Letnick: Discover your green thumb with Grow Local BC

Growing your own food is a sustainable way to secure a healthy food supply…and to contribute to our broader food supply security.

Norm Letnick

Norm Letnick

Like many British Columbians, residents of the Okanagan have broadly embraced the mindset of buying locally when it comes time to grocery shop – a habit made easier by our ready access to some of the best fresh produce in the province.

However, provincewide, the increasing need to strengthen our food supply security has spurred our BC Liberal government to encourage communities not only to buy local, but also to grow local.

As Agriculture Minister, I was proud to announce at the end of September the launch of Grow Local BC, a pilot project that will provide funding to help communities and other non-governmental organizations work with residents to help equip them with the skills and knowledge to grow their own food.

With recent environmental pressures taking a toll on agriculture in the United States and Mexico and inflating produce prices, which are then exacerbated by the low Canadian dollar when we import produce, many British Columbian families are feeling the strain on their budgets. Given the average household in British Columbia was already spending $8,218 on food in 2014 according to the latest Statistics Canada data, rising produce prices represent a significant concern.

While buying local, BC-grown products is one part of the solution to this concern, growing your own food is another sustainable, economical way to secure a healthy food supply for your family and to contribute to the broader food supply security of our province.

In the Okanagan, we are perfectly situated to take full advantage of the challenge to grow local. With ideal growing conditions, rich soil and a long growing season, our gardens have every opportunity to thrive.

For those of us who may like the idea of growing our own food, but lack the necessary skills and experience – Grow Local BC may be the answer. It will support urban and semi-rural local governments and community organizations as they seek to engage and educate residents in growing food at home and in their community. Ten successful applicants across BC will receive $25,000 over two years to fund educational and awareness activities.

These activities will promote the driving goals of Grow Local BC: to promote and increase involvement with, knowledge of, and skills in local food production within our communities, and so to increase the value that British Columbians ascribe to agriculture while also strengthening our communities’ ability to increase food supply security across the province.

The launch of Grow Local BC is just one of the steps our government is taking to improve the stability, strength and sustainability of our provincial food supply in response to the challenge of food supply security identified in the BC Agrifoods and Seafood Strategic Growth Plan, our government’s blueprint for expanding the BC agrifoods industry to a $15-billion-a-year sector by 2020.

Applications for Grow Local BC are now open and will be accepted until Nov. 4, 2016. To learn more about the program, including eligibility and application details, visit www.iafbc.ca.

Kelowna Capital News

Just Posted

Kelowna Cabs’ dispatchers will be coming back to work now that their union and the taxi company have come to an agreement. (Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs dispatchers set to go back to work

The taxi company and the dispatchers’ union have reached an agreement

t
Motorcyclist critically injured in Westside Road collision

Motorcyclist collides with vehicle, struck by another: preliminary police findings

People at the beach in front of Discovery Bay Resort on Tuesday, July 14. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Heat wave forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Temperatures are forecast to hit record breaking highs this week

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Kelowna mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead

Pair discovered in their Vancouver Island home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

Central Programs and Services on Richter Street.
COVID-19 exposure at Central Programs and Services

Interior Health annouces a COVID-19 exposure within Central Okanagan Schools

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

A 1969 Barracuda convertible like this one is being refurbished by Rust Valley Restorers and raffled off to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity Kamloops, which includes the Salmon Arm/Shuswap area. (Image contributed)
Rust Valley Restorers’ work will lead drive for attainable housing in Salmon Arm

Habitat for Humanity Kamloops’ Classic Car raffle features ‘69 Barracuda convertible

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Osoyoos chef Murray McDonald was ecstatic upon realizing he scored the $1 million guaranteed prize in the June 2, 2021 Lotto 6/49 draw. (Contributed)
Osoyoos chef ecstatic after bagging $1 million Lotto 6/49 win

B.C. lottery players have redeemed more than $44 million in winnings from Lotto 6/49 this year

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
UPDATE: Two churches on band land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

Most Read