Vancouver Food Policy Council (VFPC)

Website

Est. 2004

Background:

In 1990, the need to enhance local food security became recognized in Vancouver. The Vancouver Food Policy Organization (VFPO) was formed in 1995, however their funding was lost after some internal reorganization and budget cuts within the City. Community organizations however continued to develop and deliver food-related programs and services in Vancouver. By 2002, the Lower Mainland Food Council was established, which included some members from the VFPO. This group met regularly and developed a mandate, goals, and a background document on community-based food organizations. The LMFC then shifted its focus to developing food policy that would coincide with the City’s new sustainability mandate. In 2003, the idea to create an Action Plan for forming a community-based food policy council was discussed during a workshop; a Food Policy Task Force was then created to provide leadership in achieving this goal. By July 2004, Vancouver City Council had fully approved the proposed Food Action Plan, the councils’ member roles, protocols, vision and mandate, and election process. Members were elected on July 14th, and on September 20, 2004, the VFPC had its inaugural meeting.

Membership:

The VFPC can have up to 21 members, hailing from various sectors of the local food system, including farmers, food distributors, nutritionists, processors, waste managers, activists, and academics. Members are appointed by City Council for a three-year term. A staff member from the Social Planning department also holds a position as a liaison to assist the VFPC with their work. A City Councillor is appointed the role of a liaison, offering a direct link between City Council and the VFPC. VFPC also has both a Parks Board and School Board Liaison.

Association with Government:

The VFPC is an advisory committee within the City of Vancouver’s Social Development Department.

Documents Created:

The City of Vancouver’s  Greenest City 2020 Action Plan:

The Plan identifies food as one of its 10 priority areas and is intended as a framework for the development of various food policies that can be implemented by the municipality in keeping with their sustainability goals. The Plan also calls for the development of a Food Strategy, which is currently being developed by Social Policy with the input of the VFPC. The Food Strategy will incorporate a detailed plan of how to achieve set targets, such as increasing the city’s food assets by 50%.

In 2007, City Council unanimously adopted a  Food Charter.

 Food Secure Vancouver: Baseline Report (2009).

This three-year study analyzes key factors that support and enhance Vancouver’s food security. The report establishes baseline indicators from which food security can be measured in the future, and also identifies priority actions for improving Vancouver’s food system.

Activities:

  • Guidelines created to promote safe and responsible keeping of honeybees (Jul, 2005)
  • City Council adopted urban agriculture design guidelines for the private realm (Jan, 2009)
  • Community Gardening initiative (2010)
  • Implementation began of a food waste collection and composting program (Feb, 2010)
  • City Council approved guidelines for keeping backyard hens (Apr, 2010)
  • City Council updated its farmers market policy (Jul, 2010)
  • The City’s street food program expanded to include more vendors and greater diversity (Jan, 2011)
  • City-wide food system assessment
  • Involvement in farmers markets and pocket markets
  • Green roofs
  • Urban agriculture in Southeast False Creek
  • Fruit trees in City parks
  • Urban chickens