Imagine a healthy, abundant secure local food future. It’s not magic, but it requires a grand vision, cooperation, and buy-in from food producers, stores, restaurants and, most importantly, you.
Local farmers are passionate about growing beautiful, healthy food. But they struggle against a tide of low wages,expensive land, inexpensive imported food, and inadequate local supply systems. Years ago, 75 per cent of the food we consumed in this region was grown locally. Today, that number is down to five per cent. In order to change these statistics, we need to be able to find nutritious and affordable locally grown food everywhere we shop and dine.
The newly formed Kootenay and Boundary Food Producers Co-op has a vision for change. Its goal is to provide much needed infrastructure and support services to food producers in the area: rebuilding a local distribution system, helping to expand markets, creating long-term storage for crops to be stored over winter, and providing access to a value added processing facility. In short, the critical things farmers and processors need to make their businesses viable.
Last year the co-op began the work to build a membership of local farmers and secondary food producers, which is an ongoing priority. They also conducted a successful food distribution pilot between a few farmers, stores and restaurants. These initiatives resulted in the farmer members gaining an extra day to stay on their farm and do what they love — farm.
The co-op is working with all the food groups and associations in the region to ensure we are not duplicating efforts but building stronger together.
If you would like to be a part of making this a reality the co-op needs your help: there is a crowd funding campaign on until Friday. Go to http://igg.me/at/ThrivingKootenayLocal and check out how easy it is to join your community in putting your support behind our local farmers and food processors to bring this vision to life.