July 9, 2020 – A group of sustainable food systems advocates and leaders presented an Open Letter to the Honourable John Horgan, Premier and the Honourable Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, urging the government to adopt programs and policies that will lead to long term resilience in our food system.
“The Ministry of Agriculture has acted quickly during the pandemic and has taken many positive steps to support local food production, distribution, and accessibility. The pandemic confirms the vulnerability of our global and regional food systems to economic, environmental, health, and social crises,” says Anita Georgy, Executive Director of FarmFolk CityFolk.
Much of our food in BC travels thousands of miles, across many borders, and passes through many hands before reaching our plates. While climate change and the pandemic response are top of mind, our food system also suffers from deep social inequities, biodiversity loss, and water and soil degradation. The flaws in this system are becoming more apparent daily, as we see a range of immediate and medium to long-term impacts across our food systems.
“I believe that now is the time to bring about transformative change to create resilient and sustainable local food systems. The recommendations in the open letter focus on addressing the immediate and long term challenges from both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Georgy.
FarmFolk CityFolk brought together food system leaders to co-develop a powerful, action oriented, achievable plan that aligns with the Ministry of Agriculture’s Service Plan and responds to the current crises.
“Working collaboratively with this group of experts with decades of experience to identify strategies for the provincial government was not only exciting, it also resulted in a broad range of recommendations that address the very real threats that the pandemic and climate change pose to food sovereignty in this province,” added Abra Brynne, Executive Director of the Central Kootenay Food Policy Council. “This letter is an invitation for the government to seize this moment, as we envision what recovery looks like in BC, to collaborate with us on initiatives to build food self-reliance in the province.”
The Open Letter was developed in collaboration with:
Anita Georgy, Executive Director, FarmFolk CityFolk
Abra Brynne, Executive Director, Central Kootenay Food Policy Council
Dr. Kent Mullinix, Director, Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Dr. Hannah Wittman, Academic Director, UBC Centre for Sustainable Food Systems
Harold Steves, Agroecologist, City Councillor, Richmond
Heather O’Hara, Executive Director, BC Association of Farmers Markets
Heather Pritchard, Executive Director, Foodlands Co-operative of BC
Jim McIsaac, Managing Director, BC Commercial Fishing Association
Kathleen Gibson, Sustainable Food Systems Advocate
Linda Geggie, Executive Director, Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable
Mark Gifford, CEO, Real Estate Foundation of BC
Sara Dent, Executive Director, Young Agrarians
Dr. Tammara Soma, Assistant Professor, Simon Fraser University
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