Activities

We think of our work as twofold: building a connected and coordinated network, through different events, workshops/training and consistent communications, while taking action through time bound, specific projects that have network/community support and energy behind them.

Some of our core activities include:

  • Convening meetings and forums to address and learn about our regional food system in relation to: the economy, the environment, and food access & 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 and sector specific working groups to undertake specific priority actions.
  • Undertaking projects to, for example, grow the local food economy, including increasing local food procurement in local institutions.
  • Consulting with different sectors across the food chain, like Local Government, to create a regional picture of what matters most in food system and food security planning and development.

Below are some of our completed, ongoing and planned food security activities. Want to know more about our upcoming events? Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest information.

Producers

Supporting small scale local growers is at the centre of what we do because we know that doing so can lead to systems level change but also because we know that they face many challenges. Work with this group includes:

  • Providing training opportunities for farmers and food processors around food safety regulation updates and certification requirements. In March we hosted a seminar, in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and Community Futures, to learn about how grower-organizations have successfully aggregated their products to be able to sell to a broader range of customers. This seminar included time for discussion, with this multi-stakeholder group, about the opportunity for local aggregation in the North Okanagan (for local, small-scale farmers to pool their produce and resources to sell to larger retail and institutional markets)
  • Action Teams – from the March 2019 aggregation seminar we have continued to bring this group of farmers together to talk about next steps to be able to collectively sell to an institution
  • Pilot Projects – we have teamed up with a local agro-economist and consultant, and regional producers to begin to identify opportunities to increase local food procurement at UBC, Okanagan campus. Grant applications for furthering this project are in the works.

Processors

Work with processors has included:

  • Undertaking a survey in collaboration with UBCO to get a sense of the number and type of processors in the region as well as where they are sourcing ingredients (local or imported).
  • Connecting with the Small Scale Food Processors Association for how to collaborate to support local processors.
  • Hosting bi-annual networking gatherings of regional food processors.

Consumers

These are our local food cheerleaders who want to support local food businesses and eat healthier, more sustainable food that comes from the place where they live.

Our work with consumers has included:

  • Conducting a survey with UBCO looking at attitudes, behaviour and preferences around local food purchasing in the North Okanagan.
  • We held a successful Land to Table Open House event in October 2019, where we had 70 people attend – many just curious about the work we are doing to get more local food to local residents.

Institutional Procurement

In terms of working with institutions, we have met with the Culinary Manager of Interior Health to better understand some of their challenges around local food procurement and how we might support work in that area. More specifically, we are looking to find or create a regional institutional champion to lead the way in local food procurement.

This has led to receiving a grant (July 2020) through UBC Okanagan – to collaborate with a local agrologist and the Executive Chef from UBCO to look at opportunities and barriers for local food procurement from local small-medium scale farms.

Network-Wide

As far as the network goes we are convening network wide conversations around the opportunities to build a more resilient food system (in light of COVID).

Our first call was held in May 2020 with great participation and productive conversation. An October 2020, network-wide (online) call will include diving deeper into the opportunities for local food marketing and strengthening local food/agri-tourism, again given the impacts of COVID.

Government

Since the beginning of the Land to Table Network we have been working in conjunction with the Regional District to support Regional Agriculture Plan priority actions, identified each year (2018 to 2020).

 

We work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture locally to offer relevant training to local farmers and food processors.

 

More recently we have been providing updates to local governments, like the City of Vernon on the economic impacts of Covid that we are hearing from the small-medium agriculture sector. Also, we are working to support the Village of Lumby in exploring how to re-engage the community regarding important food security goals and a vision for Village owned ALR land.

In October 2020 we will host our first Local Government Roundtable event to gather information and engage in conversation about what is on the radar for government here in terms of food system and food security development and planning; and how L2T can support these efforts/ideas.