Rural Slaughter Modernization – Call for Input before Nov 16th
The BC government has released an intentions paper and is seeking input on how to make slaughter more accessible and viable for livestock producers.
by Abra Brynne, Executive Director, September 23, 2020
Fields across the Central Kootenay have long been home to assorted grazing animals. From the earliest settlers here, livestock have made important contributions to farm income streams, community food security and to soil fertility. For many people in rural and urban communities, the provisioning of food has included the culture and practice of sourcing meat directly from the farmers who raise the animals.
The change in the BC Meat Inspection Regulations, implemented in 2007, changed all that. Suddenly, a long-standing practice was illegal: farm raised meat could no longer be sold or even given away unless it had been processed in a licensed abattoir. In 2007, no such abattoirs existed in our region. According to a 2008 survey of farmers in Areas E, G, H, and I, 98% of the livestock producers had either reduced or completely eliminated their animals due to the inability to legally slaughter them…
COVID-19 & Food Systems:
NEW DATES: The Food Policy Council continues to engage with those involved in food systems (farmers, food processors and businesses, non-profits, local government) who live and work in the Columbia Basin to discuss our work, our challenges and to help find a path forward in this pandemic – for the immediate and the long term. We are now meeting monthly.
When: FIRST Thursday of each month. The next Roundtable will take place on December 3rd from 1:30 – 3PM Pacific / 2:30 – 4PM Mountain. (Please note NEW time)
Where: On Zoom: https://tinyurl.com/y86bjfhh Click link to join.
Migrant Workers and our food system
On August 12th, The Food Policy Council was pleased to partner with Interior Health in a presentation on Migrant workers provided by Natalie Cryderman and Mio Lainchbury 5th year dietetics Interns. Natalie and Mio presented the outcomes of their research and answered questions from participants. This was the final project in Mio and Natalie’s internship and we wish them well in their new careers!
Righting the World – the journey towards food security
Abra Brynne, Executive Director, 6 April 2020
When my son was little, he had an imaginary version of the world around him that he called “backwards land”. Since I myself did not inhabit backwards land, I had to assume that things were somehow opposite to what I experienced.
More recently, I have wondered about the wisdom of my wee son as I observed the antics and culture predominating in North America. As a one-time classics student, I have not been able shake the image of Emperor Nero fiddling while his Rome burned. It feels like we have all been dancing and spinning faster and faster with the distractions of accumulation and social media in order to avoid facing the reality of the world around us – a world burdened and scarred with the repercussions of extractive, exploitive practices that have resulted in barren, lifeless landscapes, undrinkable water, climate change, and increasing poverty for the many juxtaposed with unimaginable wealth for a privileged few.
COVID-19 may have righted our world – perhaps only temporarily – as it has made it acutely clear what goods and services are actually essential. It has also driven home that it may not be in our individual and collective best interests to have few or distant sources of essential supplies such as the precious N95 masks and, of course, our food.
We have been reassured by representatives of the grocery industry that there is no food shortage. And we are all being exhorted to not hoard. Despite this, many are “stocking up” as they used to say. I would suggest that this has much to do with a natural and innate desire to stave off starvation.
Y2K was a dry run: Reflections on COVID-19 and food
by Abra Brynne, Executive Director, March 24, 2020
In the late 1990’s, I spent the better part of 2 years educating people about how to grow, make, and preserve food in their own homes. It was part of a pro-active measure taken by my then employer, the Kootenay Country Store Cooperative in Nelson BC, to respond constructively to the concern that many were feeling about the possible havoc that Y2K might wreak. Then, as now, people were concerned about the security of their food supply—though less so about toilet paper. If no fuel was available to run the trucks that bring so much of our food, how could we best protect and prepare ourselves locally?
Twenty years on, this novel coronavirus outbreak has made it blatantly apparent that our world is connected and very, very small. As each day passes, it is hard to avoid the news about the dramatic increase of cases in country after country. We are seeing unprecedented closures of borders and commerce in the attempt to contain the spread. And around the globe, people are being told to practice “social distancing” in order to insulate themselves from possible exposure to the virus. The virus is globetrotting while our lives are narrowing into the confines of our homes, if we are lucky enough to have one.
What this coronavirus has made blatantly clear is that relying on long supply chains for the essentials of our lives makes us very vulnerable. In almost thirty years of talking and educating about food systems, my best attempt to make this tangible in the past was to reference highway closures due to avalanches. The fragility of long supply chains is now all too obvious as hospitals struggle to acquire enough masks, never mind ventilators.
It is impossible to know what next week will bring for this pandemic, nor how this will all play out here and around the world. But I hope that this prompts more to embrace the value of local food systems. There is no inherent moral superiority to local food. However, as the breakdown of global supply chains demonstrates, having the source close at hand provides greater security of access. And when it comes to food, which every one of us needs daily, it seems wise to ensure that the basics are covered locally.
Evidence-based Policy development project well underway!
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? By creating an evidence-base! Read more about our Project here.