Food as a Lever

In preparation for the fall 2022 elections, the Kamloops Food Policy Council created a blog series titled Food and the City – exploring deeper civic issues that relate to “food [as] a lever” for civic engagement, connection, policy change and action. The articles include a list of recommended policy options to support action for each topic – transportation, healthy ecosystems, common land-use opportunities, safer communities, decolonization, and food security. These are thoughtful, thought provoking, action-oriented, and perhaps most importantly, useful for election now newly elected officials. We highly recommend that all candidates (and those interested in food systems and policy) have a read.

The KFPC blog posts have us thinking about:

  • how we are doing in the North Okanagan,
  • the ways in which food systems and food security provide opportunities for civic engagement and connection to place,
  • and where our policies can encourage resilience.

In the North Okanagan, over the past year we have seen a lot of interest and movement toward valuing public lands to grow food for our communities, in part by making land accessible to farmers and developing infrastructure to fill local supply gaps.

For example, the BX Ranchlands Development Plan was completed in June 2022 (by KPU’s Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, with support from Land to Table), as championed by local Area Directors Fleming and Shatzko (Area B And C respectively). With the inclusion of a community farm (as one component of the plan), this agricultural “Commons” promises to benefit the community and regional food security in the long term.

In addition, this year, the Township of Spallumcheen invested in the creation of an innovative plan for an agricultural hub that stands to benefit local family farms and producers, while planning to fill the large gap in local food system infrastructure, education and facility needs – that will allow closer-to-home food supply chains. Next steps for the hub include drafting a business plan, for which the study indicates: A regional approach is most likely to be successful and should include other partners and collaborators. We couldn’t agree more!

Land to Table is suggesting that newly elected officials consider the actions that they would take to build a more resilient food system over the coming four years; read the Food and the City series for inspiring examples of the kind of actions they can put their support behind; take a closer look at the projects that L2T is working on, and consider collaborating with us!