Authors: Krista Macaulay & Lindsay Harris
Fall is often a time of transition and change. Just as the weather shifts and the trees around us begin to shed their leaves, so do our lives and daily structures alter and adapt. Schedules become more rigid with kids back to school and vacations coming to an end. Shorts and sandals go back in the closet, while coats and toques come out with the crisp morning air. Berry season closes out for the great pumpkin king’s arrival. With so much change in the air, it feels fitting that our municipal elections happen in fall.
While municipal elections do not receive the same attention as federal or provincial elections, they are the best way that individuals can bring change to their communities and everyday life. Our school trustees, council, and mayor make decisions that affect our schools, our community services, and city plans. Local government is the true key to actionable change for Kamloops.
At the Kamloops Food Policy Council, we have brought together members of our network to form a policy advocacy group leading up to fall’s municipal election. This Food and the City group has been collaborating on areas of change for our city. Using food as a lens to explore relevant civic issues and food as a lever for transformative social change, the Food and the City group has created a number of powerful discussions and policy recommendations. As Andrea Magarini and Andrea Calori of the book “Food and the Cities” write:
“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.”
Food is how we connect and engage with the land, our community, our traditions, and each other. Because food impacts all areas of our lives, it can act as a lever through which we can create transformative changes! At the Kamloops Food Policy Council, we know that strong local food systems can help us get to more affordable housing, walkable neighbourhoods, stronger local economics, spaces for safety and belonging and more!
The Food and the City group has endeavoured over the past 4 months, creating 7 in-depth blog posts on key topics. Through much research, discussion, and collaborative writing we have produced the following posts and subsequent policy recommendations (in no particular order):
- Sustainable Development & Affordable Housing
- Public Spaces & the Commons
- Planning for People, Not Cars
- Healthy Ecosystems & Pesticide Use
- Community Safety
- Decolonizing the Municipality
- Community Food Security
Each post can be found on our webpage: www.kamloopsfoodpolicycouncil.com/food-and-the-city and includes an in-depth analysis of the topic with policy recommendations for our current and future leaders! These recommendations provide key directions for positive growth, change, and development in all areas of life for Kamloopsians.
The Food and the City Group also speaks to the ability of citizens to participate in elections in their city. So often it can feel like we are disconnected from our municipal government and the decisions that take place in City Hall. This project seeks to display that advocacy matters and citizens can participate in municipal elections beyond pencilling in their candidates of choice. Whether it is those who have joined the Food and the City Group to research and write on specific issues, or those from our wider network who came together to help create communications material and spread the word! On the evening of Tuesday September 13, we hosted a DIY Flyer Making Event to create awareness of the project and craft some fun posters to share around our community! This project has truly been an exciting example of how citizens – such as you and I – can participate in a deeper way in municipal elections.
Together we can create positive change. Together we can build community and partnerships that advocate for a stronger, happier, healthier, and more resilient Kamloops!
Be sure to check out our list of topics and recommendations: www.kamloopsfoodpolicycouncil.com/food-and-the-city
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: email@example.com