Sunnyside Farms on a large lot in the Southside area. According to Hailey Ross, there are many large lots in the area that would/could be prime growing areas. (Photo by Bruno Long)

Sunnyside Farms on a large lot in the Southside area. According to Hailey Ross, there are many large lots in the area that would/could be prime growing areas. (Photo by Bruno Long)

The future of Revelstoke’s food ecosystem

Residents can complete a 10 minute survey to help inform the 2022 Food Security Strategy

Consultants are looking for community input in the development of the 2022 Revelstoke Food Security Strategy, which will help guide a path to becoming more food secure.

A strategy was first written in 2014 and is currently being updated.

The project’s steering committee, comprised of community leaders like city councillor Nicole Cherlet, Revelstoke Food security coordinator Melissa Hemphill, Lisa Moore of the Indigenous Friendship Society, and Terra Park of Terra Firma Farms, came up with an extensive list of project goals and objectives based on the Food Charter and the 2014 Food Security Strategy.

Its main goals include ensuring locals have access to food, that local food is sustainably and ethically produced, that the strategy supports economic development as well as educating Revelstokians about food security and local food systems.

Hailey Ross, an independent consultant on the project, is involved in local food work and has worked with other community members to develop the Food Charter.

“Lately people are becoming more aware that local food production is vital to the health of the community,” said Ross.

In November of 2021, many people in the region were awakened to the importance of local food production when grocery store shelves were empty following severe flooding across the province.

Empty grocery store shelf from the fall. (Contributed by Hailey Ross)

Empty grocery store shelf from the fall. (Contributed by Hailey Ross)

Ross said that stores in Revelstoke only stock two and a half days’ worth of fresh produce, so any time the highways are closed due to weather, it doesn’t take long for the shelves to go empty.

READ MORE: Revelstoke farmers respond to empty store shelves

With the help of the new strategy, Ross hopes to support farmers and local businesses by helping Revelstoke meet its agricultural objectives and goals. She added that even though agricultural land is limited in Revelstoke, there are ways to creatively expand local food production. Farms like Track Street Growers, Terra Firma Farms and First Light Farms are leading the way in expanding agricultural activity in non-traditional ways.

“Revelstoke is on the map in terms of food security,” said Ross.

In the development of the last strategy formed in 2014, Ross found that 1.8 per cent of Revelstokians’ total diet consisted of locally produced food, and she thinks that that number has increased significantly since that time.

Ross hopes that in the coming years the community continues to grow and sees the need for resilience in the face of climate change. She added that she hopes residents continue to invest in local systems which boost the health of the community and its economic future instead of relying on global systems that don’t have community interests in mind.

Revelstoke’s Food Security Strategy is scheduled to be completed by October and is currently in the public engagement phase.

To get involved in the creation of the local food production roadmap, residents are asked to complete a 10-minute survey to help the team identify what challenges local systems face and where the work needs to be done.

The survey can be completed though this link.

READ MORE: ‘The right veggie for the end of the world’: Hot pepper farmers weather a challenging summer


@josh_piercey
josh.piercey@revelstokereview.com

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