Oct. 6, 2023
VICTORIA – More people will have access to nutritious food throughout B.C., thanks to a new two-year funding bundle for food security and food sovereignty programs.
“We all want people to have access to nutritious, healthy food,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Global inflation has hit people hard, and the rising cost of food is especially tough on vulnerable people. This funding will help thousands of people access good nutritious food to put on their tables.”
The $1.3-million provincial investment will help increase local production of food for more people, increase and improve access to culturally appropriate food, and continue to advance meaningful reconciliation in individual local communities throughout the province. This will be distributed through the Victoria Foundation?s Food Security Provincial Initiatives Fund over the next two years.
“It is essential that the community collaborates to build a food system that makes healthy, local food accessible for all,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO, Victoria Foundation. “I am proud of the work all organizations in our province are doing to build food security and improve the health of communities now and into the future.”
This investment will support nine organizations and their projects across the province over a period of two years, including:
- Victoria Community Food Hub Society and Mustard Seed Street Church – KitchenConnect Food Hub and Skills Training Centre
- Board of Education of School District No. 50 – Haida Gwaii Food Sovereignty Project
- Doig River First Nation – Doig River First Nation Community Garden Project
- Kamloops Food Policy Council – Working Group for Indigenous Food Soverignty
- Nuxalk Nation – Nuxalk College Community Kitchen
- Public Health Association of British Columbia – Strengthening Food System Networks Convening, Training and Resource Development
- Sources Community Resources – Sources Regional Food Hub
- Stellat’en First Nation – Stellat’en Community Garden
- Southern Stl’atl’imx Food Security Program – Southern Stl’atl’imx Health Society Community (SSHS) Gardening program
This investment builds upon $3.8 million in grants provided by the Province to Victoria Foundation in two previous years – 2019 and 2022 – that helped establish and expand the Food Security Provincial Initiatives Fund. The fund provides critical support to food security projects that develop and strengthen local food systems and economies.
“This funding will help many local non-profits meet their needs as they face increasing demand to provide nutritious food to the communities they support,” said Megan Dykeman, Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits. “Our work with Victoria Foundation and its partner organizations shows the power of coming together to support others in difficult times.” The funding supports the Province’s efforts and commitments to improve food security, reduce poverty, and create a more inclusive and accessible British Columbia.
- TogetherBC, B.C.’s poverty-reduction strategy, seeks to reduce overall poverty in the province by 25% and child poverty by 50% by 2024.
- Of the nine projects funded through this initiative, seven involve Indigenous organizations.
- Since 2017, the Province has invested more than $14.6 million in the BC Food Hub network, which includes 14 commercial food hubs throughout B.C.
For more information about the Victoria Foundation, visit: https://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/
For more information about the grants available through the Victoria Foundation, visit: https://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/community-grants-program/#
Two backgrounders follow.
What people are saying about funding for food security
Treska Watson, director of operations, Mustard Seed –
“The funding for the integrated food hub has enabled the Victoria Community Food Hub Society to complete construction of the new food-processing facility and allows Mustard Seed to continue to grow the Food Security Distribution Centre, helping us serve an ever-increasing need in our communities. With this support, we can now focus on the next phase: skills training programs that will create opportunity to strengthen the regional food system, build work experience in the food sector, and decrease barriers to accessing healthy foods.”
Janet Romain, Stellat’en First Nation Wellness Centre –
“Stellat’en First Nation Wellness Centre is so grateful to the Victoria Foundation for being a major contributor on our road to food security. The changes they are helping us make will help ensure our long-term food goals are met.”
James Moch, food security co-ordinator –
“The funding the South Stl’atl’imx Food Security program received has been essential to enhancing food growing capacities in the four Stl’atl’imx communities. These projects include expanding vegetable gardens and building garden accessory buildings. These projects and activities within this program have a high degree and participation and support from each community and hit many target areas of mental health and wellness, work skills development, Indigenous food security and sovereignty.”
Shannon Turner, executive director, Public Health Association of BC –
“This funding helps to strengthen and sustain important partnerships with municipalities, communities and Indigenous agencies concerned with community food development, community relationships and sustainable practices in food production. We are so grateful for the opportunity to support growth and development encouraging communities to become more food secure and sustainable.”
Shelly Crack, Haida Gwaii Food Sovereignty Project –
“The Victoria Foundation funding on Haida Gwaii is helping get people working on food for our community. The funding supports more people to participate in hands on work; harvesting and processing local and traditional food for our schools, hospitals and beyond. Some of the foods we are focusing on are salmon, halibut, cod, prawns, tuna, deer, berries and local vegetables.”
Deidre Goudriaan, program manager, Sources Community Resources –
“We are so pleased to work with the Victoria Foundation in the development and continuation of our warehouse worker training that helps people train, and develop skills (pallet jack, forklift and food safe training) to work in the warehouse setting effectively. These skills support the development of Sources Regional Food Hub and help us build our capacity to address food security across the communities of Surrey, Langley and White Rock. We have provided more than 3.7 million kilograms of food to the local community and almost 1.5 million meals, and helped those workers secure employment in warehousing.”
Nine projects will help people with more nutritious food
The funding of $1.3 million will be distributed through Victoria Foundation’s Food Security Provincial Initiatives Fund to nine organizations over two years (2023-24).
- Victoria Community Food Hub Society and Mustard Seed Street Church
- $420,000 provided for the Kitchen Connect Food Hub and Skills Training Centre
- The Kitchen Connect food hub utilizes facilities, equipment, training, and services to integrate, support and act as a catalyst for growth of the local food economy.
- Board of education of School District No. 50
- $106,750 provided for Haida Gwaii Food Sovereignty Project
- The funding will be used to engage in knowledge sharing within communities, between youth and Elders, and between Nations. The focus will be on food security gatherings, Elders circles, and hosting knowledge keepers from other Nations. There will also be emphasis on supporting Indigenous leadership in food security.
- Doig River First Nation
- $106,750 provided for the Doig River First Nation Community Garden Project
- Funding will be used to expand the garden project, hold community food security and gardening workshops, increase garden capacity at individual households (for fruit trees/shrubs, raised beds), and allow for more outreach to support individual/household gardeners that wish to start their own food gardens.
- Kamloops Food Policy Council
- $106,750 provided to fund Working Group for Indigenous Food Security
- The funding will cover the cost of scaling up organizational structures, procedures, and practices to increase support for the working group.
- Nuxalk Nation
- $106,750 provided to fund Nuxalk College Community Kitchen
- The funding will be used for community education and capacity development programs that offer instructions on a number of topics related to food security, such as seasonal gathering, traditional harvesting, traditional foods, food preservation, and gardening.
- Public Health Association of British Columbia (PHABC)
- $106,750 provided to fund the Strengthening Food System Networks project
- It will support programs of PHABC’s Division of Food Systems, bolstering efforts to enhance food literacy, strengthening school farms and community gardens, and mobilizing food systems knowledge and resources across the province.
- Sources Community Resources
- $106,750 provided for the Sources Regional Food Hub
- It will be used to train eight participants in a warehouse management skills program. The program offers paid work experience and training in warehouse management, fall protection, food safety, forklift operations and occupational first-aid.
- Stellat’en First Nation
- $106,750 provided for the Stellat’en community garden project
- The project will build upon previous work in the community garden by digging a root cellar and installing a permanent and dependable water source in the greenhouse in the winter. Infrastructure improvements will help to extend the growing season and support ongoing programming with the community members.
- Southern Stl’atl’imx Charitable Society
- $106,750 provided for the Southern Stl’atl’imx Health Society Community Gardening program
- Funding will be used for oversight and co-ordination on construction of garden accessory buildings.