A day-long forum on local food and how it relates to people’s good health is being held Thursday, March 27 at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney.
While it’s a by-invitation-only event, organizers say there are 20 to 25 open seats available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.
“On a local level, this is an opportunity to bring active agricultural people together with people involved with health programs,” says Alicia Cormier.
Cormier, a councillor with the District of Central Saanich, approached the Town of Sidney and District of North Saanich to co-host the Saanich Peninsula Healthy Communities You Are Where You Eat Gathering. They applied for and received a B.C. Healthy Communities grant for the forum.
Cormier said the event is about finding better ways to support local farmers and agricultural producers. At the same time, there are links between good, local food and people’s health. What local governments need to know, she said, is how to bring all sides together.
“When I ran for council, I was motivated to see what I could do to make agriculture more viable,” she explained, adding questions of land availability, where the next generation of farmers is coming from and conflicts between urban and rural populations are faced by each municipality.
Marlaina Elliot, Sidney’s Director of Development Services is on the event organizing committee. She says Sidney’s role is more on the side of urban consumers.
“It’s a question of quality of life,” she said. I think a lot of people would like to have better access to local fresh fruit and vegetables.”
The gathering, Elliot continued, is a starting point on access, as well as many other agricultural issues, including the idea of community-supported agriculture.
The forum starts at 8:30 a.m. and run to 4 p.m. There will be a series of displays and a full program of speakers.
“We feel this is a beginning,” said Elliot. “We hope people will create relationships and networks and help identify things we can do to be more sustainable.”
To get one of the public seats, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.