The first meeting of the Food Policy Council took place in January 2017. The March 2017 meeting was our first in-person meeting and included a review of the Council’s Terms of Reference, a group process to refine a mission statement, and a discussion of the 2017 Work Plan. Our 2018-19 Work Plan can be found here.

The Council now meets 5 – 6 times per year, with an in person meeting each spring and each autumn and the rest by teleconference. Our in-person meeting take place at various locations around the region. The general public is welcome at any of our in-person meetings. We have an Executive Committee who meet in the months between full Council meetings and oversee the work of the Council Coordinator.

Connecting people and food: Farm & Food Directory

To help introduce residents and visitors in the Central Kootenays to the Food Policy Council, the Council created a region-wide Farm & Food Directory.  The Directory helps connect people to the food of the area and highlights the abundance and the gaps in our foodshed. There is an online version and a printed version which can be found in farmers markets, information centres, libraries and other likely venues across the region. Farms and food processing businesses that operate within the boundaries of the Central Kootenay who wish to be a part of the Directory can follow this Guide to set up an account.

For those who wish to know how we created this Directory that will need minimal effort and external funds to republish each year, this Case Study explains our process.

Where and why we work on food policy

The Central Kootenay Food Policy Council is an independent, community-based non-profit organization, formally linked to local government.

The Food Policy Council’s geographical scope includes both municipal and rural areas within the Regional District of Central Kootenay. The regional scope is especially important in food-systems related research and decision-making, as there are a number of stakeholders that are currently working at a local, corridor, or sub-regional level.

The Food Policy Council is a vehicle to unite the many and disparate actors in sustainable food systems in our region, from those engaged in hunger and access issues, to those working on conservation of water, and others seeking to enhance regional food production. It will support the growth of the food and agriculture sector and the work to ensure that all Central Kootenay residents are well-nourished.

A food system is the place, relationships and activities that connect people to their food. The activities of a food system include production (fishing, farming, gardening and hunting), processing (personal or commercial), distribution, access (generally through grocers, markets, direct from the producer, emergency food providers), consumption and food waste. The full spectrum of food systems activities and needs are within the scope of the Central Kootenay Food Policy Council.

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With upwards of 300 food policy councils across North America, the Council has a host of peers and mentors from which to draw advice, inspiration and lessons. Kamloops Food Policy Council, one of the oldest and most vibrant in the country, was recently featured in this inspirational video. Here is a sampling of what other food policy councils are doing in their respective communities:

Resources and Background Reading Material

The resources below help explain in greater detail what a food policy council is and does.

Puget Sound Food Policy Council: established in 2010, this regional council may be the most relevant model for a Central Kootenay Food Policy Council since it too serves a hydrid of rural and municipal. Among their key resources are: their Food Policy Council One Page Overview; their multi-year Food Policy Action Plan; and their year four Progress Report.

Greater Sudbury Food Policy Council webpage: includes their vision, mission, governance models, decision-making processes and other useful information that will help in the evolution of the Central Kootenay Food Policy Council

The City of Seattle has been a leader in North America in integrating food systems needs into their policy and programming. Their guide to Integrating Food Policy in Comprehensive Planning provides a clear rationale for the role that cities and municipalities play in food systems and includes model policies and program areas.

Municipal Food Policy Entrepreneurs: this preliminary analysis of how Canadian cities and regional districts are engaging in food systems change. The most comprehensive overview of Canadian food policy councils to date. Written by Rod MacRae and Kendal Donahue for the Toronto Food Policy Council, the Vancouver Food Policy Council and the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute.

Food Policy Councils: Lessons Learned: a detailed analysis of 30 years of food policy councils in the USA. Includes analysis of purpose, structure, governance considerations, successes and challenges.

Food Policy Councils in the North American context: this interactive map contains information on food policy councils across North America. Hosted by the John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

Food Policy Councils Briefing Paper: this useful 11 page document was written by Kimberley Hodgson for the American Planning Association as part of their Food System Planning Briefing Paper series. The image below is from this paper and provides a simple and effective graphic of food policy council actors and sectors.