Residents in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District will be growing more local food in 2017 as the regional district begins its “What’s On Your Fork?” project.
This project is a result of the regional district’s successful application to the B.C. government’s Grow Local Program for $25,000.
The “What’s On Your Fork?” project will increase horticultural knowledge and food production within the regional district by offering Alberni Valley residents and students garden tours, consultation sessions, and hands-on learning opportunities at the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Healthy Harvest Farm and elsewhere. The project will have outreach programs in Tofino, Ucluelet, Bamfield and offshore First Nations communities, as well as region-wide radio and social media-based tips and tools.
The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District’s Agriculture Plan targets 40% food security by the year 2031. While the regional district has been proactive in supporting agricultural programs and projects, the Grow Local program offers an additional opportunity to strengthen food supply security.
The $250,000 Grow Local program is funding projects in 10 B.C. communities. The projects are designed to:
- involve residents in growing local fruit and vegetables;
- increase awareness and appreciation for supporting local food production; and
- strengthen local food supply security.
The 10 projects include the developing resources on how to grow local food, group education and awareness activities, such as workshops, mini-courses, and “how-to” demonstrations, and one-on-one consultation and advice. The application process was administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.
The BC Agrifoods and Seafood Strategic Growth Plan identifies the next steps in the B.C. government’s goal to grow the B.C. agrifoods industry to a $15-billion-dollar-a-year sector by 2020. Grow Local BC will assist in maintaining food supply security, a challenge identified in the strategic growth plan.
Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture –
“The Grow Local program will further strengthen the value of the local agricultural sector among British Columbians. This pilot project will create a better understanding of how food crops are produced in our province and assist people in learning how best to grow their own food.”
Alex Dyer, planner, Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District –
“With the help of this initiative, we can support a wider range of residents in contributing to local food security. The program will connect with residents from across the region through a network of educators and specialists to further cultivate our capacity to grow our own food.”
News release announcing Grow Local: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016AGRI0058-001860
Program background: http://iafbc.ca/funding-opportunities/grow-local/