Interest surges in N. Island food sovereignty

Introduction of a new column which will look at all aspects of North Island food sovereignty.

North Island food!  The bounty harvested from gardens, forests, and seas around and on the northern third of Vancouver Island.  Barbecued salmon, sauteed wild mushrooms, mashed potatoes, huckleberry sorbet, wild blackberry jam, garden salad, fish and chips, honey, vegetable soup…  What’s not to like?

Interest in local food is undergoing a resurgence. There are a number of reasons why: taste, nutrition, health, community building, climate change, culture, history. Plus, increasing local food production and consumption is one easy way to improve the local economy. A regional approach to local food suits the North Island because when it comes to factors affecting our food supply — climate, weather, soils, transportation — this region is united.   And despite our many micro-climates, when it comes to growing food, our communities have much more in common with each other than with anyone else. We know this from our experience, which is verified by readily available facts documented by Environment Canada in its climate normals  statistics (1971-2000 averages).

They tell us much greater excess rainfall and generally much lower temperature and sunshine defines our difference from the rest of the island and the Sunshine Coast. This is very significant for how, when and what we grow and harvest.

The key to increasing and improving local food production is local knowledge — sharing the large body of existing knowledge and building on that knowledge with experimentation and innovation.

In contrast to local knowledge, we are reminded of the approach taken at a meeting some years ago. An expert from the interior agricultural mainland was sent (at considerable taxpayer expense) to tell us in eloquent and painstaking detail how to  convert a piece of fertile, flat grassland with deep soil into a garden. Everyone was too bemused or too polite to point out that our land was either forest, with a hummocky surface produced by fallen trees, or bulldozed post-extraction land with subsoil at the surface more often than not.

Perhaps we thought that this was all part of the complete lack of knowledge or understanding by the powers that be of the North Island environment.

In this column in the upcoming months we will hit the road to explore and share local knowledge about local food. We will learn from the groups and individuals who are actively working to re-create and sustain a healthy, vibrant, local, shared food culture.

One such initiative is the North Island Farmer’s Market — formerly the Port McNeill Farmer’s Market — founded in 2012. It’s a great place to get involved as a seller or consumer. Do you have the space and time to grow something to sell at the market? Now’s the time to plan and plant for it. Not growing your own food? Plan to stop by the market this spring and summer and pick up fresh locally produced vegetables, fruit, herbs, eggs, bread, jams. This year’s market dates and times will be available soon; check their Facebook page for the latest information and an ongoing discussion about food security.

North Island food sovereignty, it’s the bee’s knees!

David Lang and Dawn Morehead are founding members of Grassroots Garden Society.

 

Just Posted

NorthIsle starts drilling in Pemberton Hills area after negotiating deal with Freeport

Mining industry one step closer to a revitalization after farm-out agreement

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Port Hardy Fire Rescue’s open house a blazing hit

PHFR Lt. Harding explained that the organization is always looking for more recruits.

Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nation drafts first phase of passive housing project

The housing project will have 96 residential units for low-income families.

North Island Seniors Housing Foundation requests land from Port Hardy Council

“The foundation members will be coming to council with more information at a future date.”

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to the Middle East to learn more about the fate of the Saudi national

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Tri-Port Midget Wild kick off season with gold medal performance at Nanaimo tournament

Chalk up another gold medal performance for the Tri-Port Midget Wild.

North Island Peewee Eagles shutout Comox Valley Chiefs at home

The North Island Peewee Eagles took no prisoners at the Chilton Regional… Continue reading

Nanaimo Clippers ‘clip’ North Island Atom Eagles’ wings on the road

The Nanaimo Clippers defeated the North Island Atom Eagles 6-4 on Saturday in Port McNeill.

Port McNeill municipal election candidate Derek Koel’s profile

“For over 18 years I have followed Port McNeill municipal politics and affairs closely,” Koel said.

Port Hardy municipal election candidate Don Kattler’s profile

“I believe it is time for new energy and change in our municipal government,” Kattler said.

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Most Read