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
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. Building on existing plans and policies, and a scan of best practices and existing gaps, the project regularly convenes 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.
Category: Regional Planning
Phase 1 Completion Date: 2018
Phase 2 Completion Date: 2020
Building on existing plans and policies, and a scan of best practices and existing gaps, the project has convened 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 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.
The Squamish Lillooet Food Sustainability project advances 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. In 2022, we aim to
- support the partners with implementation of the actions,
- convene the Task Force to share updates with each other, and determine ways to collaborate on their initiatives,
- 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.
- Squamish Lillooet Regional Food Action Plan
- Agricultural Land Awareness Resource
- Food Nutrition Literacy Poster
- Regional Food Asset Map and Resource
- Food Packaging: Sustainabilty and Reduction
- Food Procurement Policy: From Squamish to the Region
- Lil'wat Farm Actions
The Village of Pemberton teamed 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 is available online, and brochures are available at multiple locations in the region.
How much can you get with $20? 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? Through a pre-pandemic workshop with grocery stores, communications campaigns, and partnership efforts, AWARE has been exploring and addressing 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.
Check out this Organic Produce Plastic Packaging “eco-tip” – one of AWARE’s many initiatives to reduce plastic food packaging.
One of the action items identified by the The Squamish Lillooet Regional Food Task Force is the creation of a Regional Procurement strategy, led by the Squamish Food Policy Council (SFPC). Together with their sister organization, the Squamish Climate Action Network, SFPC has begun the project by advancing a Good Food Pledge for endorsement by local government, with the creation and adoption of policy to follow. The proposed pledge and policy strive to support local food producers and processors through establishing food procurement practices aligned with “good food” values. The pledge and policy are intended to increase the percentage of local and sustainable food purchased by institutions, organizations and businesses in our region, and in turn, increase the support and demand for local agriculture and products. The following “good food” values have been identified as the guiding principles to the pledge:
- Local economies and communities
- Environmental sustainability and stewardship of natural resources
- Valued workforce
- Animal welfare
The policy will provide organizations with a mechanism to effect change from within their organizations while the the pledge offers organizations that are not yet ready to adopt a policy an opportunity to have a positive impact on food systems. Once finalized, both will be shared with other communities in the region in support of a thriving local food culture.
For more information, please visit the Squamish Food Policy Council website.
A member of the Food Task Force, Lil’wat Nation has been taking actions to advance food security and sovereignty needs. Efforts include: making connections with the First Nations Food Systems Project (FNFSP) run through the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA); providing funding, logistical and practical support to individual and community gardens; and hosting workshops with Knowledge Keepers on food preservation , tinctures/salves, winter berry use, seed saving and sprouting.
Check out the Squamish-Lillooet Food Asset Map that shows places where people can grow, prepare, share, buy, receive or learn about food in the Squamish to Lillooet region (http://www.squamishfoodpolicycouncil.com/food-asset-map.html)
- A Review of Best Practices in Food System Sustainability
- A Review of Potential Food Sustainability Initiatives for the Squamish-Lillooet Region
- A Squamish-Lillooet Food Action Plan (see the tabs above)
Dawn Johnson, Planning & Engagement, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheeying Ho, Executive Director, email@example.com
Thank you to our generous funders for their contributions to the Squamish Lillooet Food Project.
Phase 1 Project Funders
Thank you to all of our Phase 1 funders, with a special thanks to the Real Estate Foundation of BC for providing half of the funds to initiate the project.
Phase 2 Project Funders
Thank you to all of our Phase 2 funders.