A study of food systems in the Okanagan by the Institute of Sustainable Food Systems (ISFS) at Kwantlen Polytechnic University is getting a boost in funding from the Central Okanagan Foundation.
The $10,000 grant will help the Okanagan Bioregion Food System Design Project study the impacts future food systems have on social capital in the South Okanagan – Similkameen region. Social capital is the sense of belonging, community support and connectedness that people have our communities.
“In agriculture and food systems, community development has largely been forgotten to the substantial detriment of family-based farming and our agriculture communities. In the 21st century our food system economy must focus on the environment like mitigating climate change and ecosystem collapse and creating vital community,” says Kent Mullinix, director of the ISFS.
The project started in Spring 2018 and will run for two years. The funding will help fund the work of ISFS Research Assistant and Okanagan resident, Chea Elton.
"The project includes how local food systems can foster community well-being, cooperation, collaboration and trust and reciprocity among community members in the Okanagan Valley," Elton says. "Both local food systems and community social capital are important to the Okanagan Valley because they are key features in creating a sustainable and positive future for Okanagan residents."
“The Central Okanagan Foundation was impressed with the collaborative approach of the study which looks forward to the result of this collective action,” said Cheryl Miller, director of Grants & Community Initiatives.
“We recognize the importance of having a data-driven food system information available for community leaders to assist with decision-making and policy recommendations to advance a sustainable local food system.”
The project has an advisory committee consisting of government staff, elected officials, NGOs and agricultural producers. Once the research is published, these partners will distribute the research outcomes and conclusions to their networks and local government partners. The research will also be made available to the public.
“Because this is a community focused study, about and for the Okanagan, we are particularly grateful for the support of the Central Okanagan Community Foundation. The significance of the Foundation recognizing the value of this study and the potential community development impacts of a bioregional food system is very meaningful to the study team,” says Mullinix.
To learn more about ISFS and the projects they are working on, visit http://www.kpu.ca/isfs.