Spring is in the air and it’s the beginning of a new growing season. It’s an exciting time of year where life regenerates itself and the world is full of possibility.
This past weekend heralded the start of the gardening scene with North Thompson residents swapping and buying local and heritage seeds at the Clearwater Seedy Saturday. Whether you grow your own food in a backyard garden or buy locally through the farmer’s markets and local retailers, access to local food is an increasingly important issue for our valley and the entire planet.
In an effort to improve local food security, the North Thompson Food Action Network has created a new food security website for our valley: www.bcfoodactionnetwork.com. Are you wondering, “What is food security?”, “Why should I care about this new website?”, and “Who is the North Thompson Food Action Network?”
According to Wikipedia, food security refers to the availability of food and one’s access to it. “Community food security exists when all citizens obtain a safe, personally acceptable, nutritious diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes healthy choices, community self reliance and equal access for everyone” – Bellows and Hamm, 2003.
The purpose of the bcfoodactionnetwork.com website is to:
• Create awareness of local foods available to the residents of the North Thompson Valley by connecting consumers with local food producers
• Provide directories of local food producers, processors, retailers, restaurants, community gardens, farmer’s markets, feed and seed suppliers, nurseries, food banks, and vendors of farm equipment
• Provide resources for local food producers and processors
• Teach consumers why and how to eat locally
• Keep locals current with blogs and news and an events calendar
• Provide health-related information through healthy recipes, health tools, and links to reliable resources through the Interior Health Authority
• Provide information about gardening, fishing and hunting, and wild food
• Provide helpful links, publications, and how to’s
Food Security is a world-wide concern that affects all communities, large and small. Increasingly, the cost of fossil fuel, which is a key resource for production, processing and transporting food, is impacting the price and availability of healthy food.
Added to this, climate change also will be increasingly affecting food production with the potential for major crop failures, water shortages, and significant changes in weather patterns and temperature regimes. Certainly, the warmer temperatures will affect water supplies as glaciers retreat and are unable to sustain late summer stream flows, thus affecting irrigation of crops.
All these factors will impact food production and availability in the North Thompson, and therefore action is necessary to manage how these changes impinge upon our ability to provide adequate supplies of food at affordable prices. Thus, efforts are needed to grow our own local food with the least amount of use of fossil fuels (or their derivatives such as chemical fertilizers) for production, processing and transportation. Therefore strengthening our own local food systems is of paramount importance. This new website is one step in improving communication and education about our local food security, which in turn is one small step towards improving the sustainability of our valley and the world at large.
The North Thompson Food Action Network is a non-profit working group of dedicated North Thompson volunteers whose purpose is to help improve food security in the North Thompson Valley by strengthening our local food system through communication, education, and by championing local food security initiatives. The funding for the creation of North Thompson Food Action website was provided through the Interior Health Authority and the Real Estate Foundation. The food security initiatives undertaken by the North Thompson Food Action Network are guided by an Advisory Committee comprised of the following representatives: Leslie Groulx, District of Clearwater, Clearwater; Jill Hayward, North Thompson Star/Journal, Barriere; Simone Jennings, Interior Health Authority, Kamloops; Shelly Loring, Simpcw First Nation, Chu Chua; Sharon Neufeld, Forest House, Clearwater; Virginia Smith, District of Barriere, Barriere; Melissa Williams, Public-at-Large, Blue River
We urge you to check out the website at www.bcfoodactionnetwork.com. Your input is welcomed to help this website evolve to meet the needs of our community. Please submit comments, healthy recipes, food-related news, events, and more to: www.bcfoodactionnetwork.com/contact.
Happy spring and healthy eating to you.