May 13, 2010- Action plan to act as blueprint for regional food security

Action plan to act as blueprint for regional food security
Stefania Seccia, Westerly News
Published: Thursday, May 13, 2010

Community gardens, infrastructure and food policy development are among some of the opportunities the Clayoquot Biosphere Region Food Action Plan has identified to increase food access and security.
The report was released yesterday after an extensive series of information gathering sessions took place in January and February this year. "We hope the food action plan will help guide future food security work in the Biosphere Reserve region," Chantel Gemmell, of the Ucluelet Community Food Initiative (UCFI), said in a media release.
The sessions included meetings with stakeholders such as local governments, seafood providers, service providers, First Nations, Port Alberni farmers and youth. "It's exciting to see such interest in food issues," Rebecca Hurwitz, of the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (CBT), said in a media release. "Every community in the region is working to improve access to affordable, healthy food in its own way."

The UCFI and CBT also conducted interviews with grocers, restaurants, seniors, emergency food users and providers.
Some of the identified qualifiers in making food security a staple for the West Coast are:
-Regulation and food policy development, which the report found many chefs, grocers and consumers were confused about purchasing local food.
-Community gardens.
-Economic development through local food products such as wildcrafting, and networking with local markets.
-Education, especially for the youth.
-Improving infrastructure, including storage facilities for seafood and adopting a regional composting program.
-Raising awareness through community events.
"There is a strong interest amongst local government leaders to develop a Good Food Charter for the region," according to the media release. The food action plan can be accessed at The report was orchestrated by CBT and UCFI, with funding from the BC Healthy Living Alliance.
For more information about the action plan itself and what's next for the UCFI pick up the May 20 print edition of the Westerly News.

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