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.

 

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.

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

 

Image courtesy of Jack Sparrow from Pexels