Why & How – Councils & Committees

I was reminded this evening that one of the major contributing motivations for Our Heart Gardens is empowering women and helping them remember how to cooperate. Moved into “homes of our own”, many of us don’t even remember how to cook together. Community starts, I believe, around a table sharing a meal, and women have been providing that as long as we’ve been human. Yes, there are exceptions and I love that. If everybody was the same, it’d be no fun! And it’s good to know what’s expected so those of us that enjoy pushing the envelope can do so while the rest of us can relax into traditional roles, comfortably learning and sharing the skills of our Elders and ancestors.

 

In the desire to create places where we can enjoy a new type of sharing, I’ve stepped into the role of volunteer/committee member. People who understand the vision and can help steer the project through the changes of policy and approvals need to be gathered. With that in mind, I’ve attended meetings of the Kamloops Food Policy Council (KFPC) for their Strategic Plan and Kamloops City Council Advisory Committee on Urban Agriculture for the new Official Community Plan. Oh, my!

 

A slog through the quagmire of getting things done in the political arena has me shaking the cobweb dust off my shoulders. It’s been a long time since I used those pathways in my brain! I was reminded of how slow things happen. But then, like water off the edge of a cliff, it goes really fast. Wings are being readied to fly – a better alternative…

 

KFPC is a group of volunteers and representatives of government agencies and other organizations that strive to create a vibrant “food system through information sharing, food action projects and community engagement.” The vision in their Strategic Plan is addressed by Our Heart Gardens in providing a means for citizens to have access to and to produce their own food, process and distribute it in a way that supports and enhances rather than destroys ecological systems, provides resilience to climate change impacts, and food sovereignty by teaching people how to grow food. I’m hoping to speak to them at the next monthly meeting. It’s nice to be able to talk in the meeting – at the Advisory Committee I don’t have a voice.

 

Gosh it’s hard to keep quiet! But the committee was formed long before I came along and they have a mandate to achieve. I was guided gently by Carole, sitting beside me, into sharing with her so she could advise me (Thank you, Carole!) or put forward comments to the group. I learned a lot by listening and identified issues that I need to be aware of in the creation of Our Heart Gardens – zoning and property taxes are only two. Luckily there are other, more positive aspects like everything identified above for the KFPC, as it was formed to do things that couldn’t be done by the City or other government bodies.

 

There are other things that the City wants to accomplish that Our Heart Gardens are designed to do that are outside the scope of Urban Agriculture and the Food Policy Council. Social aspects will need to be reviewed, itemized and provided to the City’s Social Planning Council as time permits. Right now, I’m off to bed because tomorrow I’m volunteering at the FarmLand Connections Conference where land and farmers find each other. Should be interesting!

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