Local and Sustainable Food Systems
What is it?
A sustainable, local food system links together production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste diversion in ways that contribute to healthy, vibrant communities. A sustainable food system is economically viable for both workers and consumers, emphasizes foods that are appropriate for the region’s ecosystem, and places value in foods that are nutritious, culturally appropriate and socially just.
Why is it important?
Local and sustainable food systems are a vital part of vibrant, healthy communities. In recent years, there has been rising concern about the resiliency of local food systems.
BC communities are facing challenges – such as climate change, rising oil prices, and development pressure on agricultural land – which affect food security. There are a growing number of initiatives across British Columbia that address these challenges by helping create more local and sustainable food systems.
What is the Foundation’s interest?
We are committed to ensuring that agricultural land can continue to support local food systems. We have a particular interest in land use initiatives that remove barriers and/or contribute to new approaches and practices for sustainable food systems in BC. This includes projects on access to farmland, land planning, development of policy and regulation, as well as mapping and feasibility studies. We’re also interested in building awareness amongst policy makers and the public on the importance of agricultural land and practices, and the infrastructure and supports needed for local food production.
Our goal is to ensure that agricultural land can support local food systems. Four priority areas include:
- Tools, policies and laws to support access to land for all activities required in a local and sustainable food system.
- Applied research on agricultural land planning and governance, and on methods to enhance foodlands and water.
- Research/mapping of under-used municipal land that encourages use of this land by new farmers and food producers.
- Increase understanding and support for sustainable and local food systems by working with local governments. For example, establish and work with food policy councils and develop regional and provincial outreach strategies.
- Expand and coordinate local and sustainable networks that link people and ideas across regions to share information about how sustainable food systems work, lessons learned and ideas for further innovation.
- Applied research on regional food systems that inform both public and professional understanding of BC food systems. For example, tracking methods to identify how much food is produced and consumed within a region.
- Toolkits for municipal governments on how to establish and work with food policy councils.
- Expand networks that link people and ideas across regions to share information about sustainable food system work being done, lessons learned, and ideas for further innovation.
Supporting Food Producers
- Fund collaborations to develop cost-effective delivery of support services to farmers. We prioritize projects that include plans to share results and commit to ongoing review.
- Work with local governments and farmers’ markets to identify appropriate locations for year-round market facilities that meet policy and zoning requirements, and encourage established farmers and new entrants to food system industries.
- Develop mechanisms for local producers to share information about best practices through multimedia on food production, processing, and distribution.
- Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable: Farmland Protection for the 21st Century; Developing Regional and Provincial Land Trusts for BC
- FarmFolk CityFolk Society: Young Agrarians Land Access Guide
- Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society: Educational Market Gardens Guide
- Kwantlen Polytechnic University: Designing a Bio-regional Agri-food System for Southwest BC
- City of Campbell River: Campbell River Food Map