RVCS Food Security Program
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 Security Program Philosophy
Robson Valley Community Services is an agency that works to support and uplift vulnerable populations in our community. Food insecurity is caused by inadequate income. The effects of food insecurity flood into many facets of someone’s life including physical and mental health.
In 2021, 1 of 6 Canadians  in provinces across Canada experienced some level of household food insecurity. Employees at our agency make connections with folks in our community and are in an ideal position to offer support and access to free food options available at our offices. We value the dignity of the people we serve and reflect this in the models we use in our food security program. Our Food Security and Food Literacy programs strive to offer choice, confidentiality and low barrier access to our programs. Below are some of the ways you can access our food security program.
RVCS Food Security Services
1. Free Food Pantry – Valemount & McBride
Our free food pantry is available to anyone who expresses need.
It is open during business hours in each community. Everyone is able to access this service including clients, community members and folks experiencing homelessness. The food in the pantry is non-perishable food that comes from grant money and donations.
We also offer gift cards when available for folks to spend at the local grocery stores. We believe that this is the most dignified access to food (Gift cards are limited to 1 per adult each month)
2. Free Food Farm Stand – Valemount
Our Free Food Farm Stand is located in the lobby at 99 Gorse street Valemount and open during our business hours. This program reduces 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. Take what you need/want, eat it at home (after you wash it), trade your own garden produce for food others have grown, 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.
3. Food Literacy Programs – Valemount & McBride
Throughout the year we offer food literacy workshops that teach folks about gardening, cooking, budgeting, and more. This includes Food Skills For families which is a 6-week program all about healthy eating and community. We run food security programs and Valemount and McBride, check out our social media and newsletter for details.
4. Community Garden – Valemount
The Valemount Community garden a space for folks to grow food for themselves and community. There are rented beds where members pay $25 per year and volunteer 8 hours over the summer to grow food for their family.
Every year we host workshops and opportunities for learning at the garden. Surplus food that is grown in community beds goes into our Free Food Farm stand where it is accessible to folks in our community.
5. Seed Library – Valemount
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.
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:
If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact email@example.com.
Check out our Community Food Offerings Calendar to find out when and where food services are happening.
Very few foods have an expiry date. Most foods display a best before date. This confusion continues to be a major source of avoidable food waste in Canada.
Food is still edible after the best before date has passed. This guide helps you clarify when food can be donated and consumed past the best before date. Always use your senses to evaluate food quality if food is past the best before date.
While food may be edible past the best before date, non-profits cannot always use this type of food. Please try to donate food as fresh as possible.
Image courtesy of Jack Sparrow from Pexels