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Sustainable and inclusive communities creating their own social, economic and environmental futures.

Community Social Planning Council

Research | Insights | Solutions

Making Food Matter Issue 1

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Issue 1, December 2006

This Issue


Welcome! This is the first issue of the new Making Food Matter e-newsletter.

The purpose of this newsletter is to inform and connect people in BC's Capital Region who are working on, or have an interest in local food security issues.

Our first newsletter is focused on reporting to you the work that took place last year by a wide range of individuals, community food, health, and environmental groups and organizations, as well as local businesses and decision makers as part of the Putting Food and Food Policy on the Table Project. It is also here to let you know what the next stages are and how you can get involved in moving forward the work to build a vision, plan and actions towards regional food security.

We have included a section that provides background on the partners who are working together to move this initiative forward (side bar on Project Partners) as well as to provide some stories of initiatives that are happening in BC's Capital Region (side bar on Community Stories). We have also included a section on Resources, some interesting facts under Did You Know, and a spot to post upcoming Events and Announcements.

If you have any questions or ideas about the newsletter please contact us. To be taken off this mailing list please unsubscribe. If you would like to be added to the mailing list please subscribe. Please do forward this newsletter to others who are involved in this work.


What we learned from Phase I

What are the opportunities and challenges that you see related to strengthening food security in the Capital Region?

What should our highest priority actions be to build greater food security in the Capital Region?

These are the questions that were put forward to 78 participants from across the Capital Region in two forums hosted by the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable (CR-FAIR) and the CRD Roundtable on the Environment Healthy Communities Subcommittee (RTE HCSC) over the past year.

The two working sessions were held on March 6, and March 13, 2006, as part of a project called "Putting Food and Food Policy on the Table".

We would like to thank everyone involved in the work that was done last year!
A solid foundation of information and analysis as well as a host of ideas were put forward around the proposed questions.

Click here to read more about what we learned...

You may also click here to see the official report: Putting Food and Food Policy on the Table Report


What's Next? Phase II!

Judy Brownoff, CRD Board of Director, stated that a healthy city is:

"One that is continually creating and improving those physical and social environments and expanding those community resources that enable people to mutually support each other in performing all the functions of life and in developing to their maximum potential"

This idea is the basis from which our work and vision on food security springs. That is, a city, a region seeking to plan and work together in proactive and positive ways to advance our collective vision and reality of regional food security.


CR-FAIR and RTE HCSC will continue to work collaboratively to develop a vision, framework and Food and Health Action Plan for the Capital Region. In order to address the food system holistically and for the plan to resonate with and meet the needs of diverse sectors several overlying objectives and planned activities have been identified.


  1. To continue to build a wider circle of community voices and decision makers into all aspects of a Food and Health Action Plan
  2. To support and interconnect related community based initiatives through the process
  3. To better link community needs and initiatives with local decision making and build supportive governance frameworks.


1. Series of Strategic Working Sessions

With input from key advisors, CR-FAIR and RTE HCSC will plan strategic working sessions that provide a forum for various organizations, government bodies and representatives, individuals, the private sector, institutions and community groups to meet, further explore and prioritize actions related to:

a) Maintaining and expanding food producing land, farming and infrastructure.

b) Increasing urban food production.

c) Increasing access to and affordability of healthy foods.

d) Increasing awareness and knowledge about our local food system and methods to grow and prepare healthy diets.

e) Advocating for the development of institutional procurement policies for local food (institutional and local government policies that give preference to buying local product where and when available).

The information gleaned from the strategic working sessions will be used to formulate needs, assets and actions for the Food and Health Action Plan.

2. Food Charter for the CRD

Over the past two years CR-FAIR has developed a proposed "Capital Region Food Charter." This has been done through public consultation as well as meetings with local groups, networks and government representatives and bodies. The purpose of the Food Charter is to provide an overall vision to guide work done in food security at the community, institutional and government levels.

CR-FAIR and the RTE HCSC will work in conjunction to finalize and promote the Capital Region Food Charter to local governments. We will conduct research to assist in targeting the Food Charter to meet the needs of diverse backgrounds, build consensus and gain written support for the Charter through presentations to regional governments.

3. Strengthen food systems network in BC's Capital region

CR-FAIR will, through a series of meetings, conduct internal strategic work to identify how best to support and advocate for the wide range of community food security groups and projects working in the Capital Region.

4. Regional Celebration Forum

A forum will be held in Spring 2007 to report back on progress, celebrate accomplishments, and to jointly develop an implementation plan for the region.

5. Regional Food Policy Council

CR-FAIR and the RTE HCSC will work together to research and explore structural arrangements for a regional food policy advisory or council.

Through this work we hope to involve as many citizens, organizations, and institutions in the Capital Region as possible.


Getting Down to Action - Strategic Working Sessions 2006/2007

Many positive ideas and actions were identified through the community forum this year. In order to deepen our understanding of the issues, reach out to bring in more expertise and participation, and move some of these ideas and actions forward, we have chosen to hold a series of working sessions over the next year.

The working sessions that will be taking place are:

  1. Increasing Food Access: Neighbourhood Food Action Planning as a way to increase access to healthy and adequate food and neighbourhood food resources for individuals and families.
  2. Strengthening Local Agriculture: Food Production and Preservation of Farm Land and Farmers
  3. Advancement of Institutional Policies to Purchase Local Food
  4. Supporting the Expansion of Local Neighbourhood Markets
  5. Food Processing-Building and Maintaining Infrastructure
  6. Building Capacity for Urban Agriculture
  7. Food Education-Mapping and Networking Our Resources
  8. Advancement of Food Charter, Food and Health Plan, and Food Policy Council

Click here to read more about the Working Sessions and proposed times and locations


Did you know...

  • There are 4000 farms on Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands, and of these about 1000 farms are in the Capital Region
  • There are over 10 community and farmers markets in Capital Region
  • There are 15 community gardens, with about 500 community gardeners in the Greater Victoria area
  • 50,000 people in Capital Region are living in poverty and of these 1 in 6 are children, low income is the greatest contributing factor to household food insecurity
  • Since 2002 we have seen nearly 30-50% rise in use of city food banks


A Recipe to warm you: Cranberry gingerbread people

By the Cranberry Society

Makes 10-12 biscuits

200g/7oz self raising flour
10g/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
55g/2oz butter
55g/2oz dark brown sugar
2 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 finely grated orange zest
To decorate
sweetened dried cranberries

1. Heat the oven to 180C.
2. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets with butter. Sift the flour, ginger, cinnamon into a mixing bowl.
3. In a heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter, sugar, black treacle and golden syrup over a low heat. Do not allow to boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange rind.
4. Pour the butter mixture into the flour and mix thoroughly to form a soft dough. Roll out the dough to approximately 4mm/¼ inch thick and cut 10-12 large people shapes or 25 small shapes, re-rolling the dough when necessary.
5. Using a palette knife carefully lift the gingerbread people onto the baking tray and decorate with the dried cranberries. Cook for 6-10 minutes until just set and beginning to brown.


Financial support for this project provided by Vancouver Island Health Authority's "Community Food Action Initiative" through ActNow BC - the government of BC's investment in promoting healthy choices through a partnership-based, community-focused approach to improve nutrition, increase physical activity and reduce tobacco use.