Central Okanagan Food Policy Council (COFPC)

Website

Est. 2007

Background:

In March 2006, the first Food Security Forum was held to bring together community stakeholders. A second Food Security Forum was held the following March. In October 2007, the COFPC was officially created.

Membership:

The COFPC is a group of citizens who are working towards a food secure Central Okanagan. Membership is open to anyone in the communities of Lake Country, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Westbank First Nations, Peachland and Regional District of Central Okanagan. Current members include representatives from the non-profit, health, and business sectors. Some organizations involved are Interior Health, Central Okanagan Community Gardens, and the University of British Columbia.

Association with Government:

They have no current involvement from the government, but have begun presenting their work to City Councils in earnest. They receive no official government funding; several grant applications have been made with no positive results. A past Councillor for the City of Kelowna remains a member of the group and helped to make sure elements of food security were included in the Official Community Plan during her time as Councillor.

Documents Created:

Activities :

  • The Fruit Tree Project was started in 2012 by a small group of volunteers with the COFPC; the goal of the project is to turn backyard fruit trees into a valuable source of food for the community by harvesting otherwise wasted fruit.
  • Partnering with Summerhill Winery and the Mobile Juice Factory, the COFPC put on an apple juice fundraiser; the fresh juice was pressed and pasteurized at Summerhill Winery. Proceeds supported the Fruit Tree Project.
  • They produce a seasonal newsletter, and hold a number of events, potlucks and workshops, including most recently, the ‘Future of Food in the Okanagan’ and ‘Food Matters: Local Community Resilience’.

Challenges :

They have limited avenues for engagement with City Councils, as the member of COFPC who was a City Councillor in Kelowna no longer holds that position. Also, there is limited availability of access to funding sources, with much competition, which is a hindrance to their work. There also seems to be a lack of political will.

Help in Overcoming Challenges:

  • Committed volunteers
  • Generally great relationships in the community, especially with other organizations, which makes it easier to collaborate for certain events and projects
  • Greater financial support would help so that they can commit more time and energy to their projects

Successes :

Their Information Committee has collaborated with the University of British Columbia Okanagan to develop an online food map. As well, the Fruit Tree Project is off to a great start this season, recently hiring a Coordinator for the project. Last year they had 80 volunteers, and saved over 5,000 lbs of fruit from backyard trees.