Concerns about food security has recently made headlines with the widespread E. coli related sicknesses, beef recalls and shut down of the XL Food plant in Brooks, Alberta. And, although that plant has been cleared to start production again, doubts about the healthfulness of commercially available foods linger with many consumers.
The aptly timed release of a new local food resource will help many people in the Kamloops and North Thompson areas circumvent reliance on big abattoir meat, while also supporting local food producers.
The North Thompson Food Action Network (NTFAN) is a non-profit initiative that was inspired by a group of dedicated volunteers in the North Thompson and is funded by Interior Health.
“Generally, we’re hoping to create awareness about local food, the environmental impacts of it, the health benefits of it, lessening fossil fuels, supporting your local food producers, all that good stuff,” explains Elizabeth Elston, website administrator for the NTFAN.
The network, although several years old, recently launched a website to help people in the region learn more about, and source, local food. “(There’s so much food) available locally, you just have to find it,” continues Elston. “It’s not sitting in the grocery store, some of it’s sitting in the Farmers’ Markets, but some of it’s not. Especially meat; you have to get in touch with people.”
One of the meat producers listed in the NTFAN directory is the Peters’ Dominion Creek Ranch near Whitecroft. The meat the Peters family produces on their land is produced without any antibiotics or hormones and is processed in small abattoirs, factors that Betty Peters credits as setting their meat apart from that produced and processed at giant facilities.
“We can speak directly to how (the animals) are handled, their housing facilities. We can basically talk to people all about how it’s produced,” Peters says.
Although Dominion Creek Ranch distributes their products mostly to restaurants and local businesses, the Food Action Network website lists many more producers who sell directly to individual customers. The site also lists meat processors, farmers’ markets, food banks, fishing and hunting information, and basically anything pertinent to this area’s local food system.
Want to take a gardening course, learn about wild food or discover how to make a birch bark canoe? That information’s there too.
“Our mandate is food security and sustainability is the larger umbrella,” says Elston. “When you purchase locally produced and processed food, you know where your food’s coming from. You know where your food was raised and how it has been processed. If you have any questions, you can ask your local farmer, baker, or butcher. The NTFAN website helps put you in touch with those local producers and processors.”
Explore the NTFAN resource at: bcfoodactionnetwork.com