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. 

 

 

 

Native Pollinators and Integrative Pest Management

Network Meeting Summary

November 4, 2020 

Elaine Sedgman and Kirsten Wourms educated KFPC network members, representatives from partner organizations, staff and contractors on Native Pollinators, Pesticide use, and Integrative Pest Management methods at the virtual November network meeting on November 4, 2020. The meeting kicked off at 5:30 PM with Bonnie Klohn, KFPC Finance and Policy Lead walking the attendees through a brief moment of guided meditation and territorial acknowledgement before opening up the stage for our first speaker, Elaine Sedgman, who delivered a 15 minute presentation and song to the attendees. Following the theme of the meeting, Kirsten Wourms also gave a 15-minute presentation, informing the attendees ways to protect native pollinators through Integrative Pest Management in the City of Kamloops. 

Elaine Sedgman

Elaine Sedgman is the author and illustrator of the children’s book “Osmia Lignaria Pollinator Extraordinaire” popularly known as “A Bee Named BOB.” There are over 20,000 species of bees in the world, 70% of which are solitary. BC is the most bee-diverse province in Canada as it is home to almost 500 of those species however, the popularly known species of bees, the honey bee is not native to North America. Bees native to BC include the  Halictidae “sweat bees”, the biggest family of bees worldwide, which requires open, accessible flowers. The Halictus Farinosus is the most common bee in Kamloops. The Agapostemon Texanus, green sweat bee, the Colletes bee, known to have a golden heart shaped face and the Perdita, comes out in the Spring and Summer. Bees in the Apidae family such as Bumblebees, which are popularly mistaken for Longhorn bees can be found in BC in the Spring. The Melissodes bees are known as sunflower bees as they are attracted to sunflowers and sunflower shapes. 30% of the world’s bees are solitary cavity nesting bees and are all in the Megacilidae family, also known as “hairy belly bees” as they collect pollen on their abdomen. They are long tongue bees so they collect pollen from bell-shaped flowers. These bees nest in hollowed out twigs such as elderberry and raspberry, snail shells and key holes. Osmia lignaria (Blue Orchard Mason bees) are native to North America. Only 1% of the world’s species of bees are social including Honey bees and Bumblebees. Bombus Fervidus is the most populous in BC and their colony size is about 200, lower than that of honey bees. The social bees have no risk of extinction due to human help however, the native bees are subject to extinction due to habitat loss and fragmentation as a result of modern agriculture. Almond orchards are a death zone as a result of increased herbicides and pesticides use. Other farming activities like ploughing and crop rotation limits the resources available to bees such as the Melissodes. In cities, social and communal bees such as Honey bees and Halictidae are known to thrive however, cities are a difficult ground for bees to survive due to the overabundance of lawns and pavements and lack of floral diversity. Plants treated with neonicotinoids are known to kill plants and affect bees. Honey bees deplete available pollen nectar, resources and displace native bees. Climate change has caused an increase in CO2 and a massive decrease in pollen protein required by bees and humans. 

Kirsten Wourms 

Kirsten Wourms is a Natural Resource Crew Leader for the City of Kamloops. Integrative Pest Management is a 5-step program that begins with prevention. Before prevention, all gardens and plants need to build resistance to pests. This is highly dependent on soil fertility, drainage, PH level, organic matter, irrigation systems, plant spacing and plant diversity. 

Step 1- Identification of Pest 

Many times, plants face environmental issues such as drought, flooding, sun scald and nutrient deficiency that might not be caused by pests. Plant, pest, and damage identification are required in the IPM process. This will better inform on the treatment needed to solve the problem (natural enemies & preventive measures)

Step 2 – Monitoring 

The most important step to understand the site conditions, locations, lifecycle, and weather. Record species of plants, counts of pests and beneficials and gross stage of plants in the area. 

Step 3 – Determine the Acceptable Injury Level 

This will determine the tolerance level. Eradication might be detrimental for beneficial pests and as such, we need to strike a balance between management and eradication.

Step 4 – Action 

Chemical control should be used as a last resort and after proper research and consultation. Cultural means of prevention such as plant selection, pruning, sanitation, crop rotation, and design should be the first step in the process of pest management. Physical and Mechanical means of prevention include screens, mowing and heat applicators. Action should be used in conjunction with monitoring as it informs on what lifecycle or season that certain mechanical traps can be used. Biological in the City of Kamloops include matching the pest with its natural predators through trials and 10 -20 year studies before released to ensure native pollinators are protected. 

Step 5 – Evaluation  

Evaluation helps to identify way to improve and assess the costs and benefits to ensure negative effects are minimized 

What is the City Doing? 

  • Pesticide & Spraying Reduction
  • Biological Solutions for Knapweeds –  Russian Olives, ToadFlax & Houndstongue
  • Hand Pulling  – Group “Adopt a Tail” for weed pulls 

Member, Staff/Contractor Announcements 

  • Farewell to Sandra Frangiadakis 
  • Farm to School is collaborating with SFU on a 3-year research project (evaluation framework) to engage schools and farmers in rural, remote and urban areas of BC to understand the barriers and opportunities for engagement and develop a better model for local food procurement and food literacy in farm to school programs 
  • Outdoor Farmers Market season ended and new indoor location at Purity Feeds (471 Okanagan Way, Kamloops, BC V2H 1G7). Saturdays from 10 AM to 2 PM until December 19
  • Glenn Hilke thanks farmers at the Farmers Market for takeaway meals and donations to the Loop/Meal Train
    • JUMP program taking a sabbatical from donation pick up from Farmers Market and requires an organization to continue. JUMP willing to train organization

Resources

  • Elaine’s Recommendations to the City of Kamloops. In the city of Kamloops, trees should be replaced with bee-friendly flowers as shade trees reduce bee forage 
  • From the Masters Gardeners Association:
  • A Bee Named BOB, Elaine Sedgman, Bee Stories Publishing, 2019 – Information about BOBs, Bee Nesting Boxes and Care
  • Mason Bees – Read More  Read More 
  • Natural Insect Weed and Disease Control by Linda Gilkeson.Read Here  

Next Network Meeting: December 2, 2020

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. 

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