1) Would you be willing to work with the Shuswap Food Action Society to develop a Salmon Arm Food Strategy that sets priorities for and guides ongoing food-focused policy initiatives and projects (including adding food security language into relevant areas of the OCP)?
Yes. I have, over the years been involved with the organization, and with other food organizations such as the COABC and small producers as part of my work as a design and marketing consultant. As a councillor, I understand the fundamental challenge of food security even despite the fact that “Food” as a category doesn’t typically fit within municipal jurisdiction. So I want to acknowledge that it has been an uphill climb to put this on the municipal political radar and I admire your resolve and dedication. But as cities increasingly recognize their moral (if not jurisdictional) responsibility to play a role in ensuring food security as it relates to healthy communities, the narrative has, thankfully, changed for the better. It’s my view that the OCP will need an update in the next term and I am committed to seeing food security included in that as a fundamental pillar of a healthy community. As chair of the Shuswap Healthy Communities Coalition, I have always advocated for a voice for food security and economic sustainability of local producers. Healthy people make good decisions and health comes from nutrition, belonging and active living.
2) From your perspective, what would be one priority project related to food and agriculture over your term?
We need to integrate the work done by the CSRD’s Shuswap Agricultural Strategy, the Shuswap Food Action’s mandate, Interior Health initiatives and the Salmon Arm Economic Development’s Agricultural initiative as well as our social development agencies food security initiatives (community gardens, food banks, gleaning programs) into a comprehensive food policy for the City. The work is being done at several levels but requires a coordinated assembly of efforts, goals and objectives. We do not have a food problem. We have a food distribution problem. Of them, in terms of a number one priority, I will advocate for Salmon Arm, given the current Provincial governments focus on local food, for the establishment of a commercial kitchen (aka food hub) for food producers and healthy food education here in an accessible, public and affordable space. I want kids to learn how to cook. And seniors to know that the kids can make them healthy meals. This is within our reach. And if re-elected (or not), I will continue to advocate for that.
As an aside, I attended on workshop on this very topic early in my term and it shocked me to hear that if there is a major earthquake in Vancouver, we would run out of food in three days. That was a rally cry for me. And I won’t ever forget that. And I won’t ever stop trying.
Thanks again for all you do.