Food is life! Along with clean air, water, and shelter, food is essential to our survival. To be food secure, one must be able to have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food. Furthermore, food bonds us. Regardless of culture or creed, food is used in celebration all across the world, and reflects and helps express identity. In light of its necessity and ability to foster relationships, it should be treasured and valued as such.
Food security and food sustainability are inextricably linked. Without robust and sustainable food systems, food security becomes more difficult to achieve. Sustainable food systems are those that consider all areas of sustainability - society, economy, and environment (+ individual well-being). Such systems are typically diverse and localized, are more insulated from price volatility, and can better withstand global shocks such as the recent pandemic and the ever-growing threat of climate change.
So where does a food map fit into all this? A food map can be a powerful tool for visualizing and communicating information. It aims to create links between food and place, and the people that populate it. It can reflect various parts of the food chain - from food production and processing, to distribution, consumption, and waste management. It develops visible connections that previously may not have been clear. Although not a silver bullet to food security, a food map may help people better connect with each other around food and food resources, thus helping to create a more resilient foodscape.
Our goal by summer’s end is to create the foundations of a localized digital food map that can be easily accessed and built upon, evolving and adapting to the needs of the community. Through group ideation and based off of feedback from the survey, we would like to include the following information on the map:
Note: this list is not comprehensive nor static, but provides the community with the broad brushstrokes of our thought process.
Producers: Name, location, type (e.g. fruit, livestock, medicinal, etc), contact information, accessibility/availability, about blurb (e.g. history, methods used, etc).
Community Gardens: Existing and potential (includes contact information and details)
Potential sites for agricultural development: What kind, what needs to be done, contact information and details
Processing locations, workshop opportunities, and details (e.g. Community Centre)
Co-op: Name, location, contact information, accessibility/availability, details
Farm sites (e.g. Jollity, Howling Wolf, etc): Name, location, contact information, accessibility/availability, details
Egg stands: Name, location
Delivery service: Details
Sites that collect food waste for compost: Location, contact info, etc.
Sites that collect food waste for animal consumption: Location, contact info, etc.
The map may be accompanied by an additional section that includes the following information:
Assistance: Who requires assistance to harvest, potential volunteer team to assist in harvesting
Trade: opportunities for trade
Collective Activities: Activities that require community organizing, such as milk herdshare, shared tools (e.g. mulcher), mass soil delivery, etc.
Wild Foraging: What edible plants are available on Thetis Island, how to process them, and responsible harvesting practices (to ensure ecosystem sustainability and privacy).
Categories will be colour-coded and when locations are selected, the information will appear in a pop-up window. We also hope to include features that allow users to organize by category/need.
Please note, participation on the food map is a voluntary activity, and only those who have explicitly granted permission will be shown on the map. Furthermore, if you do decide to participate, the amount of information you share is entirely up to you. We will also be including a notice regarding respect for private property.
In addition to the food map, eSPOKES could be used for community notifications and one-off call-outs.
Keep your ‘onions peeled’ for future updates regarding the project!