Squamis- Lillooet Food Project Local Food
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The Whistler Centre for Sustainability is leading a project to advance region-wide initiatives that create a more sustainable food system in the Squamish-Lillooet region.

Squamish-Lillooet Food Project

Advancing a Sustainable Food System

Program Overview

Building on existing plans and policies, and a scan of best practices and existing gaps, the project will convene key food and agriculture players from across the region to share successes that can be scaled up, to identify barriers that require region-wide solutions, and identify and secure commitment to implement what’s needed across the region to improve farm protection, food production, local processing, marketing, etc.

The project follows on the heels of the Southwest BC Bioregion Food System Design Project recently completed by Kwantlen Polytechnic University. The Centre will provide support, facilitation and assistance to advance region-wide initiatives, working with the region’s local governments and with the many food and agriculture-related organizations.

Program Updates

The Squamish Lillooet Food Sustainability project aims to advance regional food sustainability and self-reliance. A regional task force was created in 2018, which has identified eight initiatives to advance food sustainability.

Food sustainability initiatives are currently being implemented by the Task Force members and partner organizations. Our project this year aims to

  • support the partners with implementation of the actions,
  • to convene the Task Force to share updates with each other, and determine ways to collaborate on their initiatives,
  • to identify additional collaborative actions to advance regional food sustainability.

Our project supports existing policies and programs in the region, including the existing

  • Agriculture Plans
  • municipal OCP policies
  • SLRD Regional Growth Strategy directions, and
  • work of the Squamish Food Policy Council

Click on the tabs below to find out what the task force and partners are doing to implement the seven collaborative regional food actions. Learn more about Phase 1 of the Squamish Lillooet Food Project here.

Click through the tabs for a quick synopsis of each of the actions defined in the regional food action plan by the regional food task force.

The Village of Pemberton is teaming up with the Squamish Lillooet Regional District and the Lillooet Agricultural Food Society to create an educational land awareness brochure to help new land buyers understand the realities of living next to a farm or agricultural operation (baaaahhhhh!), with the purpose of helping to minimize potential conflict and increase understanding between farming operations and new land owners. The resource will be available online, and brochures will also be available at multiple locations in the region.

Producing and selling meat on small scale farms in B.C. comes with many challenges – one of which is legislative compliance. The B.C. Small Scale Meat Producers’ Association was formed in 2018 to advocate for regulation reform and associated legislative compliance to grow and promote the industry. The need for a local representative in this Association was identified and met through this project with the recruitment of a regional representative from Stony Mountain Farms in Squamish. The regional representative will identify opportunities for collaboration, stay alert to local funding opportunities, and inform the B.C. Small Scale Meat Producers’ Association of local issues. 

How much can you get with $20?Squamish-Lillooet Food Project Nutrition Poster This question is being answered in a joint initiative spearheaded by MarketWurks and Vancouver Coastal Health as they compare the nutritional analysis of a $20 meal from MacDonald’s versus a $20 purchase at the local farmers’ market. The duo has created an infographic poster that breaks it all down – from calories, to grams of fat to vitamins and minerals.


Access to nutritious food to meet your physical needs and preferences is a basic human right according to the United Nations. However, 1 in 10 British Columbians are food insecure – meaning, they do not have access to nutritious food that meets their needs. The good news is that there are many programs and initiatives underway across the Province as well as on a federal and even global level to address food security and food literacy. Squamish Climate Action Network is working in collaboration with the Lillooet Agricultural Food Society to take create an inventory of food nutrition programs underway in the Sea to Sky. They will also compile a comprehensive list of educational programs and community-based food initiatives available to organizations. They will then match existing programs and initiatives with aligned organizations and institutions that can spring initiatives into action. This project will also entail expanding and supporting the Squamish to Lillooet Food Asset Map – a valuable resource for any foodie, educator, food activist, or purchaser. Another deliverable of this project is the creation of a database of programs and initiatives that supports food literacy and food security.

In time, it is hoped that this initiative will evolve to include a pilot program with a Parent Advisory Committee in one of the region’s schools to create a healthy school food program (including maximizing local nutritious food preparation, consumption and food literacy), and then scale up that program to other schools.

From take-out containers to straws to plastic bags to the plastic clamshell the lettuce arrives in. We are all part of this sea of food packaging. It is time to stop drowning and start to swim in the right direction. Who better to lead a food packaging initiative than AWARE Whistler? The group is set to design and host workshops to explore and address the barriers and opportunities to reduce food packaging and choose sustainable packaging with the two sectors that can significantly influence future waste reduction strategies: food and beverage service providers, and grocery stores.

AWARE Whistler is coordinating a working group to identify existing and potential policy mechanisms that could be used to support the reduction, recovery and elimination of food waste and food-related waste (e.g. single use packaging). In recognition of current restrictions on the policy control options available to local governments, the working group will seek to identify collective actions that a) could be adopted consistently throughout the region under current conditions, and b) could be achieved if policy conditions were to change. In this way the group can identify both actions on the ground as well as policy changes that the region could advocate for.

Squamish Climate Action Network and their sister organization, Squamish Food Policy Council, are designing and developing a regional food procurement policy template, along with a food procurement declaration template, that can be adopted by local municipalities, organizations and businesses in Squamish. The policy will provide organizations with a mechanism to effect change from within their organizations while the declaration will be available for organizations not yet ready to adopt a policy but who still want to make a positive impact on food ecosystems. The groups will engage with local organizations to encourage and support the use of the regional food procurement policy or declaration to help foster a local food ecosystem. The policy and declaration will then be advocated for adoption to organizations in the other communities in the region.


Dawn Johnson, Planning & Engagement, djohnson@whistlercentre.ca

Cheeying Ho, Executive Director, cho@whistlercentre.ca

Thank you

Thank you to our generous funders for their contributions to the Squamish Lillooet Food Project. Learn more about our phase 1 contributors here.