Building off the strategies and actions from the Sea to Sky Food Recovery Project, this Food Resiliency project aims to create a more resilient regional food system focused on serving vulnerable populations. The project will address the following important elements of the food system as related to vulnerable populations:
1. Food insecurity
This part of the project will focus on understanding the root causes of and contributing factors to food insecurity in the region, such as disruptions to work caused by injury and illness, and the roles of housing precarity and escalating living costs. Identification of the systemic changes needed to address these challenges will follow.
2. Regional food supply linkages to vulnerable populations (in emergency and non-emergency times)
This focus area will deepen understanding and improve linkages between food banks and regional sources of food, including from producers, processors, and retailers. We will assess and address these linkages in times of emergency and normal, non-emergency times. Claire Gram (Clarity Community Consults) will advise on the emergency response needs.
This part of the project will look at storage, processing, and transportation needs in the region, and explore potential location(s), infrastructure, and equipment to facilitate meeting the needs of vulnerable populations. Ione Smith (Upland Consulting) will lead on delivering this element of the project.
Phases and Timeline
Phase 1: Detailed Project Planning (October 2022-January 2023)
Phase 1 will focus on detailed project planning, involving all key partner organizations and experts needed to inform what’s needed and how to execute Phase 2 and Phase 3.
Phase 2: Assessment (February-April 2023)
Phase 2 will involve assessing the current situation in the three focus areas, doing so through research and stakeholder engagement activities. The assessment findings will be used to inform Phase 3 planning.
Phase 3: Planning (May-July 2023)
This final phase will focus on developing the strategy/action plan and conducting another round of engagement to ensure the actions are appropriate and supported by stakeholders and implementing organisations.
Partners and Funding
Funding for this project was secured by the Resort Municipality of Whistler on behalf of Sea to Sky local government partners, including the SLRD, District of Squamish, and the Village of Pemberton. The funding comes from the provincial Poverty Reduction Planning and Action grant program that is administered by the Union of BC Municipalities.
The organizations listed below are integral to the project given their understanding of, service to, and connections with vulnerable members of our communities and/or knowledge of the food system. We will also endeavour to engage representatives from the Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation who are working on food related initiatives in their communities. Included in the project budget are honouraria for NPOs and those with lived experiences who contribute time to the project.
- Sea to Sky Community Services, who operate the Pemberton Food Bank
- Squamish Helping Hands Society, who operate the Squamish Food Market (aka food bank)
- Whistler Community Services Society, who operate the Whistler Food Bank
- Southern Stl’atl’imx Health Society
Even though there is enough food for everyone, hunger, food insecurity and excessive food waste persists. Hunger and food insecurity are two of the most serious forms of extreme poverty that touch all communities within the Sea to Sky region. Because of the pandemic, and escalating costs of food and living, demand for food bank services has been growing.
Food banks provide essential services, but are not a long-term, sustainable solution to addressing food insecurity and poverty. Long-term, regional approaches are required that target underlying socioeconomic conditions while addressing both acute (i.e., emergency-related) and chronic (i.e., structural) vulnerabilities and inefficiencies in food supply and (re)distribution chains.
Please direct any questions or comments to Shannon: sgordon [at] whistlercentre.ca