Linking local food production to economic development is taking root in the North Okanagan.
More than 100 people attended a recent event that looked how expanded opportunities for food production can lead to job creation.
“There are exciting local and global initiatives working at making local food a larger part of the local economy, and we wanted to let people know how spending even a small fraction of our food dollars locally could add millions of dollars per year to the local economy, save farmland, increase health and food security,” said Huguette Allen, with the Sustainable Environment Network Society, event organizer.
“Then, when you integrate local food into what is called the creative rural economy, you multiply the revenues, create jobs in a variety of sectors, and build attractive, resilient and healthy communities.”
Wendy Aasen, of the Food Action Society, provided details on the the components of a community food system, and indicated that many are already in place while others are in the planning stage.
Examples of how local food is fitting into economic plans were given by Brooke Marshall, Vernon’s environmental planner and supported by Michelle Jefferson, of Vernon Tourism, who explained that tourists are increasingly looking to live the experience of a farm.
“There is a new type of awareness about our food that has been developing for years but only seems to be coming out now,” said Terry Dyck, with SENS.
“There was agreement that people want to reconnect with their food, with the people who grow it, and want to know that what they eat will contribute to nourishing their families, not only to feed them.”