One of the luxuries of living in Canada is we don’t usually spend a lot of time worrying about food.
Times are changing, though, and members of the North Thompson Sustainable Watershed Committee have developed a Food Action Plan for the North Thompson, committee chair Ted Richardson reports, “The main thrust is to make local, healthy, nutritious food available. It’s all tied to long term sustainability.”
The plan is part of a three-year food certainty project funded by Interior Health Authority, Richardson said.
It is intended to focus and provide direction for projects and policies that will strengthen the regional food system.
Richardson gave as an example adding value to local food products.
Most farmers in the area only produce commodity products, he said. Adding value through such things as processing can result in higher returns to the farmers.
The action plan called for a meeting of food industry stakeholders to address the value-chain situation. It also calls for an assessment of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to processing local food in the North Thompson and work to improve existing conditions.
The Food Action Plan developed out of four evening forums held in Chu Chua, Barriere, Clearwater and Blue River last spring and early summer. Asset mapping was used to address the issue of food certainty. Small groups then brainstormed to identify actions or projects. Those ideas were then organized into the action plan.
The action plan identifies five main categories of existing or potential actions: education and awareness programs; food access programs; market information; resources, opportunities and collaborations; and food policy and funding.
The Committee will be meeting next week in Barriere to take the project to its next level, which will be an implementation plan and schedule.