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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 6

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Issue 6, October 2008

This Issue:


Welcome! This sixth issue of Making Food Matter e-newsletter has has shown that CR-FAIR's readership is growing: submissions were received from food groups in the Comox Valley and as far east as Manitoba (see what's happening around food security in Manitoba). This continues to confirm the strong interest in and need for a vehicle to share information and to connect. Thank you for all of the submissions!

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 and sharing 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.

Please forward the newsletter through your networks, encourage others to subscribe, and send information you would like to share to

Planning for food security in the CRD

Update on the work of CR-FAIR Fall 2008

CR-FAIR continues to act as a communications hub and promote sharing of information and networking around food issues in BC's Capital Region. If you are looking for more information and to connect to other groups working on food, agriculture, and health, subscribe to the quarterly "Making Food Matter" electronic newsletter, attend the Monthly Food Roundtable, and attend our Annual Food Matters! Forum in March.

Over the next while here are some things you can do to support and move regional food work forward:

  • Write a letter supporting the development of a Food Policy Council (Template letter of support for a Food Policy Council in the CRD)
  • Become part of our working group on the Regional Food Charter and take it to your local council to "adopt or adapt". (Regional Food Charter)
  • Volunteer or donate to the creation of the Quest food recovery and redistribution centre. contact
  • Participate in the Focus on Farmlands Forum on November 27. For a conference package or to register contact Karen Platt: kdplatt [at] (remove spaces and use @ sign when emailing).

Click here to read more about CR-FAIR's recent activities, which include engaging local government, supporting local capacity building, research and education, and building networks with other groups and organizations.

Getting Food Issues on the Radar: A year of elections... a year of opportunity!

This year voters are faced with three elections, and three opportunities to raise the issues related to food security:

  • Federal Election date: October 14
  • Municipal Elections date: November 15
  • Provincial Election date: May 12, 2009

The most important thing you can do during an election time is VOTE! As voter turnout is historically low (especially at the Municipal level), your vote has a lot of power. Getting others out to vote is also very important. It can be daunting to learn about your candidates and where they stand on issues. Some of the ways to do this are to:

  • Search for information on the web
  • Attend all candidates meetings; ask candidates what steps they would take to address issues related to strengthening regional food security
  • Read local newspaper coverage
  • Ask your friends, family and peers what they are looking for in their candidates and why

Click here for more ideas and tools for the upcoming elections


Food Access and Health

VIHA Food Security Update - Congratulations Caryl Harper and welcome Jarrod Gunn-McQuillan

Caryl Harper has been VIHA's Regional Food Security Coordinator and has implemented the Community Food Action Initiative for the past few years. Recently Caryl was promoted to Manager of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion with VIHA. Caryl blends her passion about food security with pragmatic approaches to support community initiatives. As Regional Food Security Coordinator, Caryl played a pivotal role in bringing together the food security network from up and down the island to strengthen relationships and share learnings. Thank you Caryl, for your very hard work and your important contributions to food security.

Jarrod Gunn-McQuillan (Jarrod.GunnMcQuillan [at] - use @ symbol and remove spaces when emailing) has very ably taken on the role of Regional Food Security Coordinator. Jarrod brings with him a diverse background including farming and agriculture research, community development, food systems and community food security work as a community nutritionist. Click here to read about changes to VIHA's Communtiy Food Action Initiative and to learn more about their Community Food Security Hubs.


A pit cook meal
A pit cook by Pakki and Henry
Chipps in the Scianew First Nation.
Photo by Fiona Devereaux

Feasting for Change: Reconnecting to Food, Land and Culture

Submitted by Fiona Devereaux

The Feasting for Change Project is a broadly representative group working collaboratively to support Aboriginal Communities in South Vancouver Island to enhance their food sovereignty. The purpose of the group's project is to bring Aboriginal Peoples in south Vancouver Island together around traditional food feasts to discuss food security and food sovereignty in their communities. The goal is to identify community-specific issues around food and inspire action to address these issues. Read an update on the project's activities.




Learning, Growing, Recovering: VIPIRG Urban Agriculture

Submitted by VIPIRG's Urban Agriculture Working Group

Formed as the "Urban Agriculture Working Group" under the nebulous umbrella of the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group (VIPIRG), a collection of committed community volunteers has banded together to create a growing movement. Our goal? The creation of therapeutic food gardens in Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) facilities. Read more...


Farmlands and Farm Viability

Is our Farmland Growing Estates or Food in BC's Capital Region?

The high cost of land is a significant barrier to the economic viability of farming in the BC's Capital Region. With the average cost of land at more than $100,000 per acre, it is increasingly difficult for people who want to farm to enter the industry, or for existing farmers to access more land to expand their operations. In addition, farmers who are reaching retirement or want to exit the industry are facing the difficult task of farm succession planning. What can we do to make farm land more affordable and accessible? How do we ensure farmland will be used for growing our food (not estates) today and in the future?

This question will be explored at the "Our Farmlands, Our Foodlands, Our Future", Forum to be held in Sidney on November 27, 2008, at the Mary Winspear Centre. Read more...


Farm Assessment Review Consultations

The Farm Assessment Review Panel kicked off its provincewide consultation meetings for the Farm Assessment Review in Saanich on September 16th, 2008. The panel is still accepting written submissions and is actively encouraging residents to send in their ideas regarding assessment policies. Their website is, email

CR-FAIR made a presentation to the panel, alongside many others from this region. CR-FAIR's message was to ensure that any changes to Farm Tax policy guarantee: enhanced production and productive lands, support for young, new and developing farm operations, the fostering of responsible land stewardship, and encouragement and respect of the viability of farmers and farming.

Read the media release on the review consultations from the Ministry of Small Business and Revenue


Island Chefs' Survival Challenge for Madrona Farm a Sweet Success

By Karen Platt

Chefs rowing to 'condiment island'

Chefs in the Survival Challenge
row to 'Condiment Island'

Photo by Karen Platt


In early October, 10 of Victoria's finest chefs demonstrated exactly how far they were willing to go in the name of fresh, local ingredients in the Island Chefs' Survival Challenge at Madrona Farm. The event was a fundraiser for the Friends of Madrona Farm Society to purchase Madrona Farm for protection in a land trust with The Land Conservancy of BC.
Read more about this event.

Chef with his freshly collected vegetables from Madrona Farm

Chefs with freshly foraged
Madrona Farm vegetables
Photo by Karen Platt
While the overall fundraising goal to protect Madrona Farm is $2.5 million, the Friends of Madrona Farm Society must raise a deposit of $250,000 on the property by December 5, 2008. More information about the campaign, please visit Tax deductible donations can be made at


Sooke Farm Forum and Harvest Feast

On Saturday, October 25th the Sooke Farm Forum and Community Festival will be held with the goal of helping build a sustainable and food-secure future. Sooke Food CHI (supported by the District of Sooke) and the Juan de Fuca Economic Development Commission are pleased to host this special day at Edward Milne Community School in Sooke, capped by an evening Harvest Feast celebrating local foods and the region's culinary excellence. For details visit the Forum and Feast website, To read details on the Feast, click here.


Food and Climate Change

Menu for the Future - Sustainability Discussion Courses

In response to a growing need to consider the larger implications of our food choices and understand food's relationship to sustainability, the Canadian Earth Institute is offering the newest of their seven sustainability discussion courses, Menu for the Future. Read more....


Small Farming is the Future

Article from the Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin), by Jim Goodman

Napoleon wanted France to be bigger. He wanted more land. Nothing stopped him until Waterloo. Have we, the human race, met our Waterloo? Have we finally hit the wall with our never-ending desire for "bigness"?

I decided years ago that I didn't want my farming operation to get bigger. I liked milking 45 cows, raising their feed and doing a little direct marketing. I liked being small. Read the full article here



Click here to see a calendar of food related events going on in the region.


Local Foods Recipe: Blackberry and Hemlock Teas

Submitted by Fiona Devereaux

Fresh blackberries
Photograph courtesy of
Taylor Kennedy Photography

Berry Iced Tea

Berry Flavoured Herbal tea
Hot water
Ice and/or Frozen Berries

1) Place 1 cup (8 oz) of water in microwave and heat on high for 2 minutes (until boiling).
2) Place 1 single serve size bag of blackberry tea (or tea of your choice) in water and let steep for 8 minutes.
3) Fill a 16 oz or 20 oz glass with ice (depending on how strong you like your iced tea – the less ice, the stronger the flavor).
4) Remove the tea bag from the boiled water. Use a spoon to squeeze all of the water out of the tea bag into the cup. Pour the tea over the ice/berries.
5) You may want to top with a sprig of mint or a slice of lemon. Enjoy your refreshing, no-calorie drink! Makes 1 serving. Simply increase the amount of water, ice, berries and tea bags proportionally to make more iced tea.


Pacific West Coast Hemlock Tea

This tall evergreen is indigenous to North America and abundant in Pacific Coastal forest. Pacific West Coast Hemlock also known as Western Hemlock or Pacific hemlock not the same as what most people know as hemlock, which is poisonous plant from Europe. Pacific West Coast Hemlock is available year round but the springtime needles make the best tea.

4 tsp Pacific West Coast Hemlock needles, dried and loosely ground

4 cups of boiling water

In a teapot combine needles and boiling water and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain and serve

Click here to download these and other recipes in pdf format. These recipes from Where People Feast, An Indigenous People's Cookbook, by Dolly and Annie Watts., Arsenal Pulp Press, 2007.