Community Collaboration in Action – The Creation of a CV Food Policy Council

LUSH Valley is being supported by the Comox Valley Regional District to create a regional Food Policy Council 

Read about the CVRD’s motion here.

Members of the CVFPC include:  

  • Alivia Veenstra, Youth Member
  • Andrea Cupelli, Community Member and Coalition to End Homelessness
  • Arzeena Hamir, CVRD and farmer
  • Bev Miller, Community Member
  • James McKerricher, LUSH Valley gleaning and Butchers Block Distribution
  • Jenn Meilleur, Community Member and Farm 2 School BC
  • Judy Goldsmidt, Mid Island Farmers Institute
  • Lydia Powers, Community Nutritionist, Island Health
  • Lynette Hornung, community member and Greenways Trust
  • Sandra Viney, owner Atlas Café
  • Sheila McDonnell, School Trustee SD 71
  • Spencer Serin, CV Economic Development Board and FoodMetrics Laboratories.
  • Stephanie McGowan, Town of Comox
  • Vickey Brown, Village of Cumberland
  • Wendy Morin, City of Courtenay
  • Zack Haigh, LUSH Valley Food Action Society Board

Comox Valley Food Policy Council up and running

 On October 2nd, in the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) Board Room, LUSH Valley hosted the inaugural meeting of the Comox Valley Food Policy Council.

“The Comox Valley Food Policy Council has been over a year in the making,” says Maurita Prato, Executive Director of LUSH Valley and Coordinator of the Food Policy Council.  “We now have 16 experts from local government and across the local food system. It is a powerhouse group of people who are excited to influence change. All members have signed on for a two-year term.”

A Food Policy Council is an innovative collaboration between citizens and government officials. The goal is to provide a forum for advocacy and policy development that works towards the creation of a food system that is ecologically sustainable, economically viable and socially just. The primary goal of many Food Policy Councils is to examine the operation of a local food system and provide ideas and policy recommendations for how it can be improved. 

The members are focused on three main areas of food systems policy: increasing food security (access to healthy food), building the local food economy, and supporting food-systems education (sometimes called food literacy).

This past summer the CVRD created a staff report for their Board and the Board passed a motion stating that: “The Comox Valley Regional District endorse the formation of the Policy Council and direct staff to identify opportunities for collaboration…, once established, in support of District’s services and strategic priorities and provide in-kind assistance as requested by the Policy Council…”  

“The timing of the formation of this Council couldn’t be better,” states Arzeena Hamir, farmer, CVRD  Board Director, and member of the Food Policy Council. “With the City of Courtenay starting their Official Community Plan revision process, the Regional District in strategic planning, and upcoming processes with our Regional Growth Strategy, there are immediate opportunities for engagement. I am particularly interested in the Food Policy Council diving into the Food Security Section of the Regional Sustainability Strategy, to look at opportunities for the implementation of a progressive food policy .”

 What is a Food Policy Council?

 Food Policy Councils (FPCs) are comprised of individuals from all aspects of a local food system. A Food Policy Council is an innovative collaboration between citizens and government officials. The goal is to provide a forum for advocacy and policy development that works towards the creation of a food system that is ecologically sustainable, economically viable and socially just. The primary goal of many FPCs is to examine the operation of a local food system and provide ideas and policy recommendations for how it can be improved.

The following video, out of North Carolina, is specific to its region and also gives us a great example of an engaged Food Council and what it can do for its community.

Watch a video that describes Food Councils.

Want to know more about the CVFPC? Please email Maurita Prato at maurita@lushvalley.org.