|Food Sustainability on Vancouver Island . 100 Mile Diet . Supporting Local Food Producers. Purchasing Local Products.|
Food Security Issues on Vancouver Island
"Food Security" means that all members of our society have access to enough food at all times. The food must be nutritious, sufficient, safe and environmentally sustainable. Presently on Vancouver Island, we do not have food security. 90% of our food is brought in from the outside. There are 6 food banks in the Cowichan Valley alone. There are many schools which have had to institute food programs for the students.
In this day of increased demand for locally grown and produced food, why does American food cost less than Canadian food? Why is it cheaper to buy a big mac than it is to make a really good salad? This article explains a little about American Federal food subsidies.
It is said that there are only 3 days' worth of frresh food on the Island to feed its populace in the non-summer months. Should the price of fuel continue to rise the way it has, we could find ourselves being priced out of the ability to pay for such exotic items as Idaho Potatoes.
Congratulations must go to the Cowichan Green Community for engaging in the development of the Cowichan Food Charter and for taking it to every local government in the region. I am happy to report that all four municipalities and the Regional District signed it unanimously. Enough local food as a right. Wow. That I should have lived to see this day!
Check out this new video, "Home is Where the Food is," produced here on Vancouver Island.
"The Hundred Mile Diet" has become popular recently, but for us island dwellers, 100 miles would put us into the Fraser Valley, Bellingham and Port Angeles. Therefore we prefer to discuss the Vancouver Island Diet, or "the Island Diet."
As part of this discussion, you will come across words you may find unfamiliar such as "locavore" and "ecoastronomy." You can check out the definitions on our Glossary page.
The graph below is pretty easy to understand. It starts in the 1980ís and runs up to 2005r. It shows that under the Socreds, the NDP and, now, the Liberals, British Columbia has failed farmers and farming. The top line is the average (not the best, the average) of support by Canadian Provinces. The bottom line is BC. As long as this condition continues to exist no Minister, no Cabinet and no Premier will be able to turn things around for the farmer. Essentially, we are the least competitive jurisdiction for this particular form of business in Canada.
The Vancouver Island Diet means not only eating food produced on the island (by becoming a locavor), but supporting our local farmers, fishers and food producers by providing them with a decent livelihood. It means taking the trouble to seek out producers of all kinds of products that we use on a daily basis and making the very political decision to shop locally. It means asking the managers of local stores to clearly label where foods and products are from the Island.
To date there have been several successful programs such as "Fruit Save," a program to collect uneaten fruit off local trees and deliver it to the food bank; community gardens; "Field to Table," run by Cowichan Community Kitchens; Plant Education and "Food Chain," a component of Cowichan Green Community's Food Futures Cowichan program and "Grow a Row," a program to encourage home gardeners to grow an extra row for the food bank.
The Food Action Coordinating Team in Ladysmith completed it's study on Food Security in 2007 and made many useful recommendations around access to grocery stores, packaging, inadequate home storage and cooking equipment and the lack of community policy on Food Security.
But more needs to be done. Local governments are working with farmers' organizations and the rest of the community to make food security not just a dream, but a reality. For instance the City of Duncan may be requiring future developers of multi-family residential developments to build in food production areas on the property. This could be fruit trees or raised garden beds or grapes, but the land will have to be set aside.
This website is an attempt to make the search for local producers and farmers easier. You will be able to search out producers by product, by area or by name by going to our Food Producer's page.
Yes! And upon request, we are including a recipe page, especially for those weird-to-cook winter vegetables!
Want to find out about the anonymous group of poultry that has been sending a local city councillor postcards for the past coule of years? Click here for Chickens Anonymous.
Vancouver Island Diet, island diet, Victoria 100 mile diet, Nanaimo 100 mile diet, Duncan 100 mile diet, Vancouver Island 100 mile diet, Campbell River 100 mile diet.
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