What’s for dinner – tomorrow, the day after, and the day after that? This was essentially the bigger question representatives at the B.C. Food Systems Network were trying to answer at their 13th Annual Gathering, held last week at the 100 Mile House Lodge Conference Centre. Ecotrust Canada’s Stephanie Hughes (Community Coordinator, Clayoquot Forest Communities Program) was there, taking part in the important discussions being held around food security.

Following a theme of resiliency and diversity, the gathering set out to “inquire into the attributes and processes that will increase the ability of diverse individuals, groups, and communities to overcome the stress and uncertainty associated with food insecurity.”

Recognizing that there is “much to be learned from previous generations who teach of ways to overcome the stress and uncertainty of not knowing where the next meal is going to come from,” the gathering included and embraced representatives of all ages at all levels of involvement, including strong First Nations representation. From home gardeners to policy makers, the feeling was that when it comes to food, and its future, we’re all experts. After all, we all need to eat. With this established, the time was devoted to exploring ways for individuals, families and communities to adapt to changes and respond and manage stress associated with food insecurity by:

  • Coming to a deeper understanding of the attributes and processes associated with resiliency and diversity;
  • Exploring the unique challenges to creating food policies, specifically within B.C.;
  • Fostering the generation and transmission of local and traditional knowledge;
  • Appreciating and building on strengths;
  • Identifying ways to decrease reliance on high energy inputs and create local systems.

The discussion being held around the development of a province-wide food security policy was a particular highlight. Should this happen, B.C. would be leading the way, creating a model for other provinces, both at home and abroad, to follow. Discussions on traditional food protein sources, such as fish and game, were also valuable in this regard, with the work being done by Ecotrust Canada’s Thisfish program – and how it could be translated to working with Cariboo and other traditional First Nation food sources – recognized as having huge potential.

With everyone being given equal voice when it comes to protecting our future, the gathering built a strong base to work from so that our children’s children too will have food worth talking about.

Continuing the conversation

Stephanie, who already sits on the working group for the Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities Indigenous Food Network, was also asked to sit on the Working Group for the province wide BC Indigenous Food Systems Network during this conference. Congratulations!