The International Day of Action for Peoples’ Food Sovereignty and against Transnational Corporation is organized by La Via Campesina annually to mobilize people and organizations in solidarity against commoditization of food systems and intensive farming methods. The Kamloops Food Policy Council shares an overwhelming amount of similarities with La Via Campesina. As an organization, we value a food system that is resilient in the face of climate change and economic disturbances. The detrimental effects of monoculture and toxic agro-chemical inputs used to increase the scale of production diminishes biodiversity and soil health. La Via Campesina insists that it is #TimetoTransform our society through peasant agroecology and food sovereignty. The term “Peasant Agroecology” was coined as a way of life that promotes indigenous food sovereignty, food literacy, a food commons and local economic vitality. It is built upon the exchange of indigenous knowledge and the sharing of traditional seeds. Peasant farmers who practice agroecology produce food in a sustainable and balanced way that reflects the interconnectedness of food, people and nature. The peasant food system promotes solidarity and sovereignty over competition and profits. As a result, farmers are compensated fairly and equitable labor conditions are promoted.
In the Assessment of the Kamloops Food System report prepared by Emily Pletsch and Robyn McLean, projects focused on Indigenous food sovereignty include the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty, the Indigenous food and Freedom School, Wild Salmon Caravan, Qwemtsin Health Society Food Sovereignty Team and the “Knowing Our Roots” Advisory Committee in Skeetchestn.
The Kamloops Food Policy Council assists the region with transformation by collaborating on significant projects and initiatives, however, believes for there to be a restoration of ecological and decolonization food systems, our motives for our food system requires a shift.
Food literacy is moderately developed in our region as programs and workshops are offered through the Kamloops Food Policy Council and organizations in our network.
A soil health institute for farmers is currently in the works to promote intergenerational, Indigenous knowledge transfer and encourage peasant agroecology. La Via Campesina explains that for the society to resist the current exploitative industrial food system, we must produce, buy and eat locally.
With the advent of community gardens such as the Butler Urban Farm and initiatives to promote a sharing economy such as the Gleaning Abundance Program, the Kamloops Food Policy Council strengthens food sovereignty by producing, and consuming locally grown food. This includes consumption through the processing of excess fruits gleaned, using the pop-cycle program as a means to prevent food wastage. The Butler Urban Farm draws from principles of permaculture and peasant agroecology to regenerate a productive soil that grows nutrient-dense vegetables.
The pandemic has brought to the limelight how fragile our food system truly is. Taking inspiration from La Via Campesina, we encourage our network and community in Kamloops to promote a resilient food system by buying, consuming and producing food locally. Other ways you can support the food system is by volunteering your time by assisting the Kamloops Food Policy Council Gleaning Abundance Program, taking part in our network meetings and social media to provide ideas and help develop initiatives to move our food system forward.