Land to Table (L2T) is a growing network of interconnected actors from across the regional food system – from those who live and work on and off the Land in the North Okanagan – including farmers, those who gather and harvest traditional foods, food processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, chefs, consumers, and waste managers, as well as supporting groups such as not-for-profit organizations, government agencies and academic institutions; to the Table, where we gather to share food and conversation and collaborate under a shared vision.
We are inspired by the idea that a well-connected and coordinated network across the North Okanagan, who share a common vision and goals, can together develop a food system that is economically prosperous, environmentally sustainable and socially accessible.
L2T consists of a steering committee (with individuals from key partner organizations), a coordinator, action teams and a wide network of food system actors. We are supported by Community Futures, who act as the backbone organization, and we are currently funded by the RDNO and a Real Estate Foundation grant.
Liz Blakeway – Land to Table Coordinator
Steering Committee Members
Eva-Lena – founding member, UBCO Masters Student – researching the L2T Network
Mary Stockdale – founding member, UBCO Professor
Laura Code – Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Agrologist
Linda Boyd – Interior Health Dietician
Kazia Mullin – Community Futures North Okanagan
The North Okanagan Food System Initiative (NOFSI) began in 2015 as a study circle around a kitchen table consisting of a small group of community members – all regional food system advocates and members of farming families in the region. The study circle looked at the Vermont Farm to Plate Network – an inspiring example of how a collective impact network has transformed Vermont’s food system, including such significant improvements over 10 years (2003-2013) as: doubling local food production, increasing local food jobs by 10% and businesses by 15%, and improving access to healthy food for all Vermonters. The study group concluded that the Vermont model had potential application in this region, and concluded by dedicating themselves to trying to make it happen.
A regional food system where farmland is protected and productive, farmers have access to land, regional farms and other food system enterprises are thriving, more local food is produced and sold, our food system is environmentally sustainable and resilient to climate change, waste is minimized and reintegrated at every step, and everyone has access to healthy good food.
Our mission is to catalyze connections and collaboration in support of a prosperous, sustainable, and accessible regional food system in the North Okanagan.
We are working to strengthen our food system through a Collective Impact framework, using network building principles. Like other successful networks we are undertaking specific priority actions while simultaneously developing the network. We aim to build a regional food system network through core activities, including:
- Convening meetings and forums to address and learn about our regional food system in relation to: the economy, the environment, and food security.
- Developing and maintaining a communication system to share important and relevant information in a timely and transparent manner.
- Hosting community events to build a collective commitment to change and create a vision that reflects the values of the community.
- Developing common goals and a shared system for measuring the progress we want to see.
- Supporting action teams to undertake specific priority actions as identified by the community.
|L2T completed, ongoing and planned food security activities:|
|• Key stakeholder engagement – to develop a Common Vision – with input from 14 key food system actors (Nov. 2018), and further feedback gathered at an October 2019 Open House|
|• Hosting quarterly gatherings for the Food Processors ‘action team’ (Feb. and May 2019, Jan. 2020), who are currently finding value in building relationships and knowing what others are doing|
|• The development of draft goals and indicators (with a working group) to measure growth in the local food economy|
|• Partnered with Ministry of Agriculture and Community Futures North Okanagan to offer a two-day business development training for food processors|
|• Partnered with the Small-Scale Food Processors Association to host a workshop on new Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulations|
|• Hosted a Canada GAP certification workshop (for fruit and vegetable farmers)|
|• Convened a second forum – Growing Connections Between Food and the Environment – with 90 participants; distributed a forum report and follow up survey|
|• In conjunction with the Regional Agriculture Advisory Committee – L2T agreed to undertake Regional Agriculture Plan priority actions 2.12, 2.14 and 7.6 (July 2018) to grow the local food economy; and 6.20 (May 2018), to explore increasing institutional procurement of local food|
|• Ongoing conversations and meetings with farmers regarding the opportunity for a regional aggregation and distribution hub (planning for an aggregation seminar in early 2020)|
|• Compiled forum two report (on Growing Local Connections Between Food and the Environment) and distributed a follow-up survey to gauge interest in the priority actions identified at the forum|
|• An active website (including blog) and social media accounts (Facebook and Instagram).|
|• Hosted a successful first Open House event in Vernon to share the results of L2T work and approach as a Network and to gather feedback for 3 theme areas– around 80 people attended|
|• Recruited two new steering committee members, representing important organizations/affiliations (Young Agrarians and the farming sector)|
|• Incorporating research recommendations from Eva-Lena Lang’s Master’s thesis: Coming to the Table as a Regional Food System: Mapping and Building a Network, on how to further engage with and build the network, including further development of an online map of the network|
|• Through collaboration with UBCO completed research on the regional food economy, looking at consumer behaviours and preferences for purchasing local food|
|• Through collaboration with UBCO started data collection through an online survey of food processors operating within the North Okanagan|
We are grateful to key funders who are supporting our work to build a food system network, they include:
The Real Estate Foundation of BC
The Electoral Area Advisory Committee of the Regional District North Okanagan
Interior Health, Community Food Action Initiative
Land to Table is a Community Futures North Okanagan project