Thought for food: Food Policy Council

Several groups in the area are discussing the launch of a Food Policy Council for Central Kootenay.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK), Community Futures Central Kootenay and the BC Food Systems Network announced recently the launch of a joint project to create a regional Food Policy Council for the Central Kootenay.

The Kootenays are abundant with food production and agricultural activities and this project aims to devise a made-in-the-Kootenays model of a Food Policy Council that will more effectively link such endeavors across organizations and with local government.

Over the course of the next year, project coordinator Abra Brynne will collaborate with key stakeholders in the region to determine the make-up and mandate of a food policy council that will support food systems initiatives across the RDCK. Through careful outreach and consultation with those involved across the food system from social service agencies addressing hunger, to farming, from economic development to education residents of the region will determine which model of council will best serve our communities.

Once established, the Central Kootenay Food Policy Council (CKFPC) will enable effective and regular communications between local government, food initiatives, farming groups and other organizations and individuals engaged in the food system. This will help to help to shift the work on food systems in the region to more strategic, effective and efficient efforts, since it will be easier to identify redundant initiatives and to create effective partnerships.

“Supporting local food production is a natural fit for local government from an economic, social and health standpoint,” said RDCK area A director Garry Jackman.

The mandate for the CKFPC will be broad covering agriculture, community economic development, education, the environment, hunger, health and policy. Among the first duties of the council will be to create and approve a work plan for 2017.

The project is made possible with funding from the Real Estate Foundation of BC, Interior Health, the Osprey Foundation, Community Futures Central Kootenay, and directors of the RDCK as well as the donation of time and expertise from many individuals across the region.