VI Good Food Initiative
A partnership strategy aimed at building a sustainable Vancouver Island and Coastal Region high value food system
Everyone is talking about local food and its benefits in the media and in the community. The benefits of local food are clear:
- Better nutrition, better taste, better-looking, fresher food
- Better for the environment (lower carbon 'emissions')
- Better for the local economy
- Supports food 'sovereignty'
All this talk leads to a huge demand for local food and food products
But adequate supply to meet this growing demand is a big problem on the Islands-we only produce the economic equivalence of about 5% of the food we eat here. The supply problems are due to:
- Federal and provincial policies that support exporting Canadian food and importing cheap alternatives
- 'cheap food' expectations
- Farmers struggling to make ends meet-The Farm Income Crisis
- Problems finding and training agricultural labour and encouraging new farmers
- Problems financing new crop and product development
- Loss of locally-owned quota (permission to sell) on the Island
- High cost of land due to pressure for urban/suburban development
- Increasingly stringent and expensive regulation
- All the stresses that arise in unsustainable systems
So: A group of people from community organizations and businesses looking for more Islands product met in 2005 and created the Islands Good Food Initiative to do background research and planning. The goal is to create a food system development plan which will be implemented.
THE RESULTS OF THIS INITIATIVE SO FAR:
The Good Food Box Story showing how charitable approaches to providing local food for health purposes needs a stronger business case to succeed in meeting their goals.
Health and food report
Value Chain(pdf). 2007 monograph.
Contending with the Food Access Puzzle:(pdf) an in depth community based research project that explains why we are having problems finding Vancouver Island food.
Community meeting feedback loop(pdf)
The Vancouver Island Good Food Business Network Monograph(pdf)
Short Survey (pdf)
Food Localization Review(pdf)
Bibliography of Farmer stories(pdf)
Ipsos Reid Local Food Poll(pdf)
Vital for Life (pdf)
Vancouver Funders' meeting presentation(pdf)
UVic Environmental Law Centre's press release(pdf)
Reports Target Food and Agricultural Policy Reform Memo 1 Legal Barriers to Increased Local Food Production and Distribution(pdf)
Memo 2 Trade Restrictions on Local Food Production and Distribution(pdf)
Literature Search re: Institutional Purchasing Best Practices
Survey of publicly funded Institutions and agencies: 114 agencies were interviewed in 2007. short version(pdf) long version(pdf)
Sustainable Institutional Purchasing Pilot Project: a community based research project to assist institutions and producers to work together to increase local purchasing capacity - the "Harnessing Food Purchasing Power" conference was held in June 2008.
Work Group Results
Island Restaurant Survey:(Word Document) 101 chefs were interviewed to find out their practices vis-…-vis local food purchasing. See Notes and Quotes(Word Document).
Co-packing Kitchen Development: Plans for new manufacturing kitchens are in process.
The Vancouver Island Heritage Foodservice Co-op, a Value Chain business link consumer demand, including farmer production, food processing, marketing and distribution.
Workforce Development Strategy: Partners are coming together to figure out how to recruit, train and support farm workers and to encourage new farmers. A study funded by Service Canada was completed to assist us to develop a workforce strategy. See the Summary Report(pdf).
Plans for a Local Food System Worker pool: a business plan for a worker co-operative is being developed.
Lorne Ebell's report on appropriate technology for small scale farming to increase economic viability
Consideration of carbon concern and how this can affect/benefit farming
Impact of Supply Management on Local Food System Development
Farmers Speak Out: Can farming on Vancouver Island become Sustainable? For a report of interviews with farmers.
Access to Finance: Mobilizing a partnership of 'friendly funders' to create a sustainable funding/financing system aimed at facilitating regional food systems in BC.
Creation of a business that fills the gaps in the islands local food system ON A BUSINESS BASIS---making sure that farmers and workers are rewarded for their efforts AND creating the platform and tools that will facilitate investment in the facilities that are needed on the Island. To do this, a multi-stakeholder co-operative was created in November 2007 including farmers, workers and non profit organizations. The vision of the Heritage Foodservice Co-op is: "to contribute to an increase in the quality of life, community health and food security on BC islands by creating an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable BC islands' food infrastructure that grows, preserves, markets, distributes and sells Vancouver Island Coastal Region Good Food Promise food".The co-op is designed as a local foodservice distribution business that also provides Value Chain Co-ordination Services-making sure that local producers will get the highest dollar from the customers.
The business is recruiting farmers to grow food for the 'Foodservice Market Channel' that will market to high-end restaurants, institutions and alternative distributors. See www.hfse.com
FOR FURTHER INFO:
For further information about any of the specific initiatives contact: Sandra Mark, Project Manager, Islands Good Food Initiative 250-335-3001 firstname.lastname@example.org or Frank Moreland, Business Manager, Heritage Foodservice Co-op 250-741-0224 extension 35