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Coalition of Kimberley groups working on food security

There are a significant number of people in Kimberley working on making sure all Kimberley and area households have access to healthy, nutritious and affordable food.
The Kimberley Food Recovery Program collects food that is fit to eat but not fit for sale. Bulletin file

There are a significant number of people in Kimberley working on making sure all Kimberley and area households have access to healthy, nutritious and affordable food.

This week Kimberley City Council heard from the Kimberley Food Hub Group, a coalition of local organizations who are concerned about food sustainability and making sure no one is going without, as inflation and supply chain issues continue. The Food Hub is supported by the BC United Way.

Representatives from four different groups visited Council — Healthy Kimberley Food Recovery Depot; Kimberley Edible Gardens and Greenhouse Society; Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank and Wildsight Kimberley/Cranbrook. The goal was to update Council on Food Hub projects and local food security efforts and how to move forward with their plans.

In addition to the Kimberley Food Hub, there is a Kimberley Cranbrook Food Hub which meet regularly through out the year. Participating agencies include the Cranbrook Food Bank; Cranbrook Food Recovery; Cranbrook Farmers Market, Salvation Army; Street Angels; Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank; Healthy Kimberley Food Recovery Depot; KEGG; Wildsight and Interior Health.

The group has been meeting for two years and have completed a food asset map and inventory and hosted a food summit last March. Another is planned for this year. Their goals include achieving full food recovery in Kimberley and Cranbrook; food banks purchasing from local producers; improving delivery of local Farmers Market nutrition coupons; support for the Cranbrook Urban Farm project and engaging city councils on food policy.

Price increases are a great concern. In the last year, the group says cereals are up 17.9 per cent, baked goods 14.8 per cent, fresh fruit 12.9 per cent, fresh vegetables 11.8 per cent, dairy products up 9,7 per cent and meat 7.6 per cent. High costs of housing also contributed to food insecurity for many.

Them Tarte from the Kimberley Food Bank noted that we were much more geared to local production in the early parts of the 20th century. From 1900 to the 1950s there were several farms providing vegetables, chickens, beef, pork and eggs to the community. Four local dairy farms provided Kimberley’s dairy. Homes had gardens and root cellars, and some had greenhouses and chickens. Wheat grown in Wycliffe was milled a the site of the new food bank building in Kimberley.

Goals for the Food Hub include increasing local food production, processing and storage; enhanced food recovery and composting; and collaboration within the East Kootenay food shed (within 100 miles).

They would like to see a Food Security Action Plan created and to have food security worked into Kimberley’s Official Community Plan.

Opportunities are there to increase food security. For instance the city can recognize the role of backyard producers; grow food on vacant lots and underutilized green spaces; create wild safe urban composting; support small-scale food processing and storage, local purchasing and encourage residential water capture for irrigating gardens.

The Food Hub would also like to see the Cominco Gardens greenhouse revived and to include a production garden as the site is revitalized.

Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank Facts:

  • $9,166 spent monthly on food
  • 900 pounds of food donated per month ($2700)
  • 4,000 pounds distributed on average per month (58,000 pounds)
  • 108 hampers given out each month

Healthy Kimberley Food Recovery Depot

  • $300 or 115 pounds of food purchased each month, used for meal ingredients
  • 10,000 pounds of food per month is recovery
  • 315,000 pounds of food sinceNov. 2018
  • Since Nov. 2018 25,000 servings of meals and 10,000 snacks

Wildsight Kimberley Cranbrook

  • Kimberley Farmers’ Market
  • Apple Capture Program 2966 pounds of apples picked
  • Kimberley Community Garden
  • Backyard Farmer Program - yard space donated to grow food for Food Recovery Program

Kimberley Edible Gardens and Greenhouse

  • Produced 2700 pounds of fresh produce in 2022, donated 898 pounds to Food Recovery Program

READ: Food Recovery program off to good start

READ: Healthy Kimberley Food Recovery Program underway

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Carolyn Grant

About the Author: Carolyn Grant

I have been with the Kimberley Bulletin since 2001 and have enjoyed every moment of it.
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