The cover photo of an emergency food and nutrition strategy prepared for the City of Nanaimo’s health and housing task force. (Maddy Koch photo/City of Nanaimo)

The cover photo of an emergency food and nutrition strategy prepared for the City of Nanaimo’s health and housing task force. (Maddy Koch photo/City of Nanaimo)

City of Nanaimo will consider the creation of a food policy council

Working group says new arm’s-length body could help with food security in the region

Groups that have worked together to keep people fed during the pandemic say the city as a whole can benefit from a new model of co-operation on food policy.

Jen Cody, executive director of Nanaimo Foodshare, presented the idea of a food policy council to Nanaimo city councillors at a meeting Oct. 19.

City councillors recently received an emergency food and nutrition strategy, something they had asked for two weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic had been declared an emergency. Members of a health and housing task force working group, in putting together that strategy, identified the value of a food policy council, noted a city staff report.

Cody said she fully supports the creation of such a group.

“Most communities become involved with food policy councils [for] healthy food access,” she said. “Hunger and emergency food are long-standing issues for any community and Nanaimo is no exception.”

The staff report noted that a food policy council could provide “synergies with local government initiatives” around emergency planning, economic development, land-use planning, sustainability, water supply and solid waste management. The food council could be a “ongoing forum for emergency food response and distribution,” the staff report noted, and could work with the city and stakeholders on food and nutrition outreach, develop a food infrastructure strategy and facilitate partnerships with the regional district, health authority and First Nations.

The working group’s information sharing revealed that “Nanaimo is actually well-positioned to respond to emergency food needs,” said the staff report, going on to detail some of the ways that the food bank and agencies with meal programs have responded in the pandemic.

“It’s been critical to the community response that we co-ordinate so that we’re not duplicating efforts and folks that are new to food security are supported in being able to respond without re-creating the wheel, and benefiting from others’ experience and networks,” Cody said.

She said established relationships lead to understanding about where the resources are and where the gaps are, so the community can plan thoughtfully and develop strategies to respond to food security issues as they emerge.

Coun. Don Bonner expressed thanks to the working group and he reminded his colleagues that there’s “much more” to the emergency food and nutrition strategy than the recommendation about the food policy council. He said he doesn’t want to see the report sit on a shelf, and noted that are opportunities to pursue available COVID-19-related funding now.

Coun. Zeni Maartman said food security is paramount for health and wellness and Coun. Ben Geselbracht also expressed support.

“I’m excited about the strategy and also, these food policy councils, I think, are a really good way to co-ordinate the community and move forward some long-held strategic planning,” he said.

City council voted unanimously to endorse the emergency food strategy as stakeholder input into its master planning process, refer it to a governance and priorities committee meeting for further discussion, and request a staff report on how the city can facilitate the creation of a food policy council.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo Foodshare gets help from Rotary in keeping fruits and veggies fresh

READ ALSO: Why Vancouver Island food production is on the decline



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City Hallfood security

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Janice Perrino, Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation CEO, holds information brochures for the Light the Trees campaign, part of an effort to raise $5 million for the new intensive care unit at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Million-dollar donation has Light the Trees campaign off to a bright start in Nanaimo

Windsor Plywood Foundation supports Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation

Regional District of Nanaimo will be receiving $1.17 million from the B.C. government in COVID-19 safe restart grant money. (News Bulletin file)
Regional District of Nanaimo directors getting started on budgeting decisions

Proposed tax requisitions for 2021 range from 7.3-per cent increase to 2.2-per cent decrease

A sport utility vehicle and a Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools work van crashed on Bowen Road near the intersection with Caspers Way this afternoon. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Drivers taken to hospital after head-on crash on Nanaimo’s Bowen Road

Crash happened near Caspers Way intersection Friday afternoon

École North Oyster. (Black Press file)
With more student drop-offs during pandemic, SD68 examines safety outside North Oyster school

Fewer school bus trips and more cars accentuating traffic concerns, say school district staff

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson takes her oaths of office virtually on Thursday. (B.C. Government YouTube screen shot)
Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson named B.C.’s mental health and addictions minister

Malcolmson succeeds Judy Darcy, who did not seek re-election

Police in Nanaimo never know what they’ll encounter when called upon to check on the well-being of people. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo RCMP find ‘heart-breaking’ circumstances during wellness checks

Police offer sampling of outcomes from well-being checks over recent weeks

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Most Read