Campbell River at risk for losing access to safe, nutritious food

The Campbell River area is at risk of not having reliable access to necessary amounts of safe and healthy food

The Campbell River area is at risk of not having reliable access to necessary amounts of safe and healthy food.

Cynthia Bendickson, who is coordinating the Strathcona Food Security Project to ensure that doesn’t happen, told the regional district board last week about her findings.

“Strathcona’s economy and population demographics lead to a higher risk of food insecurity,” Bendickson said.

“Food insecurity is highly correlated with income security and people with low incomes tend to be at risk of food insecurity. Strathcona has a high population of aboriginals living on reserves, single parent families headed by women, and homeless people. All of these populations are at high risk for food insecurity.”

Bendickson said that while Campbell River runs a food bank, a soup kitchen, community gardens, and a food sustainability program – Lettuce Grow at North Island College – all of those efforts are small-scale and disconnected.

Bendickson’s hope is to form a food sustainability hub within the Strathcona Regional District which would be created with $10,000-$15,000 from Island Health in order to bring food sustainability projects and initiatives under one umbrella.

“Physically, it would be someone’s time within a non-profit organization,” Bendickson said.

“It’s about connecting people together and building on existing strengths. It’s not a physical place for people to go.”

Bendickson will be sending out invitations, to those who have already expressed an interest,  to sit on a food action committee to oversee the hub.

“I’m sure there will be people from Campbell River to sit on the committee but we’d like to see people from the smaller communities (within the regional district),” Bendickson said.

“They have unique issues that the city doesn’t have.”

The plan is to form the food action committee before the summer and to finalize Bendickson’s Food Security Project findings – which will include public consultation – into early summer. Her goal is to start the hub early next year.

The Strathcona Food Security Project’s draft reports are open for public comment until June 8. To view the documents, visit www.strathconafoodsecurity.wordpress.com