Fernie Food Action Strategy (FFAS) envisions a resilient local food system
The pandemic has highlighted vulnerabilities in many critical areas of our lives, notably our long-distance supply chains (think of the recent rush on toilet paper), and secure, access to imported food. Many Fernie residents were shocked to see empty grocery store shelves, a rush on toilet paper, and an inability to access flour, yeast, and other food supplies this spring. As a timely response to this issue, the “Fernie Food Action Strategy”, envisions a resilient local food system in the Elk Valley, and seeks to work with stakeholders to identify key actions that will alleviate some of the risk to Fernie’s food supply in the medium and long-term.
The project coordinators, Dawn Deydey, of Wildsight Elk Valley, and Gaetane Carignan of Community Energy Association, have a history of championing local food and food security. Residents of Fernie, both Dawn and Gaetane have worked together to develop the online cold-climate gardening course “Keeping Food Real”, and contributed separately to many food-systems and agriculture-related initiatives. Made possible with funding from the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, the aim of this project is to work with stakeholders, including the City of Fernie, food-systems experts, local farmers, and interested residents to identify “low hanging fruits” and key concerns regarding access to local food, barriers to food production at home, and how to best support local agricultural economies. Gaetane says, “We want this to be a first step toward improving community-level food resilience here in the Elk Valley in real and tangible ways. Fernie’s Official Community Plan supports local agriculture and removing barriers to local food production. We want to clearly identify what the barriers may be and offer practical solutions, taking inspiration from jurisdictions with similar rural, mountainous contexts.”
Readers are invited to get more information about the Food Action Strategy and to fill-out an online survey at communityenergy.ca/projects/foodaction. The results of the survey will be used to inform an upcoming online community engagement session on September 24th, and a future presentation to Fernie City Council. Survey participants will be eligible to enter a draw to win one of three $25 gift certificates to the new Local Store in Fernie, opening fall 2020.