We made an impact! The latest draft of the District of North Vancouver’s (DNV) Official Community Plan (OCP) was released on March 4th, and now includes four statements in reference to food security and/or urban agriculture! This is really exciting, and shows that your support for urban agriculture and local food is starting to catch the attention of our local government. Thank you to everyone that wrote a letter or spoke to a Councilor about this issue!
Under the statements from 6.3 Community Services, Programs and Facilities the OCP now says:
12. Encourage sustainable, local food systems through initiatives such as promotion of healthy, local foods and food production DELETE:(on private property), and the facilitation of community gardens, farmers markets, urban agriculture pilot projects in appropriate locations and food production DELETE:(on private property), and the facilitation of community gardens, farmers markets, urban agriculture pilot projects in appropriate locations.
NEW 13. Integrate opportunities for urban agriculture in planning town and village centres.
14. Collaborate with Vancouver Coastal Health and other community partners in their efforts to provide increased access by all members of the community to safe, nutritious food.
NEW 15. Develop a food policy that defines the District’s vision and commitment to facilitating a food system that supports long term community and environmental health.
A factor that contributed to this inclusion of food security in the OCP may have been a letter that Table Matters Community Reference Group* wrote a letter to the DNV last month. The letter urged the DNV to support food security and sustainable food systems more explicitly in the Official Community Plan (OCP) in both the vision and policy areas. It was signed by over 25 community members and organizations!
If you want to read the specifics of the letter and the policy recommendations you can download it here.
* The citizens and stakeholders who have signed this letter are part of a group that has formed as a result of an event held November 5, 2010 called Table Matters: A Community Discussion about Food Security and Urban Agriculture. Since then we have begun to work together on strategic planning and building a working group of individuals and organizations on the North Shore interested in food security, urban agriculture and sustainable food systems.