A group of Rosslanders are working to secure funding for a Rossland Food Security Action Plan.
Councillor Andrew Zwicker is among a group of people trying to secure a Community Food Action Initiative (CFAI) grant from Interior Health. The grant provides $45,000 over three years for three communities.
The group in question still doesn’t have a name, though they are leaning toward calling themselves a Food Security Task Force.
“If [the grant] goes ahead then this group that we have will form itself into… We don’t know exactly what we’re going to call ourselves yet, probably right now we’re the Food Security Task Force. Although we may become part of the Sustainability Commission, we may not,” says Zwicker.
Zwicker started the group by meeting with Rossland food growers and people who were interested in food security.
“Food was always such a growing trend in town already. I mean all these people that are so passionate about it, well I thought, ‘Well, there’s got to be something that’s limiting everybody from happening, because all these people here are excited about it, why isn’t it a bigger thing?’” he says. “So I started meeting with all of the different food growers and passionate people about it over the last spring, summer, fall, and then this fall the grant opportunity came up with Interior Health.”
The group submitted a letter of intent for the CFAI grant, and was one of the final seven selected to submit a full grant application.
The first step in creating the Rossland Food Security Action Plan will be research.
“So what is our current food scenario? Who’s growing what? Who’s selling it to who? How are people buying it?” says Zwicker.
The plan will look at ways to increase food production, ways of growing the number of people buying local, and ways to improve sales and marketing.
One of the potential ideas is to introduce community cold storage, so that large amount of suitable produce can be bought and kept for the winter.
“Everyone has like a basket in this cold storage facility,” explains Zwicker. “Because I don’t have enough room to keep 50 winter squashes in my basement or 1000 potatoes, but if I can rent out space in this community cold storage, I can keep more of the stuff that I grew and have it all for the winter.”
Another potential initiative is to purchase a juicing machine and use fruit from trees around town to make local juice. Not only earning money to keep the plan sustainable and ongoing, but to provide a service by removing bear attractants.
A Selkirk student is also working on a project to do an inventory of agricultural land around Rossland. The inventory could then potentially be used by the City to lease city-owned land for agricultural purposes.
“Someone can come into town, look at the map, and say ‘Ok, here’s all the City owned land that could potentially be used for vegetables or something, and here’s the form to fill out, I wanna lease it, and here’s the price,’ and it’s super easy,” says Zwicker.
The Food Security Action Plan would potentially draw on tax payer dollars. For the sake of the grant application, $5,000 from the Sustainability Commission’s budget and $15,000 from the City of Rossland have been budgeted, but nothing’s set in stone, and it’s hoped the group can find more funding resources.
Anyone excited by food sustainability who would like to join the group or learn more can contact Councillor Zwicker at firstname.lastname@example.org.