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.

Food Commons creates an integrated and amalgamated system for a community based local sharing process. It is a radical shift from the modernized practice of food production and commoditization to a traditional sharing economy approach that caters to farmers, farming communities, those that operate in the food system, and members of the community. It creates a grassroots network that connects people and addresses food insecurity within households and communities.

Food Sharing or Collaborative Consumption is not only exclusive to the service industry but is very integral to food security in our community especially following this pandemic. The sharing economy breeds a strong sense of trust within the community and helps those in need by addressing huge issues such as production, administration, funding, research, information, and distribution.

At the Kamloops Food Policy Council, we have several venues to promote the sharing economy – Common Gardens & Shared Kitchen. This encourages local food production, variety, equal distribution of food resources, and reduces food waste. 

In 25 years, we want people to recognize food sharing and local food production as solutions to the current economic landscape.

Food Literacy is referred to as understanding how to grow and prepare healthy and nutritious food through traditional means and understanding the impact of food on health, the environment, and the economy. As a community, we need to pass on the knowledge and know-how to ensure food security for generations to come.

As an organization, we promote education, food literacy, food sharing, researching best practices, and transferring knowledge within our network and beyond. We work with gardeners, farmers, institutions,  researchers, organizations, and community members & participants through common spaces such as our Butler Urban Farms. We have learned from community leaders on topics such as tree pruning, mushroom cultivation, growing microgreens, permaculture design, seed cleaning, and saving seeds. 

We encourage you to grow in knowledge with us and share with the community. 

 

Today, we focus on one of our core values, which is promoting indigenous food sovereignty by decolonizing relations and restoring ecological food systems. Food should not be seen as a commodity to be bought and sold but a sacred gift that should be accessible to all. 

We embrace traditional practices and cultural harvesting strategies and respect the interconnectedness of food people and nature. 

We ensure access to traditional land by returning it or creating indigenous protected areas and promote policies to ensure the sustainability of indigenous food systems for future generations 

We recognize indigenous legal orders, systems, and laws and work to minimize our impact on unceded lands, educate ourselves, and support an indigenous-led decolonization movement. 

Are you still with us? Today we want to celebrate another one of our core values at the KFPC: Economic Vitality and Support for Local Food Providers

At the Kamloops Food Policy Council, we believe in Local Economic Vitality through the Support for Regional Food Providers. We embrace solidarity over competition and profits. We believe we must protect our gatekeepers, farmers, producers, and workers who toil to feed us by ensuring safe and equitable labor conditions. By supporting the food and agricultural sectors, we can promote economic vitality and cater to the needs of residents, chefs, and institutions. 

In 25 years, we hope to see a community that supports food producers, processors, and distributors and enables them to expand to meet increasing demand. We hope to eliminate barriers for new entrants and provide the infrastructure needed to succeed and we hope to promote and advocate for policies and regulations that protect and promote as opposed to prevent. 

 

Today we want to celebrate one of our core values at the KFPC: Poverty Alleviation and Equitable Access to Food 

At the Kamloops Food Policy Council, we hope to alleviate poverty in our community through equitable access to health and culturally appropriate food. We hope to generate a food system in our community that is inclusive and diverse,  meets the needs of people from all walks of life, caters to people from different cultural heritage backgrounds, including those experiencing homelessness. We do this by working with urban farms in our community and gleaning from areas that are abundant to share with the community. This enables us to avoid food waste and address barriers to accessibility. 

 

 

Our 25th Anniversary Promotional Video is scheduled to be premiered on Youtube on Sunday, August 23, 2020, and the countdown starts today!

At the Kamloops Food Policy Council, we believe in a resilient and adaptive food system that promotes biodiversity, soil health, and food security in the face of changing political and economic climate.

To derive this, we promote traditional harvesting methods that protect animals, land, water, and a system that properly compensates human labor.

We promote a resilient food system by advocating for policy changes, creating initiatives such as the Gleaning Abundance Program, and working collaboratively with farmers in the community.

Stay Connected on our other social media platforms to count and celebrate with us and tune into our Youtube Channel!

 

The Kweseltken Farmer’s & Artisan Market had its grand opening on Sunday, August 9, 2020. The celebration opened with Sage Hills Drummers and a special welcome song by Rosanne Casimir, following a welcome address from Elder Leona Thomas.

The event featured several guest speakers including Shaw Bonnough from the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, Dieter Dudy, the owner of Thistle Farms and a representative from the Kamloops City Council and George Casimir, the owner of Farm and Stuff and the Manager of Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Interior First Nations (CFDC of CIFN).

The project was created to support first nations communities and tourism in the region and will run every Sunday from 8 AM to 2 PM until the end of September 2020 at the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Powwow Grounds at 345 Powwow Trail.

It is open to all indigenous and non-indigenous vendors. For more information, click here

Peavey Industries awarded the Kamloops Food Policy Council $30,050 as part of the 2020 Community Agriculture Grant to support resiliency gardening, food security, and local food production, through our very own Butler Urban Farm Project!

The grant was created in response to the global pandemic and the need to support the vast and varied needs of communities in British Columbia and Ontario within a 300km radius from a Peavy Mart, TSC, or MainStreet Hardware Store.

The Kamloops Food Policy Council, through the Butler Urban Farm, has increased food production in the community and improved the well-being of groups and individuals.

The grant will enable the KFPC to install a teaching greenhouse, tool storage shed, and fund a Fall Harvest Manager for distribution and winterizing of the farm.

We were thrilled and privileged to have been nominated for the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce 34th Annual Business Awards for Non-Profit the year and we’re even more honored to be moved from a nominee position to a finalist.

We will be interviewing with representatives from the selection committee in the next couple of days at the Butler Farm (Stay Connected for Updates), and the winners of the awards will be announced at the Business Excellence Awards Gala on October 24, 2020.

We would like to thank the Kamloops Chamber for recognizing our efforts, and acknowledge our fellow nominees in the Not For Profit of the Year category – Big Little Science Centre, and the Kamloops Symphony.