An Appetite for Action
The Capital Region is home to knowledgeable and passionate individuals, businesses and organizations who are working to increase food security on Southern Vancouver Island. From farmers to chefs, health professionals to economists - the local food movement is growing. Check out the number of regional resources, initiatives and programs which can help you take action and be part of the solution.
Everyone Can Play a Role
Understanding the resources that go into producing our meals can make us more aware of the relationship between food and climate change; helping us make better choices. Everyone can do their part - take a personal pledge to support the local food movement, learn where you can find local food, and share your images on the benefits of local food in the photo gallery.
What is the connection between food systems and climate change?
From growing and harvesting to processing, shipping and waste - each bite we take has an energy and climate impact. Although we know that global food systems are a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, measuring the impact of our daily meals can be challenging. There are several factors that contribute to food's climate impact, including: how low on the food chain it is, how much energy is used to produce it, how the food is grown, and how far it has to travel before it gets to the table. Here in the capital region, annual food-related transportation emissions are estimated at 695,000 tonnes of CO2e per year.
When it comes to the future food of security in the region, the conversation gets even more complex. Even if we significantly reduce community GHG emissions over the next decade, increased temperature and precipitation trends are expected to continue.
While a changing climate might provide some short term opportunities -- such as an increased ability to grow a broader range of viable crops -- there are a number of impacts that will negatively affect food security and agriculture on Vancouver Island including:
These impacts will have direct impacts and affect what we grow, how we grow and when we grow.
As the implications of climate change in the capital region are still being realized, both mitigation and adaptation strategies are required to increase food security. By reducing energy use associated with food growth and transport, diversifying local food production, and supporting local famers and small-scale producers and processors, we are more likely to achieve our GHG reduction targets and better prepare for change. A new future is possible but it takes individuals, organizations and businesses to make it happen.
Vancouver Island imports over 95% of its food.
Fifty years ago, Vancouver Island produced almost 85% of its food needs locally. Now, just 5% is produced on the island. By growing food on the island, eating seasonally and sharing traditional knowledge we can increase our community resiliency and support our local economy. Of course, the food security challenge involves more than personal choices - it requires a strategic focus on enhancing our agricultural productive capacity through means that are environmentally, economically and socially beneficial to our communities.
Growing solutions to climate change means addressing urban and rural food system capacities, changing individual behaviours, and building support among restaurants, institutions, grocery stores and more. If you have an appetite for change, let's take action together.