Recently Carole (our Board chair), Laura (past Board chair) and I presented to City Council. It was the end of the Kamloops Official Community Plan input session, so we wanted to talk about that, and also give an overview of the work the Kamloops Food Policy Council has been doing. You can watch our presentation here (starting at 6:47).
During the presentation, we had the opportunity to communicate our keen interest in helping to implement food related aspects of the Official Community Plan, including:
- 1) Supporting the City in allowing and encouraging developers who are required to create community amenities, to build food assets such as community gardens, edible landscaping, fruit and nut tree orchards, or rooftop greenhouses.
- 2) Supporting new regulations that allow the sales of fruit and vegetables from residential lots in rural and suburban areas.
- 3) Supporting the inclusion of the words “Food Sovereignty” in the Plan, as opposed to “Food Security” which is more limited in nature.
It has been great to participate in the OCP engagement process, and we are excited about a number of new directions the draft plan opens the door to.
What was also enriching about the presentation experience, and something that we have been reflecting on for the past few weeks since, was the engaging dialog with the Councillors and Mayor.
Mayor Ken Christian spoke about what he thinks makes our food action programs so important: creating a skill building model that helps increase food literacy and self-sufficiency. As we plan new workshops and education events for the next few months and beyond, we have been and will continue to ask ourselves how we can lean into a generative community education model such as Mayor Christian described in a way that makes a lasting impact on those who participate.
Councillor Lange told us about a climate leadership training workshop she had attended which had a food sovereignty breakout session that attracted every one of the attendees of the workshop. It was clear we are not the only ones seeing major links between climate change and food. It also was great to know that these conversations are so present in municipal circles. This has made us think more about how we can support a transition to a localized and low greenhouse gas food system as a food policy council.
Finally, Councillor Cavers spoke to the connect between health and food, and the role of the food system in enabling people to contribute to community in wider ways, such as cooking together, harvesting together, reducing food waste while accessing fresh fruit through the gleaning program. These comments have got us exploring how we might invite more discussion about potential partnerships and opportunities for community contribution at our meetings and in our work.
We greatly benefited from the meeting and notions of skill building, climate change, and the community impact of the food system have been present in our thinking and planning for the last month.