Though many groups have stepped up over the past year to help reduce food insecurity in the Campbell River area, there are still some gaps that need to be filled.
There is a group that is working to fix that, holding a workshop next week that will hopefully bring some ideas forward about how the community can work together to make a meaningful difference when it comes to food security.
“It has become very apparent that there were some interesting gaps in service provisions, but also some gaps created by COVID that have led to some significant impacts, particularly around emergency food access for vulnerable populations within the community,” said Cynthia Bendickson, executive director of Greenways Land Trust which runs the Strathcona Food Network.
“There’s been a lot of people working to fill those gaps, but sometimes the structures that we have within the community to try and fill them are not really what might be the ideal scenario,” she added.
A subcommittee of the Food Network is organizing the workshop, which is open to groups that are currently doing food security work to try and find ways to fill those gaps. Bendickson says the idea is to “have a conversation around what peoples experiences have been during COVID, where they think the priorities in the community should be for food security going forward, a bit of history of what’s already happened, and then kind of looking at next steps and whether there’s something we can do to kind of fill the gaps that have become very very apparent.”
One of the potential longer term goals is to set up a food security organization in Campbell River, similar to the Lush Valley group in the Comox Valley. That group works to build food security in the community through things like a community garden program, a fruit tree program, and has created a regional food policy council. Some of those programs, including the community gardens and fruit tree programs exist in Campbell River as well, but Bendickson says that the goal is to create something that is well suited to the community and will fill areas of need.
“We want to pull together all of the different things that people are doing so we can see where we’ll go from here,” she said. “The only barriers are capacity and people being able to devote time and energy to it.
“That’s really where I think we’re going to focus on, and see if we can add more support with this in the community.”
While next week’s meeting is specifically for organizations working in the realm of food security, there is an opportunity for members of the public to be a part of the conversation. Greenways hosts the Strathcona Food Network meetings every month and those are open to public input.
To find out more people can contact Bendickson at firstname.lastname@example.org.