Pandemic Podcast

Community Food Security in a Pandemic

Stay calm and grow food. 

This new podcast is about building community resilience in the Comox Valley in uncertain times, through awareness, inspiration and empowerment of food systems actors globally and locally.

Each episode will feature three segments: Awareness, Inspiration, and Empowerment.

1. Awareness: Community food security news from the global to the local.
2. Inspiration: Heart-warming, true, and current stories of community compassion and resiliency around food security.
3. Empowerment: Interviews with a local ‘food heroes’ and sharing actions that you can take to create more food security in our community.

New episodes are published regularly. Scroll down to tune in!

Episode Five: Squashing Hunger with Lake Trail Community Education Society

This week’s short episode will focus on an Interview with Lake Trail Community Education Society Garden Coordinator Elaine Codling.

Lake Trail Community Education Society has been around since 2010, with the  Mission of promoting an integrated focus on lifelong learning, healthy lifestyles, community development and engagement leading to improved learning, stronger families and a healthier community.

Lake Trail Community Middle School strives to be a neighbourhood centre accessible to everyone.


Episode Four: Community Food Security– The Long Game

Interview with ED and Vancouver Island Health Authority Food Hub lead, Jen Cody of Nanaimo Food Share.

Community Food Security- The long game is the focus of this show.  True community food security is not about quick fixes or band-aid solutions, but systems changes towards resilient thriving local food systems.   That means investments in infrastructure, policy and equipping a new generation of food growers and processors. Hopefully the need for this long-term thinking will be clarified by recent events- but this is certainly not a given.

My biggest take away came from Stuart Oke from the National Farmers Union (link is external) and Rooted Oak Farm (link is external) talked about the existing challenges in farming, and how long farmers have been continually devalued, with the last 30 years showing significant devaluing- he was speaking from a financial devaluing but also social devaluing or invisibility of farmers and growers.  Here is a quote from him: 

“There’s certainly a real short term need to help protect farmers and our food system now and that’s really important to get right, otherwise we won’t have a medium and long term transformation to talk about. Providing that we can get that short term economic need taken care of, the medium term is certainly investing in that infrastructure which will allow local food systems to thrive and prosper.” – Stuart Oke, National Farmers Union

Check out the resources below! 

1. Nanaimo Food Share in the news:

2. On Tuesday, April 21, 2020 Food Secure Canada hosted a webinar “From short-term response to food system transformation.” 

Some other great resources through Food Secure Canada:  is a database of articles about what communities across Canada have enabled regarding food security

3. The Prime Minister announcement: $252 million to address food supply issues. 

Canadian Federation of Agriculture has stated the industry had suggested 2.6 billion was needed to maintain food security and food supply and warn of food supply disruptions “$252 million like a bucket of water on a burning house.”

4. Comox Valley Farmer’s survey. This survey is a follow up from a conversation held on April 22, 2020 with Comox Valley farmers and food growers called, “Thriving Comox Valley Food Supply,” hosted by LUSH Valley and the CV Food Policy Council.

The survey asks specific questions about what support you could use on your farm this season in order to grow more food or maintain your normal production. We used the feedback from the meeting and our own insights on support resources to ask questions that would lead to a plan.

The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. Complete the survey here. Thank you!

Episode Three: Stay Calm and Grow Food

The idea of local food flowing into social programs is not new, especially for those of us working in Community Food Security, however our current situation is providing additional arguments for ‘closing the loop’.  This episode focuses on projects near and far that embrace this idea, with interviews with Honey Grove Bakery, Hillcrest Farm and Forest, LUSH Emergency Food Chef, and LUSH Warehouse Manager.

Want to learn more? Check out the links below:

Food Security, Poverty, Housing and the Local Food System; Closing the loop in the Comox Valley

The Globe and Mail: Food Coalition aims to feed the disadvantaged while saving restaurants and the food-supply chain

The Golden Trifecta: Local artisan bakery teams up with Comox Valley grain farmer and miller to promote food security on Vancouver Island

Restaurants Coconut Lagoon and Thali, and community organization Food for Thought: Net Café, have joined forces with a group of A-list Ottawa chefs, friends, and volunteers to launch Food for Thought: COVID-19 Relief, cooking and delivering free hot meals daily to families across Ottawa who live in shelters without cooking facilities. 

Episode Two: Grow Food Everywhere!

This week’s episode is packed with inspiring interviews from local food growers and advocates from Victoria and the Comox Valley.

Episode One: An Introduction

Interested in learning more about topics and events talked about in the podcast? We’ve got you covered. 

1.You are invited! Join for this FREE webinar on Wednesday, April 22 from 11:00 AM-12:00 PM with Can You Dig It Provincial Manager, Aaren Topley, and the City of Victoria Food System Coordinator, Alex Harned.  Register today and share with your municipal staff contacts and Councillors!

To learn more about the process and implementation of this initiative check out this Chek News article.

2. Calling all farmers! Please join us Wednesday, April 22 from 7:30-9:00 PM for a discussion and action planning re: Comox Valley Thriving Local Food Supply. How can we work together for a thriving local food supply this season?  Please join us for a CV farmer/producer discussion led by LUSH Valley and the Food Policy Council.  We want to understand your strengths and needs at this time and find ways to work together to support and advocate for shared interests (guaranteed markets, labour support…etc.).

Please email Jenn Meilleur if you plan on attending.

3. Check out the amazing video: Victory Gardens. This video is all about growing food here in the Comox Valley (it will make you laugh, too). Created by Dan Peruzzo, Producer, Shaw Spotlight, this video features many of our local food heroes!

Special thanks to our Producer, Jean Sarrazin, and to Wachiay Multimedia for production support!