Feel-Good Stories from 2023

Perhaps you’ve heard (cause we’ve shared a few times now)… New this year, Land to Table has been collecting an inventory of the fresh food needs of local social service agencies and food banks across the North Okanagan. This work is a result of the “value chain development” we have been doing in conjunction with UBCO – to connect organizations who care about using purchasing dollars toward ethical/sustainable food, to the farmers who produce said food! Through strong leadership values, advocating for more local food and clear food purchasing goals at Turning Points in Vernon, we were able to connect a local farmer to Turning Points Food Service Manager. Read to hear the farmers experience of that connection:

​​As soon as we completed our first delivery to Turning Point in Vernon it felt so good. From working with the head chef, to the staff that received the produce, there was a real sense of values aligning and gratitude in both directions. When we dropped off a delivery the kitchen staff would sometimes share a bit of loaf that they made with our zucchinis, and then a few weeks later they were pleading for the zucchini tsunami to stop (jokingly of course). As farmers we are very grateful when we can develop relationships where it feels like our food is appreciated, and we’re so happy to see it getting into the bellies of people who wouldn’t otherwise easily have access to local organic veggies.

Here is a local food-to-schools pilot project that we are keeping an eye on…

School District 83, through Feeding Futures funding (that all schools in BC have received) is launching a pilot project in partnership with Nature Delivered in December. Farmer’s Choice boxes, containing fresh, locally grown produce will be delivered to participating North Okanagan based schools in Grindrod and Enderby as a way to improve the affordability of fruits and vegetables for families, especially during the holiday season. Farmer’s choice boxes are valued at $40, but available for only $20/month to SD83 families at selected schools: AL Fortune, MV Beattie, Grindrod Elementary, and Parkview Elementary. Email Serena Caner at SD83 for the discount code – scaner@sd83.bc.ca. Go to naturedelivered.ca to order.  We hope that this represents one of many examples to come, where schools can connect families to local food, and in turn help local farmers grow their businesses.

Why do connections like this matter? Global supply chains have disrupted local food systems, disconnecting people from those who grow the food, how it’s grown, and where it comes from. A local farmer reflects, “relationships between people who grow food and people who eat food are the foundation of a thriving local food system.” Value-chain partnerships with local organizations and institutions are an important step in the rebuilding of these local systems.