The Covid-19 epidemic is challenging and changing many aspects of our lives. Disruption in our food system has caused a lot of uncertainty and stress. We rely on a vast network of global food supply chains to ensure that our grocery store shelves are kept stocked. Unfortunately, this system lacks resilience in times of crisis.
Covid-19 has meant some farmers can’t plant or harvest as usual. There’s been instances of meat processing plants, shipping, and trucking all being negatively impacted. Hoarding and panic buying have only worsened the situation. The only upside of empty shelves and long lines at the grocery store has been a renewed interest in cultivating a more resilient food system.
The Kamloops Food Policy Council (KFPC) is joining that effort by launching our ‘Resiliency Gardening’ campaign. It’s all about encouraging people to share and work together to grow more food locally. It’s also meant to be fun and full of healing for body and spirit in these stressful times. Your donation will help us continue to offer on-the-ground projects to help build a resilient local food system.
Some of the ways we are doing this are:
1) Launching a Cooperative Garden - the Butler Urban Farm across from the Kamloops Food Bank has been in food production for several years, but this year we are taking over the space and inviting participation from individuals and groups who want to help out in return for a share in the harvest. Aspiring gardeners can help out on the main plot or take over a section on their own. We want to produce as much food as we can and share it widely. Our proximity to the food bank means we have easy access to a recipient for any surplus veggies we produce.
2) Offering Virtual Gardening Classes - As an added support, we are offering a free online vegetable gardening program for participants at the Butler Urban Farm. We want people to experience success and go away with the skills to grow food on their own. If space permits, these classes will be opened up to the general public. We want as many people as possible to increase their food production skills!
3) Supporting Neighbourhood Gleaning - Our popular Gleaning Abundance Program has become a mainstay of the Kamloops harvest season and regularly distributes thousands of pounds of fruit and vegetables to local social agencies, while preventing food waste and providing opportunities for volunteers to help out in return for a share in the harvest. This year, we will be working on adjusting our model to comply with social distancing and to make this program more self-sustaining and neighbourhood-based.
4) Promoting Backyard Sharing - this is a great example of mutual aid - folks with garden space to share connect with neighbors in search of a place to grow food. The Young Agrarians have created an online Garden Share platform to match people up. It's free to use and easy to sign up.
5) Community Seed Library - We are continually building our collection of locally-grown seed in order to share it widely with the community. This year, because of cancellations of public events like Seedy Saturday, our seed distribution was limited, but we did supply free seed to the Boys and Girls Club, Family Tree Centre, and the Mount Paul Community Food Centre.
All of these programs are offered free of charge, but we welcome contributions from those who can afford it. Please consider donating to help us continue this important work.