March 2020, KFPC stepped in as facilitators of the CFP to support the coordination of immediate food security needs. Over the past 18 months we have learned so much and are excited to share our learnings with you! We welcome you to read our newly released report “Kamloops Changing the Face of Poverty: Learnings, Transition and Recommendations” written by Emily Pletsch and Bonnie Klohn.

We would like to thank the City of Kamloops and United Way BC for their support in this work and acknowledge Kamloops and District  Elizabeth Fry Society for their role in facilitating CFP previously and moving the group forward for many years. The CFP has played an important role in Kamloops for 15 years.

We look forward to seeing what emerges from these learnings and continuing to play a role in this critical work. You can find updated versions of the emergency meals documents, the final CFP report, CFP archives, poverty reduction updates, and the anti-stigma video: “Don’t Fight the Poor, Fight Poverty” on our new Food Security webpage


Seeing the empty shelves and bare fridges in our local grocery stores has been a surreal experience. First a global pandemic, months without blue skies due to wildfire smoke, and now extreme flooding and the destruction of intra-provincial connections. It almost begs the question: what kind of post-apocalyptic world are we living in? But really, this is life with climate change. 

The aftermath of the atmospheric river weather system left B.C. in a state of confusion, panic, and disbelief. The devastating loss of agricultural lands, infrastructure, and life has yet to be fully accounted for. But the recent highway closures and food supply disruptions demonstrated what food organizations like the KFPC have known for years: there are two days of fresh food in our grocery stores and what makes us secure as a community is a strong local food system. 

While the media and our governing officials (from local to the provincial level) attributed the bare shelves to panic buying and hoarding – creating a sense of panic and communal distrust – what we actually witnessed was the limited capacity of our global food system and its inability to handle stress. Our global food system relies on just-in-time supply chains, globalized shipping of food, and consolidation of production and aggregation facilities that leave us vulnerable to disruptions. As Bonnie Khlon, our Food Policy Lead says, “In these times of increasing climate disasters we need mutual aid networks, local food, and policies that support a huge shift to regional agriculture.”

Although the idea of a limited food supply is frightening for our city, we must focus on changing the current narrative of “us” vs “them”, towards meaningful action and change. Instead of looking at what we don’t have, it is time to focus on what we do. The mutual aid to carry us through this period of uncertainty exists. Our KFPC members have compiled a list of free food resources and community meals on our Kamloops Changing the Face of Poverty website. Additionally, we have created an Evacuee Support Post, helping evacuees navigate the resources available.

While the empty shelves showed us the gaps in our food system, it also exemplified our strengths. Amongst a sea of nothingness, Blackwell Dairy milk stood out as a resilient local food champion. Fresh veggies were abundant at our winter Farmers Market last Saturday at Purity Feed. We also heard from local food distributors such as FarmBound stating, “we got you, we have lots of local food and this is what we’re here for.” 

Strengthening our local food system can meet our regional demands regardless of interruptions or crises. Building local processing and manufacturing facilities like our local food hub, The Stir, allows us to process, preserve, and sell local food all year round.

City-wide policy changes directed by the KFPC have also positioned Kamloops to stand stronger when facing disruptions in our supply chain. For example, thanks to involvement from the KFPC, the City’s Food and Urban Agriculture Plan now supports more front yard gardens instead of lawns and allows up to five backyard chickens, seven rabbits, and – more recently – bee hives for detached houses. These measures and the policies come as a great comfort as eggs and other staples are in short supply in the grocery stores. 

To further protect ourselves from global events and climate disruptions, our food systems must become proactive instead of reactionary. This moment has given us time to reflect on the inadequacies of our global system, but it also allows us to reflect on our own personal choices. How much of our diets are reliant on our global supply chain? Are our eating patterns resilient to climate change? Should we begin to focus on eating local and in-season? Are there other technologies and techniques we can capitalize on to grow more climate resilient foods like microgreens and sprouts in Kamloops? While the pressure to move from just a consumer to a local grower, producer, processor, and manufacturer can seem overwhelming for the individual, we don’t have to do it all alone. The seeds towards self-sufficiency are sprouting and visible in Kamloops. Food sovereignty is what we work towards at the Kamloops Food Policy Council!

As our grocery stores pivot to different strategies to source food from the east and draw out new travel routes, the consequences of the disruptions caused by the atmospheric river system will be felt for some time to come. While we don’t know the long term ramifications, the general feeling of unease is apparent. Household inflation is already at record highs – how much more can the average consumer bear? Will household food insecurity rise dramatically in Kamloops? While we have so many questions, we can be sure that working towards food sovereignty – being able to feed ourselves from our own backyard – is the only long term strategy that can allow us to overcome the food, climate, and economic crises we are facing in the 21st century. 




We are thrilled to announce the release of the Kamloops Urban Foodlands Report! This report explores current urban foodlands practices and policies in Kamloops and aligns them with community visions and outcomes.

This report aims to understand what outcomes people in Kamloops hope to see from urban foodlands (not limited to growing food for sale), what policies could support those outcomes, and what barriers exist in reaching them.

The Kamloops Urban Foodlands Report is part of a larger provincial project that explored urban foodlands in Kamloops, Victoria, and Vancouver. This project aligns efforts across the three municipalities and uses the information gathered from each community to help coordinate urban foodlands policy advocacy across BC.

Read the Kamloops Urban Foodlands report here

Project Background

In 2020, the Public Health Association of BC, Kamloops Food Policy Council, Vancouver Urban Farming Society, and the Food Eco District in Victoria conducted case studies throughout their respective urban municipalities to explore current urban foodlands practices and policies and to align them with community visions and outcomes. A report was created to align efforts across municipalities to help inform the coordinated development of urban foodlands policies and practices across BC.

Read the other reports here:

This project was made possible thanks to our community partners ,Master
Gardeners, Permaculture Kamloops, Transition Kamloops, urban farmers, food social service
agencies, and Indigenous organizations. We’d also like to thank the Public Health Association of BC for coordinating the project and the Real Estate Foundation of BC for supporting this project. 


Our June Network meeting took place on 2nd of this month. Many familiar faces joined the meeting along with some new people. Bonnie Klohn our food policy lead and Emily Pletsch were the host of this meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss about the current situations or threats in the food system. We also paid condolences to the 215 victims of Kamloops residential schools. It is very devastating to know about small children who lost their lives. We asked the question, how are you reflecting on this news in terms of dismantling systemic racism today?
We were then sent to breakout rooms to discuss the two questions which were the base of this meeting. 1) What is something that you are pleased with in terms of where the food system is going? and 2) What is something that you are seeing that is more of a risk? Everyone had different views about these questions, but many noted that due to pandemic many people started growing their own organic veggie and fruits. This is a good example of people getting into growing their own organic food and having healthy home-grown veggies, which is beneficial for the food system of our communities.
We also observed that last year as the pandemic started there was an increase in growing food locally, but this year we saw that there are more plots in the community gardens which are empty, the reason behind this is that it needs more time, efforts, and hard work. As we can see that things are getting back to normal, there has been a slight decrease in the interest of growing organic veggie.
Another interesting view shared by members, included thinking about growing and supplying food locally as compared to regionally.
The meeting was concluded with the updates, from the staff members of KFPC on the facilitation of the Changing the Face of Poverty Meetings, the Gleaning Abundance Program, Butler Urban Farm, the Food Hub, as well as a food curriculum adult education roundtable held by the KFPC recently. We were also introduced to our new team member Manjinder Kaur Saini who recently started working at KFPC as administrative lead introduces herself to the network members. She also spoke about Farmer’s protest going on in India. Welcome Manjinder, and thank you to everyone who attended the meeting.

At our February meeting,  we were guided by Dr. Kyra Garson in looking at the stages of intercultural capacity and intercultural development, and at our April meeting, we added onto that by looking at layers of racial advantage. We were thinking about attitudes, knowledge, and skills and the many ways the intercultural capacity might be seen as a foundation or piece to think more broadly about other equity issues.

Equity is described as a state of freedom from discrimination and bias as well as a commitment to action for the process of a fair distribution of opportunities and experiences. Is about allowing each person to have what they need. It is access to fairness and justice essentially. We have to Identify what and where the issues are and then think about how we address them making commitments to distribute those access to opportunities and participation more fairly.

When we think about equity we also need to think about inequity. Inequity is the unfair distribution of material and nonmaterial access but also, it’s about how outcomes and experiences are different because of inequity. These outcomes are predictable by all these socially constructed realities like race, economic status, gender identity, etc. During this session, we focused on the race piece, but all these factors can intersect.

We must develop Equity literacy rather than just intercultural capacity. Both are related but Equity literacy is really thinking about making a commitment and this is both as individuals but also as an organization. For all institutions is to really think about and understand how inequity operates and how we in our sphere of influence can become a threat to inequity.

How do we both identify and eliminate the inequities and then begin to cultivate equity? Making a commitment to identify where that inequity is operating, how it is operating, and then begin to launch some form of campaign against it.

These different conceptualizations come from the Equity Literacy Institute. They have these four layers of racism:

Socio-historical racism- The way we are socialized to make meaning of race—ascription of inferiority, for example—is so deeply embedded in people’s psyches and normalized that it’s implicitly considered by many people to be the truth.

Institutional racism – The cumulative impact of racist policies, practices, institutional cultures, and ideologies within a particular institution or organization. The impact targets or harms People of Color while advantaging white people.

Cultural Racism – Constant societal messaging supporting white supremacy by sources that control the means of perception, such as broadcast media and school textbooks, feeding a sense of white exceptionality.

Structural racism – The full network and implications of patterns of racial advantage and disadvantage built into all systems and structures in society. These include, but are not limited to, the education, criminal justice, legal, judicial, and employment systems.

We went to breakout rooms to reflect on these four layers. How does all this work in food systems? What are the differences between them? Who might be advantaged? Who might be disadvantaged by these different layers of racism that are operating in our society or community and the organization?

We pasted the jamb boards to give you a picture of the discussion.

To wrap up the discussion, Dr. Garson mentioned equity literacy emphasizes to start thinking of all the “isms” that affect equity. For the purpose of this workshop, we were thinking about racism but we could also think about sexism, ageism, ableism, all sorts of “isms”. There is a need to shift this, recognizing and calling out that these “isms” are right there, ongoing cumulative impacts of institutional, cultural and structural justice.

At the second part of the meeting, we had a meaningful presentation by Stone Healy. The topic addressed was about the relevance of permission asking in traditional territories. How to practice the 4 R’s. (Respect, Relevance, Relationship, Reciprocity) and how these relate to the work of the KFPC on the Secwepemc territory.

To introduce us to the topic they talked about their experience on the Kamloops Pride Board and Pride Parade organizing. This led the discussion to reflect on who and how to ask permission when any activity is carried out in the traditional territories.

These were the questions discussed:

● If you were going to start a project on the land and wanted to practice using the four R’s, who would you ask?
● If you were going to ask someone for permission to start a project that would alter the and, how would you ask?
● Making a sacrifice- what is a situation in your life right now where you have power, what did you have to sacrifice to be collaborative with other people?


A chat with Rob Wright

We had a brief chat with Rob Wright, a Program Coordinator at Gardengate and a Kamloops Food Policy Council Board Director. Gardengate is a program operated by the Open Door Group created as a space for “healing and recovery for individuals living with mental health conditions and addictions.” 


The Gardengate Facility

Gardengate is currently building a new training centre and commercial kitchen facility to replace a 21 year old, 700ft space that hosts their groundbreaking program.  Planning and fundraising for the facility has been in the works for the past 10 years. There have been some delays due to the COVID 19 pandemic but the facility is close to completion. Following all installations, certifications and inspections, the commercial kitchen and training centre will be open to the public. 

“Growing food, growing futures. People always associate the Gardengate program with a garden but we always emphasize that for us, it is always people before product. Gardengate is a program first and the garden is a medium and vehicle to drive people there.” – Rob Wright



The Intention 

The intention of creating the facility was to open the door to a community asset and expand on community capacity. This facility expansion will provide employment and food sovereignty within our community. The training centre and commercial kitchen will be a place to cook and eat but most importantly, it will provide the opportunity for current Gardengate clients, food entrepreneurs and the community to learn, grow and develop. 


The Partnership 

The Kamloops Food Policy Council is partnering with Gardengate by investing in necessary equipment and upgrades needed to build the facility to offer clients, food entrepreneurs and the community the opportunity to co-locate. KFPC and Gardengate will be sharing revenue from renting kitchen space, processing equipment and storage space. 



The Opportunities for Gardengate

Partnering with the KFPC provides social interaction and activation for current Gardengate clients. It provides the opportunity for those enrolled in the Gardengate program to learn and observe from food entrepreneurs. Part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Gardengate is that any person or food entrepreneur that makes use of the facility will get sensitized on the Gardengate program. There may be the opportunity for clients in the Gardengate program to receive a form of paid employment through the food entrepreneurs. It is a good place for clients to have normal working relationships in a learning environment.



Network Meeting Summary

February 10, 2021

The February Network Meeting was part two of a four part series on race and the food system. The meeting was facilitated by Dr. Kyra Garson, Interculturalization Coordinator at the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at TRU. It was co-facilitated by Bonnie Klohn, KFPC Food Policy Lead, Deborah Ogundimu, KFPC Administration and Communications Lead, Emily Pletsch, KFPC Board Director and Stone Healey, TRU Social Work Practicum Student. 

What is Culture?

Culture forms our identity. For some, culture is particularly salient and for others, they draw from a blended model. In general, it affects how we function in the world and perceive things. When we think about culture and food, we often think about the food we eat. Culture as it relates to food, goes beyond consumption. Culture is a shared and often unspoken understanding within a group of people that creates meaning and a sense of belonging. Culture is learnt through direct instruction from families, socialization (schools, society at large) and observation.

Norms and Values 

Culture dictates communications, emotions, systems, social roles, authority and universal terms like birth, death and faith. These universal terms are dealt with differently due to cultural norms. If we understand our norms, values and orientation in relation to others, we can be effective when working across those changing differences. 

Culture is Dynamic 

It changes over time and generations. We move in and out of culture. We may move between our work and home culture but we have a shared understanding of what is accepted or a norm within a society 

What is Normativity?

The act of a society reinforcing standards and often that is the standards of the dominant group. It sets expectations on behavior. In an increasingly multicultural environment, this presents a challenge due to the multiple norms in operation. In the society, the dominant group tends to dictate the norms. In a settler colonial society, the settler colonial heritage is the norm. 

The Mindsets

When different norms are acting simultaneously, how do we react? We co-facilitated five breakout rooms to explore five mindsets in relation to other cultures. Our members provided a name for the different mindsets and listed advantages and disadvantages of each mindset. 

“The Bubble Mindset” People with the Bubble Mindset are said to be comfortable with the familiar and unconcerned with culture. People in this mindset maintain a distance from those who are different and wonder why people make a huge deal about culture. 

“The Archie Bunker Mindset” The Archie Bunker Mindset has a strong commitment to their worldview and distrusts cultural behaviour or ideas that differ from theirs. People in this mindset do not seek out the company of people from other cultures because they object to one or more of their unpleasant traits. 

“The Convert Mindset” People with the Convert Mindset have experienced other cultures that have made them notice imperfections in theirs. People with this mindset are known to be champions of other cultures and are alienated from their own culture. 

“The Rose Coloured Glass Mindset” People with this mindset know that people from other cultures are like them under the surface. They are fairly knowledgeable about cultural differences, customs and behaviors and behave in tolerant ways towards others. 

“The One Love Mindset” The One Love Mindset acknowledges and respects cultural differences. People with this mindset may not like everything about other cultures but they see how valuable those differences are to society. 

Next Network Meeting: April 7th 2021 

Join us as we continue our conversation on Race and the Food System!