Most of the food that people buy at the grocery store is produced hundreds, often thousands of kilometres from where it’s bought. It’s something that a lot of us don’t think about. But for Jodi Kay, Revelstoke Local Food Initiative’s new coordinator, it’s critically important.
“If the highway closes, the shelfs at the grocery store get thin pretty quick,” said Kay. “And so many people here are growing their own food. So we do a lot of education, because it’s really easy to keep things pretty localized, and it’s better for the community, and it’s better for the environment.”
The Local Food Initiative grew out of the North Columbia Environmental Society four years ago.
Since its inception, it has been committed to ensuring the vitality of our local food system. It does so by educating the local residents, advocating on behalf of local agrarians, facilitating discussion, and providing educational workshops.
Those workshops are multigenerational, and Kay says it all starts with the kids.
“It can be as simple as one kid taking care of one seed,” said Kay. “They say that kids don’t like vegetables, but if they grow their own tomato and eat it, it’s a totally different experience.”
The first of their regular workshops of the new year took place last weekend.
On Sunday about 30 local residents crowded into the Community Centre to attend a Garden Guru workshop on beekeeping. Ron Glave, a local beekeeper, talked about the kind of equipment necessary to care for bees.
But these events are about so much more than the particulars. They help local residents understand the critical importance of cultivating their own food, and ensuring their own food security.
One such workshop that Kay led was called the 100 Mile Diet. It forced her to consider exactly where each of the items she consumed was coming from.
Because of that experience, she stopped purchasing avocados, bananas or sweet potatoes, all of which can’t be sourced locally.
But an awareness of ecology and farming is nothing new to the native of Nolton, Que., who grew up in the rural Eastern Townships, and studied kinesiology at McGill University.
“I was really lucky. My mom always had a really big garden,” said Kay. “Food in general has always been a huge part of my life.”
Kay said that her passion for food was a big part of why she decided to move to Revelstoke. In fact, she had always wanted to move here and was following some local job postings from Montreal when she saw this position two years ago. She wasn’t offered the job then, but ended up moving and volunteering regularly for the organization.
“It was a natural growth,” said Kay.
Kay thinks that any sort of ecological awareness of the impact of our diet starts with education, and she said she looks forward to what the new year and her new position will bring to the community.
For more information, or to hear about some of the LFI’s events, visit: www.revelstokelocalfood.com