The Kamloops Food Policy Council has launched a series on food and the city to explore a number of deeper civic discussions leading up to our municipal election. As the late urban planner and Canadian food advocate Wayne Roberts wrote, “food is a lever.” Food is how we connect to the land, our communities, and our traditions. And because food is so impactful in all our lives, it is a useful lever through which we can create transformative changes in other areas. Strong local food systems can help us get to more affordable housing, walkable neighbourhoods, stronger local economies, spaces for safety and belonging, and more. 

 

This is the first post in our series. Subscribe here to stay in the loop about our ongoing food and the city posts!

 

Growth & Sustainability: Development for a food secure Kamloops 

*Portions of this post were published in the Kamloops This Week Connector Article. The condensed version of this article can be found here.

 

In January 2022, the provincial Agricultural Land Commission denied an application from Tranquille on the Lake to remove ~51 ha from the Agricultural Land Reserve for a housing development. This decision was welcomed by the Kamloops Food Policy Council, who had advocated against the proposal due to the loss of agricultural lands, expected harm to a sensitive ecosystem, and lack of acknowledgement for an important Secwepemc cultural heritage site. 

The KFPC envisions a local food system that is regenerative, sovereign, and just. This means we advocate for development policies that protect agricultural lands and support the food security of our community. However, Kamloops is also in a severe housing crisis, and the lack of available, affordable housing is causing many families to struggle to put food on the table. 

Unlimited growth, a mindset with deep roots in imperialism and colonialism, can lead to the devastating destruction of valuable agricultural land, sprawling expensive neighbourhoods, and car-dependent cities. Growth for the sake of growth isn’t automatically good. Yet, stopping all growth is a major contributing factor to our current housing crisis. Low development, NIMBYism, and zoning constraints have caused a dangerously low vacancy rate and a limited housing inventory. 

What would  “good growth” look like in Kamloops? Growth that is resilient, compassionate, and smart can help us thrive. Growth that focuses on the needs, desires, and intricacies of our community can help us become a better place – unlike growth that focuses on building as many luxury homes as possible in a quarter.

The KFPC is advocating for policies and action from housing developers and local government that encourages good growth, preserves our local food system and supports the distinctive needs of our community. More inclusive and economically savvy development – such as infill, multi-family, housing cooperatives and affordable rental housing units in our pre-existing neighbourhoods – are essential to increasing our low supply and meeting Kamloops’ current housing gaps. Housing that is net-zero, resilient to heat domes and flooding, and doesn’t expand the wildland-urban interface even further is equally important. Ensuring the right type of development is key to fostering the resilient long term health of Kamloops. 

 

(where do we grow from here?)

 

Growth in the face of an affordability and availability housing crisis

Kamloops is in a severe housing crisis. Our population is growing more quickly than projected, and our inventory and community vacancy rates are at critically low levels. We know we are in desperate need of more housing supply. 

However, not all development meets the current demands of our fast-growing city. Large single-family homes – like the ones planned in the recent Tranquille on the Lake Development – do not necessarily meet the budget of young families looking to enter the housing market as first time buyers or individuals or families looking to rent. Houses outside of city limits fall outside of our transportation network, and fail to meet the needs of single-parents or students relying on public transit. 

Expanding outside of current boundaries also brings higher social and economic costs. The majority of Kamloops’ elementary schools are over capacity. While building new neighbourhoods in the proposed areas such as Edinburgh Heights or Tranquille on the Lake expands our city’s boundaries, they don’t address the current social needs around public infrastructure. These new areas would require new schools, potentially diverting funds from pre-existing schools experiencing some of the highest levels of over-capacity in B.C

It’s important to note that expansive, luxury developments outside our core centre increase the demands on our city’s infrastructure and services, subsequently increasing our property taxes. A recent study released by Strong Towns and Urban3 found that development in car-centric suburban neighbourhoods produces a net negative to municipal budgets, and is subsidized by the net positive economic impact of denser, core neighbourhoods. These findings are similar to a recent study in Ottawa that found that low-density development costs the City of Ottawa $465 per person per year, while high-density infill development not only pays for itself, it leaves the City with an extra $606 per capita each year. 

KamPlan identifies projected growth for the outer limits of Kamloops. According to the current StatsCanada data released in 2022, much of Kamloops’ recent population growth is due to its expansions just outside the city’s limits. This “donut-ring” development is occurring on the edge of our city limits and other bordering communities. These new developments come at a greater cost: economic strain (increase of property taxes to supply water/sewer and new schools), social strain (increase of inequities in the community when first time home buyers, lower income families and students are priced out of the market), and environmental strain (loss of ecosystems, agricultural lands and weakened food security). 

Even as we’re so greatly in need of more housing – while lacking the infinite room to grow – we need to seriously consider whether this kind of development is actually meeting the needs of our community. Constricted by geographic and administrative boundaries, we have to be cognizant of the needs of and cost of development in our community. What direction are we growing? Can we use new development to create a more equitable Kamloops?

Growth in the face of climate change

The evacuation of Juniper, the complete eradication of Lytton, and the continuous blanket of smoke in summer 2021 revealed how unstable our future in the interior is with climate change. In the last several years, we have been faced with the impacts climate change will have on our communities in a very visible way. We need to prepare to experience more record breaking heat-waves and wildfire seasons, more extreme rainfall and flooding events, and greater impacts to our regional infrastructure. 

Proposed growth and new housing development must be as resilient to climate change as possible to ensure the longevity and livability of our community. Continuing to develop on the wildland-urban interface exacerbates the potential risks of urban wildfires. This increases the potential destruction of property and life, displacement of evacuees, and increases home insurance and strata fees for all. Building more density in our core neighbourhoods can help mitigate our risk and vulnerability to climate change, while reducing living costs.

The sprawl of our community beyond its currently defined borders also poses concerns for preserving both agricultural lands and sensitive ecosystems. Regeneratively managed agricultural lands and ecosystems provide valuable contributions to our community’s food security and overall well-being: locally grown food, recreational greenspaces, enhanced biodiversity, wildfire prevention, and low-cost sustainable infrastructure for stormwater management are just a few examples. These “ecosystem services” have economic benefits too, as the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative has shown!

We also need to ensure that any new housing we develop is both resilient to climate impacts like flooding, wildfires and heat domes, but also net-zero and energy independent, so it doesn’t further contribute to the problem. NexBuild Construction’s net-zero 4 plex on Schubert Dr. is a great example, and of course we love the shared garden space for urban agriculture too!

KFPC’s Policy Recommendations for Sustainable, Resilient Development and Growth

So exactly what type of regulations, development, or policies can ensure the resilient long term health of Kamloops, rather than developing ourselves into a corner? The following recommendations can guide us to a healthier, happier, and more economically just Kamloops:

  • Including more voices in development processes: We are calling for more deeply inclusive representation in development processes, such as:
    • An inclusive citizen’s assembly or public forum for dialogue to generate creative solutions to housing affordability and availability.
    • A YIMBY (yes in my backyard) campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of multi-family infill development and encourage increased density from secondary suites.
    • Inclusive long-term planning processes.
    • Public hearings that include other community members beyond property owners in neighbourhoods impacted by development proposals. We need to hear from renters, young adults who can’t afford to move out of their parents’ homes, single-parent families, etc. These voices should be encouraged and weighted more heavily given that they experience greater barriers to participation.
  • Flexible development guidelines, regulations, and zoning: We are calling for bold changes to our municipal regulations to support, encourage, and foster infill development and increased density in our core neighbourhoods, such as:
    • Removing single family zoning and adding density bonuses for all new non-profit, cooperative and rental developments, and for any for-profit developments that include additional community amenities.
    • Eliminating parking requirements for all new non-profit, cooperative and rental developments, and for any for-profit developments that include green transportation options.
  • Incentivizing good development: We are calling for the City of Kamloops to actively support creative and innovative models for increasing our supply of affordable housing, such as housing cooperatives and partnerships with local non-profit and for-profit developers. We also encourage our Council and City to advocate for Provincial and Federal initiatives to support affordable infill development. 
  • Protecting our urban wildland interface and agricultural lands: We are calling for greater protection for lands at the boundaries of our established neighbourhoods. Development on these lands must meet higher standards and account for the true cost of the loss of ecosystem services and increased climate change risk.
  • Development accountability and transparency: When development is considered in locations that would contribute to urban sprawl, we are calling for greater accountability and transparency about the full scope of impacts to our city by this kind of development. Our specific recommendations include:
    • Setting development fees at levels that truly cover the impacts and reflect the increased operational costs to the municipality over the long term (including schools, loss of ecosystem services, road maintenance, sewer expansion, and other services). 
    • Advocate to the Minister of Education and Childcare to implement fee increases for new residential developments to support public infrastructure, such as new schools. These measures can help foster equity into our taxation and development. 
    • Completing city-wide analysis of the economic costs and benefits of low-density vs. high-density development so the full scope of these costs are transparent to elected representatives and community members.

This list of recommendations is a living document that will evolve and grow as members of KFPC’s grassroots network engage with research and community voices on this topic. If you want to get involved in developing and implementing policy with us, contact us: lindsay@tapestryevaluation.com 

If you’re a municipal candidate and want to support any of these policies in your platform or to discuss further, please reach out to us: lindsay@tapestryevaluation.com

We are hiring a Stirfront Assistant to help us set-up, manage, and grow our community space at our food hub, The Stir!

 

The Stir – Canada Summer Job Posting: Food Hub Stirfront Assistant

Full Time position (30 hours per week)
8
 weeks – Anticipated start date: July 1 2022
Rate: 
$19 per hour

Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Assisting the Food Hub Manager to operate the public community space of the food hub.
  • Keeping the community space a welcoming location for community members and staff, including maintaining the seed library, people’s library, parklet and pop-up event and workshop space.
  • Performing regular cleaning duties and keeping the space tidy as needed.
  • Role may include customer service and processing transactions.
  • Assisting community members and the Gleaning Abundance Program Coordinator and Butler Urban Farm Manager with local produce pick-ups and deliveries.
  • Assisting the Parklet Project Manager with activating and maintaining the Stir’s outside community space and event and workshop planning and coordination.
  • Helping to run pop-up events and workshops.

How to apply:

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 labeled: Last Name, First Name

Applications will be accepted until 11:59 PM Tuesday, May 31, 2022.

 

Click here for the full job posting!

We are hiring a Kitchen Helper for our Food Hub, The Stir.

This is a Canada Summer Jobs position that is full-time (30 hours per week) for 8 weeks. The Kitchen Helper will help support local food processing in our community at our food hub, The Stir!

 

Details:

Full Time position (30 hours per week)
8
 weeks – Anticipated start date: July 1 2022
Rate: 
$19 per hour

Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Support the Food Hub Manager to oversee operations and facilities in the shared commercial kitchen.
  • Ensuring equipment and surfaces are properly cleaned between rentals according to food hub policies and procedures and documenting any issues or discrepancies.
  • Performing routine checks and documentation of temperatures and chemical concentrations using test strips.
  • Preparing and refilling soaps and sanitizing solutions and consumables as needed.
  • Performing regular cleaning and maintenance duties.
  • Working with the Food Hub Manager to develop, prepare and package dried and preserved food products using gleaned produce from our Gleaning Abundance Program and urban farm for donation to the food bank.
  • Learning to uphold a high-standard of food safety and documentation practices.
  • Acting as an ambassador for the food hub to food hub clients and assisting them with general questions about the facility.

How to apply:

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 labeled:

Last Name, First Name

Applications will be accepted until 11:59 PM Tuesday, May 31, 2022.

 

For more information, click here for the full job posting.

This month we are reading Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown. At the KFPC our work feels so joyful in the summertime when we’re busy building soil and growing food at Butler Urban Farm, harvesting delicious fruit and gathering with each other outside! With Pleasure Activism, we’ll have the chance to explore in a deeper way what makes us say an enthusiastic yes to our work. What does it feel like to acknowledge that we are microcosms of all the pleasure, justice and liberation in the universe? How do we make social justice the most pleasurable human experience? How can we awaken within ourselves desires that make it impossible to settle for anything less than a fulfilling life?

 

Content Note: this book includes frank and nuanced discussions about sex, sexuality, drugs and other adult topics. Youth members of the KFPC network are encouraged to engage with this book with support from a parent or trusted adult.

Where to find this month’s book

 

You do not need to have read the entire book to attend or participate. We welcome folks at any level of engagement. If you are not able to read the whole book, other options include:

  • Listen to The Pleasure in Liberation, an interview with adrienne maree brown by Below the Radar podcast
  • Listening to Audre Lorde reading Uses of the Erotic (essay published in 1978; reprinted in Pleasure Activism)
  • Attending the meeting with an open mind

Discussion

Discussion questions TBD

What to expect at a KFPC Book Club Meeting

Time: Book club will run from 5:30 to 7 PM. We’ll start a couple minutes after 5:30 to allow everyone time to settle in! If there is a robust discussion, we will continue on with folks who can stay, but at 7, we will say goodbye to those who need to go. 

 

Place: The meeting is on Zoom. If you have not already done so, you can register/attend by clicking on this link. If you are new to Zoom, or need support to access the meeting, please email info@kamloopsfoodpolicycouncil.com and someone from our team will be happy to help. 

 

Reading: You do not need to have read the entire book to attend or participate. We welcome folks at any level of engagement. 

 

Participation: We welcome your participation, and invite you to do so in a way that allows you to take care of your body and your mind. If you would like to turn your camera off, stretch, eat, move etc, that is very welcome. Using the chat to participate in the discussion is a great option, as is speaking to the group if you feel comfortable. We will turn closed captioning on, so you have the choice to follow along with a written text. 

 

Guidelines for gathering amazingly on Zoom:

  • Take care of your body! Cameras on if you want, but not required. Make sure to eat, stretch, move etc. 
  • Mute yourself if you’re not talking (hosts might mute you too if needed)
  • Use the “raise hand” button to add yourself to the speaker’s list 
  • Share comments in the chat at any time. 
  • Have pen and paper handy for notes and journaling 
  • Rename yourself with your pronouns and the Indigenous territory you are on. If you are not sure, you can look at native-land.ca

Book Options for Future Book Club Meetings

  • Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018).
  • Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower, Warner Books ed (New York: Warner Books, 2000).
  • Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor,” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 1, no. 1 (September 8, 2012): 1–40.
  • Patrisse Cullors, An Abolitionist’s Handbook: 12 Steps to Changing Yourself and the World.

Past Book Club Reading List

May 2022

Land Back: A Yellowhead Institute Red Paper

 

March 2022

Mutual Aid by Dean Spade

 

 

Don’t forget, register for July Book Club today: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcsf-qsrzkvHNemg8U0f8dSMt-zoPwdod5A

Our KFPC potlucks have a well-deserved reputation as the best potluck in town! When we gathered together last month, for our first potluck since the start of the pandemic, I took my first bite and almost immediately had tears come to my eyes. Don’t get me wrong – the food was incredibly delicious – but that first bite represented both the deep joy of eating together again and the two years of loss and struggle our community has experienced. 

What is a potluck? What do they do for us, as a grassroots network working together for a more just and resilient food system? Like adrienne maree brown suggests in Pleasure Activism, we are learning to make justice and liberation the most pleasurable collective experiences we could have, and I think our potlucks – the joy of sharing food and company with each other – have been a big part of how KFPC has worked together so effectively over the last 25 years. 

The pandemic has required us to make so many changes, and losing the ability to gather and eat together has been something many of us have grieved. But, we also experimented with new options, and had the opportunity to do some important reflection about accessibility, care and safety. We’re asking ourselves the challenging question: what can we do to create truly welcoming and inclusive spaces for our network? This is a question that applies to those who are at high risk from COVID-19, but also to those who experience other barriers to participation, such as neurodiversity, social anxiety, or financial barriers. 

 “We have the opportunity to emerge from this time period with an enhanced understanding of what it means to be good to one another.” (DanceSafe and Consent Culture Initiative)

Here are some of the evolving principles and practices the KFPC will be keeping in mind as we plan ways for our network to gather, learn together and collaborate over the next season of the pandemic:

  1. We think creatively about how we gather. We acknowledge that not every meeting or gathering format will work for the diverse needs of the individuals in our network, so we are working more intentionally to create different options for “meeting containers” to meet different needs. For the foreseeable future, this will include:
    • In-person potlucks, the first Wednesday of every second month. Our potlucks will be in a “picnic or potluck” format that acknowledges different comfort levels with eating together indoors. You are welcome to bring your own picnic, bring a potluck dish to share, or even to choose to eat at home beforehand – all choices are respected.
    • Online book club gatherings, the first Wednesday of every alternate month
    • Volunteer opportunities that are outdoors whenever possible
    • Workshops with in-person and online live streaming or recorded options whenever possible
  2. We organize our practices to support those most at risk. As Mia Mingus, a writer for disability justice and transformative justice writes, “Interdependence acknowledges that our survival is bound up together, that we are interconnected and what you do impacts others” (Mia Mingus). At the KFPC, we are learning how to act in solidarity with disabled people and communities. For us right now, it means continuing to be mindful of how higher risk members of our community can feel safe and welcomed to our network, and planning our practices around their needs.
  3. We practice consent culture. We encourage all of our network members to learn about consent culture, and start practicing consent-informed conversations that support safety, mutual respect, and boundary setting in many contexts beyond COVID-19. In a helpful guide from the Consent Culture Initiative, they write:  “We can never be 100% sure that being exposed to someone is safe without a negative COVID test result and sufficient quarantining, but we can have thorough and open conversations about our safety practices that are based on mutual respect, trust, and care. This kind of communication allows us to make informed decisions” (DanceSafe and Consent Culture Initiative).
  4. When we gather in person, we keep each other safe. We invite anyone attending our events to consider their responsibilities to follow public health guidelines and be proactive about staying home when you feel sick. We strongly encourage network members choosing to attend in-person gatherings to practice the layers of protection in the swiss cheese model (because we love a good food pun!), including vaccination, masking, physical distancing and hand washing. These practices are important acts of care you can take to keep others safe, especially those at higher risk. According to current public health guidance, we will not be requiring vaccine confirmation or mandatory masking at our events, but we do trust that if you choose to attend, you will take your responsibilities to each other seriously. To support safe in person practices, the KFPC has rapid tests and KN-95 masks available at no cost for anyone attending a network event.  
  5. We communicate transparently about our accessibility practices, and our limitations. We aim to provide clear and transparent information about each event, whether in-person or online, so that you’ll know what to expect, and can make informed decisions around your ability to participate. If you have needs that aren’t addressed in our communications, we hope you’ll feel comfortable letting us know how we can do better. We’re also actively doing our own reading and listening to people from the disability community who have generously offered guidance. We know we’ll make mistakes along the way, but we’re committed to growing and improving the accessibility we can offer.

If gathering in person with us is something that would bring you joy in these times, we would love to see you at our next network potluck on June 1! Be sure to join the KFPC mailing list to hear the details about our potlucks and other opportunities. 

 

(Written by Lindsay Harris)

We are hiring a Pruner/Tree Trimmer (Arborist/Horitculturist) to support our GAP this summer!

 

This temporary 8-week position (~30 hours/week) will work closely with our Gleaning Abundance Coordinator to help with harvests, pruning, and tree care/maintenance! 

The Gleaning Abundance Program (GAP) brings people together to help harvest our local abundance of fruit and vegetables and share it with the greater community. Produce that might have gone to waste becomes a welcome source of fresh food for many who might otherwise go without. The GAP runs through the summer and fall, organizing volunteers to harvest fruit from local trees and distributing it to community organizations like the Boys & Girls Club, Family Tree Center, and Salvation Army.

 

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 Sunday June 5, 2022

 

Click here for full job posting.

 

 

This past Wednesday (May 4) our book club explored the topic of #landback and the Yellowhead Institute Red Paper on Land Back. It was an evening of powerful discussions – and listening.

During the meeting, Dawn Morrison, Founder/Research Curator at the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty (WGIFS), gave an in-depth presentation on Land Back. She shared with us the Secwepemc Foodland Conservation and Land Based Healing Brochure – providing information on who the WGIFS is, what the WGIFS does, and the Cwelcwelt Kuc “We are Well” Garden.

 

If you’re interested in getting involved, this Saturday May 7th, the WGIFS Cwelcwelt Kuc “We are Well” Garden is having a work party! Happening from 9am to 5 pm, see more details in the poster below:

 

If you are interested in attending the work party and need a ride, please contact bonnie@kamloopsfoodpolicycouncil.com .

We hope to see you there! Thank you again for all who attended this past book club and Dawn Morrison for presenting!