The Regional Food System Roundtable explored how local governments can support the local food economy. Learn why increasing capacity to produce food close to home and improving the financial stability of the food sector are key factors in this effort.
The appetite for fresh, locally produced food is growing throughout the region. Metro Vancouver recently teamed up with experts from across the agriculture industry during a day long seminar in Coquitlam, to discuss how local government can best support our regional food system. Darrell Mussatto, Mayor of the City of North Vancouver, explains why.
“Metro Vancouver and it’s member municipalities feel that we can take a bit more of leadership role in terms of our food security and food supply here in the Lower Mainland.”
The discussion focused on how to strengthen the financial stability of the food sector while expanding the capacity to grow, process and manufacture food close to home.
“So what we’re trying to do today is figure how we can get processors and distributors together to get food from the local farmers the local public that want to consume our food,” says Richmond Councillor Harold Steves.
And in British Columbia, investing in the food processing sector is already making economic sense. Alistair Johnston of Synertik Strategies and Solutions Inc outlined the impact this industry has on the provincial bottom line.
“The people who have plants who take goods in from farms and process them into finished products that we all put onto our plates, is almost 7 billion dollars a year in BC.”
There were also suggestions of ways to cultivate new interest in production.
“We’re talking today about possible food hubs or centres of excellence,” explains Harold Steves. “Where people can learn about the different local foods — how to prepare foods, how to process them.”
All these ideas and more will be used to shape the implementation of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Food system strategy. Mussatto sees the initiative as a great way to combine economic development in the present with the future needs of our region.
“We have a great opportunity to support our local businesses and local farmers and keep the food security close to home and really make a better more stable future for us here.”