What is Food Security? 

It is the state of having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. Food Security is built on three pillars:

    1. Food availability: sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis.
    2. Food access: sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet.
    3. Food use: appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.

 

 

Why is Food Security Important?

Food Security is a global concern that impacts communities of all sizes. Increasingly, the cost of fossil fuel, which is a key resource for production, processing and transporting food, is impacting the price and availability of nutritious food. Add on the compound effects of climate change, and this, too, is increasingly affecting food production with the potential for major crop failures, water shortages, and significant shifts in weather patterns and temperatures fluctuations.

All these factors will impact food production and availability in the Robson Valley, and therefore action is necessary to manage how these changes impinge upon our ability to provide adequate supplies of food at affordable prices. Thus, efforts are needed to grow our own local food with the least amount of use of fossil fuels (or their derivatives such as chemical fertilizers) for production, processing and transportation. Therefore strengthening our own local food systems is of paramount importance.

 

The RVCS Food Literacy Program

RVCS provides low-barrier access to all programs, and delivers service with the aim of accessibility and inclusion for all clients. RVCS Food Security Program aims to integrate food access into all of our programs as a way to increase food security by decreasing barriers, decreasing stigma, and providing opportunities to develop food literacy in our community. We achieve this in the following ways:

  1. Integrating food in RVCS programs– this may look like having food available during drop-in programs and 1:1 sessions or sending food home in children’s backpacks during youth programs.
  2. Facilitating food literacy programs- clients receive the benefit of increasing their food literacy skills, and also receive a take-home container of prepared food from that workshop.
  3. Collaborating with the community to deliver food literacy workshops- hosting and facilitating community-led workshops by local knowledge keepers, builds community and natural support systems for people.
  4. Develop and maintain monthly community food offering calendar- promote all free, low-cost or locally produced food offerings in the Robson Valley, which is found online on our website.
  5. Distributing free meal and pantry items to clients in emergency situations. – The Safe Home Program supports women and their children fleeing violent situations, at all hours of the day and night. Our food security program supports them by providing food and other essential items that they may need.
  6. Advocating for food sovereignty – Client participation in programs and workshops have been incentivized by the ability to give participants gift cards to purchase food that they choose that meets their nutritional, or cultural needs.
  7. Receiving rescued food from organizations- we utilize rescued food by preparing and cooking with it to then be used for integration into existing RVCS programs.
  8. Developing and maintaining a Community Garden- The community garden provides space for people to grow their own food and participate in gardening workshops. We have collaborated with both elementary and high school to grow food with students to develop healthy lifelong relationships to food.
  9. Robson Valley Food Security Round Table Group- Facilitate annual meetings with interested community members, stakeholders and organizations interested in increasing our community’s food security across the Robson Valley.
  10. Professional Development- RVCS Food Security staff implement best-practice measures which are learned through vetted training and webinars, and contribute monthly to a community of practice through the BC Food Security Gateway.

 

RVCS Food Security Services

 

1. Free Food Farm Stand & Free Pantry 

Our Free Food Farm Stand is located in the lobby at 99 Gorse street Valemount and open during our business hours. This program is part of RVCS’s Food Security Program. It helps reduce wasted food, makes local produce accessible and free, and increases emergency food access to folks in the Valley.

By making this fridge accessible to everyone, we are working to reduce the stigma of accessing free food. Food is a human right and choosing the food we want to eat is a human dignity. Take what you need/want, eat it at home (after you wash it), trade your own garden produce for food others have grown, and/or donate to our food security program so we can continue to feed folks throughout the winter.

    • The food in this fridge is FREE and for Everyone
    • The food has been donated by local growers or harvested from the Valemount Community Garden
    • Only take what you need/want
    • Only leave food that is good to eat (not rotten or damaged)
    • Wash all food from fridge when you get home
    • No processed food- Processing means, cutting, washing, freezing, canning, cooking etc…
    • If you have grown a surplus and want to trade one vegetable for another this is the place for you!

 

  • If you would like to give back, consider donating to our food security program or volunteering at the Valemount Community Garden.

 

 

2. Valemount Seed Library 

Our seed library started in the fall of 2022.  It is currently located in the lobby at 99 Gorse street Valemount and is accessible whenever we are open.  Everyone is welcome to borrow or donate seeds however we ask that you take a few minutes to read about what seed libraries are and agree to try and save seeds to give back to the library at the end of the growing season.

 

Why participate in a seed library?

Seed libraries allow for sharing of seeds within a community. Seed saving saves money, produces seeds that have local adaptations, increases the genetic diversity of seeds, and gives the gardener the ability to save seeds that have favorable characteristics like colour and flavour.

 

Seed saving terminology

Hybrid Seeds: are created by crossing plants of two different varieties, generally they do not produce offspring with the same traits as the parent plant.

Open-pollinated Seeds: produce plants that are very similar to the parent.

Heirloom seeds: are open-pollinated varieties with a history of being handed down from generation to generation.

 

How it works:

    • Check out the catalogue
    • Grow the seeds in your garden and use resources (books, workshops, friends) to learn how to save the seeds.
    • Keep track of:
      • Name and date
      • How well it grew
      • If you liked the taste or look
      • Take a photo
    • Dry and clean the seeds. Keep some for yourself and return the rest to the library.
    • We also accept donations of commercial seeds.
    • Do your seeds have a story? Have they been passed down from your great aunt? Feel free to share the story with us on the donation package.

 

Link to donation form: https://forms.gle/YsZEnDBKzwzSdQbv6 

Questions to Foodsecurity@rvcsbc.org 

 

If you are new to seed saving check out these resources:

Online
Books
    • The Valemount Library has a great selection of seed saving books. Check out their catalogue and talk to the librarians.
Workshops
    • RVCS runs seed saving workshops annually. Keep your eyes out in the fall.

 

 

 

If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact foodsecurity@rvcsbc.org.

 

 

Image courtesy of Jack Sparrow from Pexels