By Michelle Tsutsumi, KFPC Communications Lead
At the end of February, during the Certified Organic Associations of B.C. conference in Vernon, two organizations, in two different regions, showed how they are working towards the same end — getting policies ‘off the shelf’ and into practice. Kamloops Food Policy Council (KFPC) presented with the North Okanagan Land to Table (L2T) Network, both of which are taking the advice of food system participants who want “less talk and more action.” Too often, good plans end up sitting on the shelf gathering dust.
Since 2017, both organizations have reviewed policies, plans, and reports. KFPC and Land to Table have been bringing together individuals and organizations as ‘action teams’ with shared goals. KFPC is presently working with several levels of government, Indigenous communities, and community partners towards:
a) developing training programs for new entrants to agriculture and
b) creating a multi-use food hub and processing facility.
Guided by a steering committee with key partner organizations, Land to Table is basing their work on discussions with their network. From these meetings and forums, Land to Table is focusing on themes within the food system related to
a) environmental sustainability,
b) increasing accessibility to healthy food, and
c) growing the local food economy.
For both groups, it is the relationships with their networks that have made it possible for these ideas to become real-life projects. Since KFPC started in 1995, monthly network meetings have created strong community partnerships. These partnerships have allowed complex projects to move forward. Although Land to Table is a younger organization, they are also rooted in their network of key partner organizations, action teams, and food system participants.
In review, we have a shared goal combined with action teams and thriving networks. What else is needed to bring plans to life? Key to the success of bringing policies to life are backbone support and strong communication. KFPC is providing the backbone support and furthering the process for the training initiatives and food hub action teams that are each 12 to 15 people in size.
For Land to Table, Community Futures is their backbone organization, with a core group of six people guiding the process. At their 2019 Growing Local Connections Between Food and Environment Forum, over 100 people were in attendance. Participants came from local and regional governments, Indigenous communities, post-secondary institutions, producers and processors. Experiencing this forum shed some light onto the reach of Land to Table’s network.
Clear and timely communication is a must for this many people to stay engaged with the process! Communication amongst the action teams is one part of the process. It is also important to keep the broader networks informed through websites, newsletters, and gatherings. If you are keen to learn more about the Kamloops action teams focusing on training initiatives for new entrants to agriculture and a multi-use food hub, please contact michelle@kamloopsfoodpolicy
council.com. Our network meetings are open to everyone with an interest in our food system and happen on the first Wednesday of every month, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., including a legendary potluck.
For more information about these two organizations, visit kamloopsfoodpolicy
council.com or landtotablenetwork.com.