The Kimberley-Cranbrook Food Hub Project is launching a new, online, interactive food asset map with the goal of strengthening food security in the communities.
The Kimberley-Cranbrook Food Hub Project is a collaboration between the Cranbrook Food Bank, Cranbrook Food Recovery Depot, Kimberley Food Bank, and Kimberley Food Recovery Depot.
The map will include the location of any organization, business, or institution with facilities, equipment, services, people, and/or products contributing to local food security via food production, recovery, storage, processing, distribution, or increasing food literacy.
Kate Watt is working with the Community Connections Society of BC and the Kimberley-Cranbrook Food Hub project to bring the map to life. She says it is an important piece of the food-security puzzle, especially as we continue to see rising prices and labour shortages across the province and country.
“Food insecurity is a growing threat to community wellbeing. According to Canada’s Food Price Report, grocery prices are expected to rise five to seven per cent in 2022 alone,” Watt said. “The rise in prices is primarily driven by climate change-related events such as drought and wildfires, as well as pandemic-induced supply chain issues and labour shortages. Given that food prices will continue to rise along with the frequency and duration of extreme weather events, we must take action now to build a more resilient local food system.”
By mapping food infrastructure, resources, and organizations in the community, the Kimberley-Cranbrook Food Hub Project hopes to make visible the range and diversity of food assets in the region, inform efforts to strengthen food security at community, household and individual levels, and understand the strengths/weaknesses and opportunities/challenges in the regional food system.
The map will also help to identify food-related community economic development opportunities, inform urban land-use planning, and help to strengthen connections between local food producers in the community.
Watt says that the map will be a culmination of all the food assets in Kimberley, Cranbrook and RDEK electoral areas E and C.
“There are other communities doing similar projects, which help to give more transparency to the community with regards to food security,” Watt said. “We’ve based our project off of the Squamish Food Policy Council’s food asset map.”
The Squamish-Lilooet Food Asset Map shows places where people can grow, prepare, share, buy, receive or learn about food in the Squamish to Lillooet region. The map for Kimberley-Cranbrook will look very similar and will be available on Google My Maps.
“We have a few different categories, including farms, plant nurseries, free and low cost food services, locally-owned and chain grocery stores, food producers, as well as schools,” Watt explained. “Schools are an important part of the map because they contribute to food security through education as well as free and low-cost meals.”
For example, Watt says, Laurie Middle School in Cranbrook has a breakfast club, free snacks, a hot food day as well as food hampers.
“Other schools in the region also have food and gardening programs, where they teach students how to grow their own food,” Watt adds.
Many local churches and faith-based services also provide free meals, as well as kitchen facilities, and will be included on the map.
The map is intended for both the general public, as well as local government officials who can use the map as a policy-making tool, for example.
Food organizations can also use the map to get a sense of the other food organizations that are available, Watt says.
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