About the Event
Land to Table held a Community Food Security Planning Session on March 2nd, bringing together individuals from various organizations, local government, and educational, health, and religious institutions throughout the North Okanagan region who are addressing food insecurity with an interest to move towards greater community food security overall. This was the first event of this size that we have hosted in 3 years! All agreed it was good to gather in this way!
Nearly 30 representatives were present! We were pleased to have our Spokes, Whitevalley Community Resource Centre, Okanagan Indian Band, the Good Food Box, share their insights on their programs and how the Hub has contributed to their capacity and growth. Attendees found the hub presentations helpful, saying they “loved hearing the presentations from the spokes and hearing how their work impacted participants.”
Hub Advisor, Linda Boyd from Interior Health, also presented on food security and insecurity within a BC context. All presentations are linked below for your interest.
- Whitevalley Community Resource Centre – Family & Teen Meal Programs Summary
- Okanagan Indian Band – Community Garden Successes
- The Good Food Box – Serving & Addressing Increasing Need
- Interior Health – Food Security and Insecurity: Developing a common understanding
Attendees were encouraged to network and collaborate at breakout tables to identify gaps and challenges to their work, brainstorm solutions, and share opportunities. The event provided valuable insights, and Land to Table discovered that the most effective way to support food security actors in our region is by:
- Taking a bird’s eye perspective to identify collective needs and opportunities (e.g. “holding the whole” when it comes to developing our local food system)
- Facilitating connections and providing coordination to address resource gaps
- Advocating for policy change around food safety and liability regulations that prevent organizations from delivering fresh and local food and educational opportunities with local producers
- Continuing to support fundraising efforts of program providers who have “boots on the ground”
Participants reported that the most valuable aspect of the planning session was the ability to connect and network:
- I feel a part of a community that is working to make this a healthier place for all. I feel supported in my mission for a healthier culture in schools
- Collaboration and aligning with others who are focused on food security for our region is key.
- It was valuable to learn about other groups and to develop potential strategic relationships that will bring further benefits to the community!
Feedback for next year suggested there should be food producers present. Though farmers were invited, none were able to attend. Next year, L2T will focus on building the event so farmers and producers can be a part of the conversation.
Another suggestion was to have community, as in the clients of food security initiatives, present. L2T will work on creating a more accessible and inclusive space to involve recipients in food security work in the coming year.
Overall, the session was a very positive experience that left L2T staff and participants alike excited for the future of food security in the North Okanagan and the potential to integrate our local food sources into food security initiatives:
- Hearing from all the different groups working at food security left me feeling really inspired to source locally!
- [The event] made me excited for the future of the Okanagan.
- We need to look at sustainable options for our rural community which may look like approaching our local farmers and getting creative to increase our food security measures.
Potential Working Groups
From the sessions, the group identified several working groups they would be interested in participating in to help L2T achieve various projects across the food system. If you are interested in joining in any of the following groups, or if you have another idea you would like to share with L2T, please contact Sammy Blair at firstname.lastname@example.org
- School Food Working Group (engaging with school districts and/or school programming through hub projects)
- Local Food Purchasing Group (helping pilot and partake in a bulk purchasing program with local farmers)
- Land access for Indigenous Food Sovereignty Initiatives
- Resource sharing for food security efforts
- Enderby FACT Committee
- Spallumcheen Mayor, Christine Fraser
- Whitevalley Community Resource Centre
- North Okanagan Community Chaplaincy
- The Health Promoting School Coordinator SD 22
- Turning Points
- School Food Champion, Dawn Guenette
- United Way Food Link
- United Way Community Impact
- Upper Room Mission
- Food System Consultant, Janine de la Salle
- Feed Enderby & District
- Trinity United Church
- Lake Country Food Bank
- Interior Health Public Health Dietician
- Enderby Community Centre’s Harvest Share
- North Okanagan Friendship Centre
- Cherryville Food Bank
- Lumby Food Bank
- Salvation Army
- Okanagan Indian Band
- Nexus BC
- Good Food Box
- Food it Forward