Ronn Boeur and Shelly Corbin sort through organic produce at the downtown Askews on Sunday, Feb. 19. –Image credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer

Ronn Boeur and Shelly Corbin sort through organic produce at the downtown Askews on Sunday, Feb. 19. –Image credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer

Facing up to food security

The Shuswap Food Action Co-op has taken up the challenge of raising awareness

You are what you eat is an expression that has been around for a long time.

But how many people buy into it or actually know much about the food they consume.

Luckily for area residents, not only are there a lot of homegrown food items available, there is a group that can help with the wheres and “why-fors” of using food to promote good health.

The Shuswap Food Action Co-op is an organization that has taken up the challenge of raising awareness around food security issues with the ultimate goal of initiating a local food policy.

“Food security occurs when every member of the community has reasonable access to affordable, safe, nutritious food that has been locally produced,” notes the group’s website.

“The promotion of a sustainable local food system lays the foundation for a more prosperous economic climate.”

Ronn Boeur, one of the co-op’s directors, says the group realized they are not getting their message out to a wide enough audience.

To remedy this, Boeur’s partner, Shelley Corbin, suggested the Shuswap Food Action Co-op host a series of talks.

“We are very aware there are food reasons that we as a society are poorly nourished, overweight, and dying early,” says Boeur. “A lot of people are just not vital.”

The conversations began last spring with six sessions and another six in the fall. The topic is “Jobs in Agriculture Forum: a panel discussion on the Shuswap as a farming area – past, present, and future, with Coun. Ken Jamieson, Louis Thomas, Kim Sinclair, Emily Jubenvill and Joy DeVos.

Farms in transition and youth employment will be the main focus.

On March 15, the conversation will be “Just what is Food Security? (And why should I care?)”, with David Askew and Growing Food Sustainably: Tried and true ideas, with Pim and Mary-Ann Van Oeveren.

The conversation on March 22 will be “Growing and Preserving Food: Why and ‘How-to.”’ with Barb, Geoff and Kevin Wellspring-Wood and “Measuring Health: What does good health look like and how is it achieved?,” with Jerre Paquette.

“Food As Medicine: Can we heal ourselves with our food choices?” with Juanita Miller and “What’s in a Label? (Product branding, health claims, ingredients list, certifications),” with Ernest Moniz and Una St Claire is the conversation on March 29.

On April 5, the conversation will focus on “Food Literacy: Deconstructing ‘Alternative Facts’ with Patricia Izik-Dzurko and “Big Nutrition on a Small Budget: Healthy choices that taste great” with Linda Wooster.”

“Those three weeks in March and April 5, all have to do with food and health and what does health mean,” says Boeur.

This, the third in a series begins Wednesday, March 8 from 7 to 9 in Room 130 of Okanagan College. There is no charge for the workshops and people are invited to drop in for one or all of them.

In order to bolster the local food network, Shuswap Food Action, in conjunction with a number of other groups, plans to facilitate lasting relationships between producers and retailers, to encourage low income and “at risk” groups to eat more nutritiously and to promote wider accessibility of local products for the general public.

To learn more about the Shuswap Food Action Co-op, send an email to shuswapfoodactioncoop@gmail.com.