How do we create a local food system that is robust and resilient?
NELSON’S GROWING FOOD INSECURITY
of food consumed is produced locally
Visits to food banks in 2014
Average number of lunches served at Our Daily Bread in a month
Total amount West Kootenay Residents spend on food each year
CHEW ON THESE ISSUES
Food security includes the whole food chain, from the farm to the table. Nelson’s surrounding geography and relative isolation make it a challenge to grow and transport food in the region. In addition, the population contains an increasing number of vulnerable people who are relying on food banks and free meal programs. The city is striving towards making sure all residents have access to affordable and nutritious food whilst cultivating a local food system that is robust, resilient and integrated with other sustainable food systems. The challenge is working out how to help people grow or purchase more local food, increase the support for vulnerable people to access healthy food and education, and assist local farmers to continue producing fresh food for our community.
The Harvest Rescue program gleans excess produce from backyard gardens and local farms, redirecting the produce to those in need in the community through organisations such as the Nelson Food Cupboard. The produce that is gleaned is split equally between the donor, the volunteer and the distributing organisation. The program collects around 10,000 lb of produce each year, reducing the waste and helping provide valuable local and fresh produce to vulnerable people in our community.
Toronto’s The Stop founded originally as a food bank, in 2001 transitioned to a Community Food Centre, aiming to integrate healthy food access, skills development and community engagement under one roof. The holistic approach has produced real change around issue of food security in the community by recognising that the ability to access healthy food can be related to multiple issues. The programming now includes urban gardens, community kitchens, markets, sustainable food systems education, cooking classes and drop in meals. In 2014 alone, 757 children and youth participated in their education programs, and the kitchen served almost 60,000 hot meals.