With the goal of increasing regional dialogue between food security stakeholders in the Cowichan Region and establishing a platform whereby regional policy and food projects can be incubated and developed, the Coalition now meets once per month to address these objectives. The Coalition’s membership includes representatives from an array of professional backgrounds – from nutritionists, business owners to community gardeners – and their diverse perspectives on local food matters creates for rich dialogue. Membership is free and is open to anyone interested in working towards a food secure Cowichan.
The Coalition’s current work includes the development of an annual Food Security Report Card. An assessment of the health of the Cowichan Region’s food system, the Report Card’s Goal is to highlight some of the challenges and successes of our food system so that points for regional dialogue and action can be identified. Members are also interested in addressing food waste and are exploring ideas and projects that the Coalition could host or partner on.
History- During the initial development of the Cowichan Food Security Plan (2007), the project’s Steering Committee recognized a need for a local coalition of individuals involved in food security work in the Cowichan Region. Through networking and information-sharing, this coalition increases communication around food security issues in the community and works to implement some of the Plan’s recommended actions including:
- Develop and promote the Cowichan Food Charter;
- Organize educational opportunities for the residents of the Cowichan Region to kick-start household-level food production and processing;
- Encourage gardening and other food production activities at the individual, household, and community levels;
- Establish a food security research program to identify ways of increasing food security;
- Advocate for policies that enhance food security and lobby against policies that undermine it; and
- Develop a plan to support local farmers.
The Coalition is hosted by the Cowichan Green Community (CGC) and its members have worked collaboratively on several food security projects including the Cowichan Food Charter. This widely successful statement of values and principles was adopted and signed by local, provincial, and federal political representatives, Malahat First Nation, and many individuals and businesses throughout the Region, and stands to guide decision-making and orient local policy towards food security.
Currently the active membership meet once per month to work on collaborative projects and actions. Our current project is our annual food security report card for the Cowichan Region.