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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Case Studies in Sustainability: Insights from Students in the Master of Arts in Sustainable Leisure Management Program

Achieving Food Security in Powell River

By Abhay Mepparambil

I quickly identified that food security issues exist in Powell River and several programs exist locally to address this issue. My paper speaks about the different challenges that Powell River faces in regard to food insecurity and, importantly, identifies successes from outside the region in addressing food security challenges. Three main issues that contribute to Powell River's food security challenges are growing local, an aging population and young entrepreneurs.

Powell River has acknowledged the fact that they have to become food secure and have taken some initiative to address the issue through various local undertakings such as Kale Force, 50 Mile-Eat Local Challenge and Edible Garden Tour, Community Gardens, Open Air Farmers Market, Powell River Farmers Institute, Good Food Box and Skookum food provisioners cooperative. All these programs address the issue of food security and promote the idea of growing local, sharing knowledge among each other, helping each other grow and develop the economy. However, there is more that can still be done.

I looked at various innovative solutions that could help Powell River in having a sustainable, food secure future. Within Canada, I found two innovative and successful approaches that address food security through education and sharing the importance of locally grown foods in the community: Farm to Cafeteria and Sole Food Street Farms programs. In teaching youth, creating relationships between nature and them, and by getting them involved in the food production process can help develop the economy in Powell River and would encourage local and entrepreneurial farming. The Farm to Cafeteria program helps in promoting locally grown foods, educating and providing healthy food in public agencies. It creates a demand for locally grown foods in the community which would can develop the economy (Farm to Cafeteria Canada, 2012). Sole Food Street Farm is based on urban farming where there is a constraint of space. Powell River can incorporate the idea of Sole Food Farm as the community gardens can understand and learn on how to produce more food from less space, share good quality seeds from their seed bank to grow good quality food, and provide employment opportunities to the people who are interested in these activities but cannot afford to do so as they do not have the proper resources (Sole Food Farms, n.d.).

Looking at all these things, I believe that Powell Rivver can be both sustainable and flourishing in a way that allows self reliance for its basic food needs, which can be achieved by working together by having a common goal for the development of Powell River and its community.

Download the full report here.


Farm to Cafeteria Canada. (2012). Farm to Cafeteria Canada. Retrieved November 10, 2013, from Farm to Cafeteria Canada:

Sole Food Farms. (n.d.). Sole Food Street Farms. Retrieved November 01, 2013, from Sole Food Farms:


  1. Hi, I was one of the Powell River people you talked to on your visit.

    There's an amazing variety of food-related projects going on in PR - it's hard to keep up with them all. There's a Farm-to-School project here, featured on the website you reference:
    Now, getting the hospital and other residential health programs on board would be a real win.

    The Sole Food project looks very cool. I can think of a few empty places in town that would look a lot better under veggies than they currently do! There are also a lot of large residential / small agricultural lots on the edges of town (which in practice means 10 minutes drive from the town centre!) which would be easy to convert to growing food if their owners want to.

    Other programs and projects in PR include:
    * 3 more markets - a Winter Market in town, and summer markets at Kelly Creek and Lund
    * the Agricultural Association, which runs the annual Fall Fair
    * Lund farmers co-operative
    * SALSA (Society for the Advancement of Local Sustanable Agriculture) and the Full Circe Farm project
    * Permaculture Powell River and Sycamore Commons permaculture demonstration site (where your photo was taken)
    * Spot Prawn Festival and Lund Shellfish Festival
    * Home Grown yearly publication of local food and farming
    * Food Security Project
    * Various garden clubs and gardening groups
    * Economic support by the PR Regional Economic Development Society (PRREDS)

    The PR Farmers Institute and PRREDS have had studies done on the potential for local food production. There is a lot of scope for expansion both of farms on acreage and of smaller scale growing. One problem is linking people who want to farm, especially younger people, with land to farm on. PRREDS is working on a farm leasing program to help with that.

    Hope you enjoyed your PR visit - we think it's a great place to live and we're working hard to make it even better!

    Kevin WIlson
    (involved with Transition Town PR, PR Farmers Institute, Skookum Coop, PR$, Permaculture PR and probably other things I've forgotten about!)

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Thank you so much for your feedback! It was very exciting visiting PR and we certainly learned a lot from the experience. Like you have mentioned, there is a lot going on in PR and we are all excited to see how things develop in the next while.


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