Three receive IHA food security awards

Certificates of recognition presented to three North Thompson residents for their work on food security

North Thompson Food Action Committee members Susan Garland

North Thompson Food Action Committee members Susan Garland

Norm Embry, chair of Interior Health Authority, has given certificates of recognition to three North Thompson residents for their work on food security.

The presentations took place during a Clearwater town council meeting held on Tuesday of last week.

The recipients were Susan Garland of Louis Creek, Ted Richardson of Vavenby and Cheryl Thomas of Clearwater.

Food security is an important initiative that promoted healthy living and lifestyle, said Embry.

The health authority (which covers much of the southern Interior) has spent about $700,000 on the initiative over the past eight years, plus another $200,000 from the federal government.

“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life,” he said, quoting the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Embry noted that access is linked to supply. Food is more secure when it is grown closer to home.

“North Thompson residents have better food security than they did 10 years ago, thanks to these three,” he said.

Working under the name North Thompson Food Action Committee, Garland, Richardson and Thomas have promoted community gardens, farmers markets and a website that includes many local farmers, processors and so on.

The IHA board chair added that Interior Health community nutritionist Rose Soneff and community health facilitator Jenny Green have worked with the group for many years.

In his remarks to thank IHA for the awards, Ted Richardson said he had been amazed by how aware a big organization, such as Interior Health, could be of an issue such as food security.

The success of the local committee had been due to the help they had received from many people from all parts of the Valley, he said. He mentioned several names, including Shelley Loring from Chu Chua, Sharon Neufeld of Upper Clearwater, Barriere’s Jill Hayward, TRU coordinator Sylvia Arduini, and Yellowhead Community Services executive director Jack Keough.

The mayors and councils of Clearwater and Barriere had also been supportive, he said, as well as the chief and council of Simpcw First Nation.