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!



A chat with Kent Fawcett


We had a brief chat with Kent Fawcett, the Creator of Local Pulse. Kent runs Local Pulse as a sole proprietorship and credits his fiancé, Nic Zdunich as the mastermind behind the marketing efforts including the website, packaging and the famous Local Pulse mascots. Local Pulse was created to inspire the Kamloops community to make big changes in our world through little choices that begin with plant-based foods like Pulses. 

 Local Pulse is the anchor business for our HACCP (Hazard analysis and critical control points) ready processing facility for dehydration and packaging. We are partnering with Local Pulse to develop community based and social enterprise uses of the commercial scale dehydrator.



About Local Pulse 

Kent has always been passionate about helping people through his work as a researcher. He also has a personal connection to food as someone who had an eating disorder for over 10 years. Local Pulse was created as an amalgamation of those interests and experiences. He noticed that our actions and consumption has created adverse effects to our health and the planet. As a solution, he created a food business to inspire people to eat healthy and plant-based choices. Kent created Local Pulse to teach people the impact of consumption such as the human rights issues and questionable farming practices attached to sourcing food internationally, the detrimental effects of not consuming seasonally and the damaging effects of animal agriculture. A focus on food could solve a lot of problems. Local pulse is all about thinking big but doing small things to get a lot of people engaged.

“Rather than telling people that ‘you need to be vegan’, ‘eat plant-based choices’, ‘change your life’ or ‘you’re doing this wrong’ I simply say ‘here is some hummus, it tastes good.’ It gradually gets people on board to make plant-based choices to help themselves and the planet. Every choice creates an impact!” – Kent Fawcett



Why Pulses? 

Kent realized that pulses are highly nutritious plant-based sources of protein that he could eat without any guilt. Pulses can be grown in Canada and have the lowest water footprint of any protein source. Currently, locally grown pulses are not available in grocery stores to purchase. Pulses grown in Canada are exported to India and other countries. To fill domestic demand, the same pulses are imported from countries like Turkey. Through Local Pulse, the local economy can be revitalized. Pea protein is getting a huge boom and a lot of the growth is coming from Canada. As plant-based diets are becoming more popular, this presents a good business opportunity as pulses are the most sustainable protein sources. 

Pilot Project and Feasibility Study for a Regional Food Processing and Innovation Hub 

Local pulse was one of the 5 businesses that enrolled in market validation training and coaching during the Pilot Project. The training program made use of a model obtained from Kamloops Innovation Centre (KIC), applied to tech start-ups to mentor food businesses and entrepreneurs. For Kent and most food entrepreneurs, there is a huge amount of passion and personal interest in running a food business however, there is a lot of uncertainty as they are approaching the growth stage of their business. KIC assisted in focusing on the back end to ensure Local Pulse is sustainable in the long term. 



 Impact of the Food Hub to Local Pulse

The Food Hub helps to mitigate and ease the fear and risk associated with scaling a business. Kent got the opportunity to collaborate with a strategic advisor to create a business plan. He discovered that to scale, he will have to invest in a facility, equipment and employees that will potentially cost upwards of half a million dollars. The Food Hub acts as an intermediary to prepare him for the growth stage of his business. Through the Food Hub, he can simply rent a space, test the equipment and focus on value adding activities to push his business forward. When he started his food business, he realized that a facility of this caliber was lacking in the community. There are so many talented people and entrepreneurs that are part of the Kamloops scene. Through the Food Hub, food businesses will have access to a great resource he didn’t have while starting his business.


We will like to introduce Kent Fawcett, who will be taking on the role of Food Hub Coordinator. Kent has been a valued member of the KFPC network for the last few years, as the owner and creator of Local Pulse, a plant-based food processing business that was the second place finalist for Emerging Business of the Year at the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards last year.

Kent launched his career as a food entrepreneur because he sees food as a conduit to affect other people and our planet positively. Kent is skilled at product development and testing, winning the Bronze Award in Outstanding Product Development at the From the Ground Up trade show in 2020. He is excited by the opportunity to work with prospective food entrepreneurs to turn their dream products into a “made in Kamloops” reality. Prior to founding Local Pulse, Kent received his BSc in Biochemistry from UBC and worked as a Research Technologist at STEMCELL Technologies.

We’re excited about the expertise he brings to the table in terms of project management, developing food safety systems, business development and collaborative team management.