Welcome! This is the third 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.
This newsletter is focused on reporting to you the work that is taking place by a wide range of individuals, community food, health, and environmental groups and organizations, as well as local businesses and decision makers to engage in policy, planning and action around food. It is also here to let you know what is coming down the pipe and how you can get involved.
Victoria’s emergency food providers are struggling to provide nutritious foods to hundreds and hundreds of nutritionally vulnerable Homeless everyday as they face the on-going challenge of low food budgets and a reliance on food donations and volunteer labour to feed hungry mouths. A working group has been established to address the needs of these agencies in making nutritious and safe foods available to our community. The working group is focused on tackling some key issues: a clearly identified need for centralized storage, purchasing and donations distribution; better collaboration and communication with agencies; and improved waste management...read more
LUSH Valley Food Action Society has, over the last three years, been given a leadership role in the food security movement in the Comox Valley. They have successfully operated the Fruit Tree Project (gleaning and distributing unused and otherwise wasted fruits and nuts) and other projects for seven years and most recently, administered and coordinated the community consultation processes known as Planning for Plenty I & II. With Vancouver Island Health Authority support, LUSH Valley is implementing the recommendations from that consultation – a group purchasing, warehousing and distribution program for the non-profit food providers in the Valley; a commercial community kitchen and processing centre; and researching the creation of a Comox Valley Food Charter, among other initiatives….read more
Submitted by Linda Geggie
As part of the Regional Food and Health Plan process the protection and viability of farmland was identified as a priority area of concern in the region. In the coming new year LifeCycles and CR-FAIR will be hosting a forum on farmland in the CRD. Currently we are gathering ideas for this event and have been exploring the issues and tools we have to work with provincially (such as the Agriculture Land Reserve and Strengthening Farmers Program), regional and local opportunities (such as the Regional Growth Strategy and Official Community Plans), in addition to looking at “Bright Light” ideas and initiatives that are coming from farmers and community organizations to tackle these issues. For more info contact lgeggietelus.net. Stay tuned...
A major concern as I see it is the availability of sizable and good quality growing land for young aspiring farmers. It is really a shame that so much land on the peninsula just lies as unimproved pasture or hay land. This land use is fine as far as keeping the land reserve and providing the haying people with work, but if only some of it was in vegetable. The average age of farmers and landowners on the peninsula might be around 62 so there could be a lot of farm land changing hands over the next decade...read more.
The Community Farms Program aims to expand local food production in BC by: helping new farmers access affordable land; researching the best practices of existing collectively-owned farms; and creating a network of potential farmers, landowners, and community organizations. By bringing these parties together to share their experiences and knowledge, the program will create alternative agricultural models that can be replicated throughout British Columbia. The program is a joint-venture between FarmFolk/CityFolk and TLC. At present we are building a database of new landless farmers and acquiring land; and have already begun to place farmers on land. We are currently seeking funding to support the program for the next 3 years.
Ramona Scott, Manager, Agricultural Programs
TLC The Land Conservancy of BC
The historic Keating Farm, located in the Cowichan Valley, is a new venture dedicated to organic and integrated methods of farming. This idyllic 27-acre property was purchased in 2005 by The Land Conservancy who want to preserve the heritage aspects of the farm, along with its farming potential. The farm is leased to the Keating Farm Co-op, which consists of more than 100 individuals and several businesses who have purchased 68 shares to date. The Keating Farm is a new model in farmland preservation...read more
FoodRoots Distributors Co-op is a community based co-operative focused on re-creating important links in our food system - a local food storage facility and distribution system. Over the past summer and fall FoodRoots “Pocket Markets” have been popping up across Greater Victoria. On December 1, a toolkit to help develop more markets was put on line. FoodRoots now moves another step forward expanding their storage and distribution capacity with a central warehouse...read more
Looking for local fare? There are two (and probably more) good ways to find local goods. The first is the Direct Farm Marketing Association Farm Fresh Directory that covers Southern Vancouver Island, and the second is the LifeCycles Good Food Directory which spans all of Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands. Both are available either in print or on-line...read more.
Click here to read a statement from BC Food Systems on meat inspection regulations and an update on currently operating facilities
Amendments to the Land Title Act will make it easier for farmers to enter into long-term leases with landowners for unused portions of agricultural lands, Agriculture and Lands Minister Pat Bell announced earlier this year...read more.
City Harvest is a business which uses urban space in Victoria, BC. — yards or vacant land — to produce hand-tended, organically-grown vegetables to market. City Harvest is locally owned and operated by Paula Sobie and Martin Scaia and it relies on SPIN-Farming methodology, a proven organic-based growing technique that adapts commercial farming techniques to sub-acre land masses. www.cityharvest.ca/
Common Energy (CE) is a network of university, community, and regional partners working to create solutions to the problems of climate change. CE collectively chose food as one of its six focus areas (the others being business and the economy, civic engagement and governance, energy, transportation, and buildings, infrastructure and ecology) to recognize its importance. Most recently, Common Energy is selling 2008 Local and Seasonal Food Calendars...read more
"Food miles" (or "food kilometres"!) are the distance food travels from the farm to your plate. The concept is used to underline how far many foods are transported through global trade and the costs of this transport, in economic, social, and environmental terms. To learn more about Food Miles or to calculate the Foodmiles of your latest meal...read more.
The Capital Region Food and Health Action Plan Report is now available on line for your review. Warning!! You had a lot to say so it is quite lengthy! Use the Table of Contents to see what is included and find the sections you are looking for. Currently we are in the process of creating a shorter, more “friendly” booklet that outlines the plan. It should be available and published in the New Year.
To access the report click on The Capital Region Food and Health Action Plan Report in the sidebar.
Many of you were involved in the creation of this plan - thank you! This report summarizes what we heard and what we learned. If you have additional comments to make or new ideas that you would like to submit, we welcome your input! Please email Linda Geggie firstname.lastname@example.org.
CR-FAIR facilitates collaborative work and communications about food security issues in the CRD. If you want to see "What’s on the Plate for 2008"...read more
Interested in getting involved in CR-FAIR? click here
Pat gives us an update on three important initiatives….a Stone Milling Workshop, the Growing Up Organic Initiative, and an update on the Salt Spring Island Area Farm Plan, to take place on January 26, 2008...read more.
The BC Seed Security Project is dedicated to providing information on organically grown seeds in British Columbia. They are a grass roots group intent on promoting organic practices. Their website contains a very cool database to help you find organic seeds from BC suppliers. http://www.bcseeds.org/
Submitted by Monty Crisp
Community food security (CFS) is a condition in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice. There are six basic principles which community food security should address...read more
Learn about growing biodynamic vegetables for a CSA. Intern opportunities beginning Spring 2008. Send information about yourself and why you want to farm to:
John and Katy Ehrlich, Alderlea Farm
3390 Glenora Rd
Submitted by Patty Williams
Canadian Association of Food Studies
Following two successful meetings in 2006 and 2007, which demonstrated the impressive breadth and depth of research being undertaken by Canadian Food Scholars, the Canadian Association for Food Studies (CAFS) will host its third annual general meeting at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on 31 May – 1 June 2008. The 2008 CAFS conference theme is “Thinking Beyond Borders: Ideas, Values and Concerns of Food in a Global World”. Currently there is a call for papers...read more
Dec 6th 2007
From The Economist print edition
Rising food prices are a threat to many; they also present the world with an enormous opportunity. For as long as most people can remember, food has been getting cheaper and farming has been in decline. In 1974-2005 food prices on world markets fell by three-quarters in real terms. Food today is so cheap that the West is battling gluttony even as it scrapes piles of half-eaten leftovers into the bin...read more
Submitted by TLC The Land Conservancy of BC
Are you a Citizens Bank VISA member? Do you care about farmland and local food? If you are and if you do, make your VOTE count by voting for TLC The Land Conservancy – one of the Citizens Bank Shared Interest Award Environmental finalists. Part of TLC’s Agricultural mandate is to protect farmland for local food production.
Please vote for TLC online between Dec 15 and January 30 by clicking here.
Click here to see a calendar of food related events going on in the region.
If you would like to make a submission to the newsletter, our next issue will be published in February. Send your submissions and event listings by February 5 to email@example.com. If you have any questions or ideas about the newsletter please contact us. Please do forward this newsletter to others who are involved in this work.
The Community Council is the legal sponsor and secretariat for CR-FAIR
The work of CR-FAIR is supported by Vancity, Roundtable on the Environment Healthy Communities Subcommittee, LifeCycles,
Community Council, CR-FAIR Steering Committee members and:
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.