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Food security on Thanksgiving weekend 2022

Contributing to our own food supply chain.

Monday October 10, 2022 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated 4:50 pm]

Editorial | by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends

Amidst the pressures of this year’s robust inflation — on top of a steady economic decline for many people over the past 30 to 40 years of the great economic divide, this fall season’s Thanksgiving weekend is a reminder about the cost of living, including food.

Food security rose to new levels of awareness during the COVID pandemic in 2020-2021, when supply chain issues made obvious the fragility of how we rely on grocery stores for our very survival. Climate change is also impacting the food-growing sector, whether big-agriculture or in your own local community.

beets, parsley, garden
Every backyard has room for a few pots to grow veggies. [Island Social Trends]

Back yard food-growing — while a hobby for some or many in recent decades — has surged forward as something we all should be able to do. While a first-time garden was a popular pastime in the early days of the pandemic, garnering food from one’s own backyard seems additionally helpful during challenging economic times.

No small feat, to grow veggies in a small plot or even in patio pots. Planting cycles, soil quality, sufficient light, irrigation, composting, harvesting and seed collection are all part of a sophisticated skill set that is new for many.

More than a hobby, for some in urban areas the back yard food garden has become a mainstay source for their kitchen pantry.

On this Thanksgiving weekend — when the cost of producing the standard turkey dinner with all the trimmings has been a struggle for some, we can see several silver linings: adaptation from the usual routine, recognition of the importance of food, and perhaps a nudge to become more of your own food supply chain!

The basics of food security should be taught in public schools — from how to grow and harvest food in one’s own yard or community, to shopping effectively, cooking nutritious meals, understanding food science, and the economic and climate factors that impact food supply chains. Both indoor and outdoor education components are needed in K-12 school facilities and curriculum.

Community gardens:

There are several community garden ventures in the west shore, including the Colwood Community Garden outside the Colwood municipal hall (and across from Wishart Elementary School), and the Royal Roads Giving Garden on the Royal Roads University campus in Colwood.

solara goldwynn, rru
RRU food systems manager Solara Goldwynn at the Giving Garden, Oct 3/22. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Community gardens are worked by volunteers from the community, often supported by large organizations.

Produce from community gardens is usually distributed to local organizations including food banks. The Royal Roads garden has distributed 1,000 lb of produce to the community in its 2022 inaugural year; setting up or integrating with a distribution network is key to that sort of success.

colwood, community garden
Colwood Community Garden, accessible from the parking lot at Colwood City Hall. [Island Social Trends – Oct 5, 2022]

Some other Thanksgiving thoughts:

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thanksgiving 2022 (October 10, 2022): “Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the harvest season. It is a chance to be there for one another and recognize the people who make a difference in our lives.” [Read the full statement]

BC Premier John Horgan on Thanksgiving 2022 (October 10, 2022): “Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the abundance of the fall harvest with family and friends.” [Read the full statement]

Big yield for inaugural Royal Roads community garden (October 3, 2022)

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