Food and the City

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 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, or if you’re a local government candidate and want to support any of these policies in your platform or to discuss further, please reach out to us:

“food can serve as a way to reimagine and reconfigure all sorts of city functions…someone will figure out sooner or later that sewage, parks and recreation, sustainability, global warming and heat waves – the whole gamut of city issues – each has a hidden food dimension.”

“Food is a fundamental component of a city that is inseparable from citizens’ basic rights and needs, individual lifestyles and cultures, the socio-economic structure, and the city’s relationship with the surrounding environment…These trends go well beyond the need to feed cities, calling into question our perspectives on how to think about cities as a whole.”

Members of our volunteer network came together over the past 4 months to research and write in-depth analysis of chosen municipal topics leading up to Kamloops’ municipal election on October 15th. Using food as a lens to explore relevant civic issues and food as a lever for transformative social change, our Food and the City group have created a number of powerful discussions and policy recommendations. Click below to read our various articles and review the summary of policy recommendations for each topic.

Food and the City Policy Topics & Recommendations:

Click for the Full Article: Sustainable Development & Affordable Housing Article.

Summary of Policy Recommendations:

  • 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.

Click for the full article: Public Spaces and the Commons

Summary of Policy Recommendations:

  • Invest in public transit by eliminating fares and increasing the coverage and frequency of service. 
    • Invest in transit infrastructure to make bus shelters more usable, friendly, and convenient
  • Provide reliable public wifi in more public spaces, especially in areas where it will be accessed by community members who are struggling to afford private internet costs.
  • Create more public spaces, including public plazas, parklets, parks and natural amenities and passive recreation opportunities. 
    • Require or incentivize developers to include accessible public spaces and community amenities in new developments.
    • Support the Performing Arts Centre
  • Invest in free, no barrier public events 
    • Continue to support Music in the Park
    • Provide support and incentives for neighbourhood associations and community organizations to host public movie nights, block parties and community gatherings.
  • Increase the availability of food commons in the community.
    • Prioritize fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, and other perennial, edible landscaping in City parks and boulevards.
    • Provide support through service agreements for non-profit organizations operating community farms, gardens and pantries.
    • Expand the network of community garden spaces to provide residents with the opportunity to grow their own food as our city grows and densifies with greater numbers of apartments and condos
  • Continue to invest in active transportation paths that encourage us all to get outside, enjoy the landscape, and engage with our neighbours
    • This includes bike lanes, walking trails, and multi-use paths

Click for the full article: Planning for People, Not Cars

Summary of Policy Recommendations:

  • Invest in infrastructure and incentives to encourage active transportation
    • Invest in bike lanes to create safe transportation corridors
    • Reduce bike theft by incentivizing bike valets at events and providing safe bike storage solutions
  • Implement development guidelines that prioritize sustainable transportation and walkable neighbourhoods
    • Eliminate parking minimums for new builds
    • Incentivize developments that include amenities and infrastructure such as public multi-use paths, public access to amenities such as green space or beaches, secure storage for bicycles, charging infrastructure for e-bikes and car share programs
  • Invest in public transit to make it an efficient, convenient choice for all residents
    • Increase the coverage of transit routes and increase the frequency of service on all routes, especially those that require transfers; 
    • Plan for transit beyond a utilitarian tool. Make the bus an “it place”, not just a tool that moves people from point A to point B. One such example could be Tea Party Socials on the bus;
    • Offer free transit or transit free days to encourage individuals to try the bus;
    • Invest in better design for our buses and bus stops that allows individuals to feel safe and welcomed; 
    • Provide free wifi on buses and at bus stops;
    • Use new technology to live track buses to ensure reliability; and
    • Establish art or other pop-up events at transit exchanges.

Click for the full article: Healthy Ecosystems and Pesticide Use in Kamloops

Click to view our Interactive StoryMap to learn more about current pesticide use on public lands in the City of Kamloops

Summary of Policy Recommendations:

We are recommending the City of Kamloops consider the following strategies to invest in healthy ecosystems on public lands, and reduce the need for pesticide use:

  • Engage citizens in the development of an Integrated Pest Management Plan and increase the transparency of the City’s pest management practices and reporting;
  • Transition more city land to higher ecological values and healthier ecosystems;
    • Adopt more edible landscaping on city lands, including fruit and nut trees and perennial bushes and shrubs, and engage community organizations and neighborhood associations to ensure these areas are well maintained;
    • Replace current landscaping strategies such as manicured annual plantings, mown grass boulevards and hardscaping with native plant bioswales;
    • Transition to a Natural Asset Management approach across all public works operations in Kamloops;
  • Incorporate more alternative methods to control invasive species; and
  • Implement a complete ban on the use of Glyphosate and 2,4-D on all city lands, including spot applications.

Click for the first full article: Exploring Community Safety in Kamloops – Part One

Click for the second full article: Exploring Community Safety in Kamloops – Part Two

Summary of Policy Recommendations:

  • Collaborative development of a comprehensive community safety strategy, including:
    • Meaningful involvement from those most in need and most lacking safety in our communities
    • Leadership and partnership efforts from the whole community, including the social service sector, business sector, neighbourhood associations, those with lived experience, and elected representatives
    • The implementation of safety audits in different community environments to inform our understanding of our existing safety levels, and allowing us to build a strategy based on immediate needs
  • Reallocation of municipal funding to reduce the responsibilities of the police in situations where they are not the best equipped to create safety, such as mental health issues or domestic disputes
    • more street outreach teams, more support for basic needs like housing and food security
  • Improvements to the accessibility of our healthcare system including:
    • Additional communication between IH and TRU SON to create more practicum placements in psychiatric nursing for student nurses to help increase the availability of psychiatric care.
    • Clinics (seperate from the ER) that are available  for longer hours to accommodate folks who cannot take time off of work to seek medical attention.
    • Clinics that provide child care,
    • Clinicians and all staff trained in trauma-informed practices, particularly in regards to: those experiencing homlessness, substance abuse-disorder, and other mental health crises; domestic violence and abuse victims; fat people; and Indigenous Peoples.
  • The implementation of community pantries and fridges in neighbourhoods across Kamloops.
  • An increase in public-education aiming to destigmatize marginalised communities and teach citizens how to respond to a variety of mental and physical crises.

Click for the full article: Community Food Security

Summary of Policy Recommendations:

  • Create and implement a municipal Poverty Reduction Strategy that prioritizes food security for all as a human right
    • Establish decision making structures and equitable collaborative engagement to understand and act on the needs and concerns of people with lived/living experience of poverty.
    • Allocate municipal funds for a long term multi-year, multisectoral poverty reduction approach.
  • Include community food security as a priority area in all emergency and disaster recovery planning processes
  • Initiate a 10-year evaluation and update of the City of Kamloops’ Agriculture Area Plan (2023) and the Food and Urban Agriculture Plan (2025)
  • Allocate municipal funding through service agreements to organizations responsible for implementing actions in the Food and Urban Agriculture Plan and Agriculture Area Plan
  • Allocate a portion of the City of Kamloops’ investment in economic development specifically to grow the local food economy

Click for the full article: Decolonizing the Municipality

Summary of Policy Recommendations:

  • Formally recognize oral and written Indigenous law, and comply with Indigenous decisions, directives and resolutions when it comes to shared regional issues
  • Pursue opportunities to transition government land to Indigenous control
  • Support Secwépemc-specific education, curriculum and citizen reflection and learning
  • Implement and promote municipal Land Back practices such as decolonization dialogues, a Secwépemc renaming program, and voluntary land taxes

Food & the City Presentations to Candidates

Listen to the Food and City Series Presentation

View our Food and the City Presentation

News articles on our Food & the City Series