Evidence-based Food systems policy development project

We all know things are changing – the weather is weird any time of the year; spring freshets are not happening the way they used to and are having an impact on water levels and flooding; increased heat and wildfire smoke is affecting livestock, tree fruit and crops. What does all this mean for our region’s food systems and how might local government planning processes and documents be adapted to accommodate the changes so that our food systems can continue to be viable and thrive?

The Evidence-based policy development project proposes to answer these questions over an 18 month, phased project. In collaboration with the Regional District of Central Kootenay, Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre, the Rural Development Institute, and the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, the Council will lead an analysis of geospatial data about our region to identify what factors support and which ones hinder viable, vibrant food systems. The outcomes of this research will be used to create an evidence-base for future policy development on matters like set-backs from changing waterways, for better understanding where land suitable for agriculture is also most affordable to assist new farmers getting onto the land, or to flag which farming communities are most at risk from wildfire or flooding.

The project will also include the creation and delivery of educational programming to help students and adults in the region to demystify public policy and encourage effective public participation in creating policy that will foster food security in our region. The goal of the project is to take policy development out of the realm of either ad hoc or current hot button issues and create a clear evidence base for change that will best serve the communities and land base of the Central Kootenay for the long-term.

This project is made possible with funding from the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia. The Evidence-based Policy Development Project is made possible with funding from the Columbia Basin Trust. The Central Kootenay Food Policy Council also acknowledges the support of the the following RDCK Directors: Garry Jackman, Aimee Watson, Ramona Faust, Tom Newell, Hans Cunningham, Walter Popoff, and Paul Peterson.

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