Saturday February 10, 2024 | LANGFORD, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Food growing capacity and the strength of food supply are key factors for achieving urban community resilience. The health and well-being of individuals and households are tied to to the availability and cost of food.
A new organization called Urban Food Resilience Initiatives Society (UFRIS) has been launched in the fast-growing west shore of Greater Victoria with the leadership goal to strength urban food-growing capacity across the region.
Structural and social:
On the structural side that would see municipalities ensuring that all built structures take food-growing capacity into account; this will involve having city councils, planners and developers on board toward the goal.
On the community side the food resilience goal would see neighbourhoods understanding more about their existing capacities and working to flesh out the range and success of those capacities.
Filling a gap:
This new Urban Food Resilience Initiatives Society is filling a gap between the wide range of already successful organizations that operate community gardens, food distribution networks and soil development projects like compost centres. UFRIS is building strength of awareness among urban residents for how additional food can be sourced within the local community, among existing households and growing neighbourhoods.
Urban food resilience of course presumes that the established grocery store and food bank systems are well in place. Municipally-supported and neighbourhood-based food growing capacity rests on top of the corporate food chain which in turn relies on the large agricultural food-growing farm and agritech sector.
Naturally, communities want to be resilient in the face of the rising cost of living and also unforeseen emergencies.
These concepts and action lanes about achieving urban food resilience were presented to City of Langford committees in summer 2023. City of Langford council has included some aspects of community gardens in their strategic plan.
Another municipal presentation will be delivered to Town of View Royal council in March 2024.
Local opportunities to hear more about urban food resilience include the upcoming City of Langford Community Advisory Committee meeting on February 27 and at the UFRIS booth at Sooke Seedy Saturday on March 30.
Urban Food Resilience Initiatives Society will be holding a soil workshop this summer. As well, a Royal Roads University masters student has aligned with UFRIS to generate some local research on the interest in and use of community food gardens.
A community garden project in Langford may get rolling in 2025 under the auspices of UFRIS leadership.
Urban Food Resilience Initiatives Society was created by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. The three-member UFRIS board is led by Mary P Brooke (also a local publisher and former school trustee candidate), Rob Martin (former mayor of Colwood), and Dean Ross (local landscape entrepreneur).
For years, Mary Brooke has been a proponent of people growing food in their own back yards, for reasons of resilience (cost), carbon footprint (no drive to the store), and health impacts (fresh food at optimal nutrient level). She has long been a proponent of optimal nutrition (beyond the grocery store, beyond the Canada Food Guide).
In her work as a journalist and an observer social ecology, Mary Brooke has amassed a wide range of information and insights about how individuals, families, communities, businesses and governments are approaching the many facets and challenges of food sustainability and economic resilience. Housing growth and urban planning momentum in Langford and other west shore communities is a key part of the timeliness of this presentation. A Food Security Archive has been developed by Mary Brooke as editor of Island Social Trends.
During his time as Colwood mayor (and before that as a city councillor) Rob Martin was always attuned to bringing the community forward in collaborative alignment with longer-vision needs.
Over several years, Dean Ross has built his company IslandEarth Landscape in ways that enhance the local urban landscape and bring new ideas to outdoor spaces.
- Christmas hamper-sorting day at Goldstream Food Bank (December 12, 2023)
- Choose fresh! Packaged convenience foods more costly than they seem (December 8, 2023)
- Urban food resilience requires municipal leadership (October 29, 2023)
- Urban food resilience discussed by Langford committees (July 29, 2023)
- Digging into food gardens at PEXSISEN (June 14, 2023)
- Urban food resilience directions in Langford (June 9, 2023)
- TD Bank Group donates $196,000 to Royal Roads food-growing initiatives (May 30, 2023)
- BC contributes $7 million for Nanaimo food bank warehouse infrastructure (May 18, 2023)
- Food Security Archive (ongoing)