by Margo Peill
Cozy greetings from the Northwest! January has been an exceptionally exciting month here in the Northwest, as we officially launch the Farm to School Regional hub based out of Terrace! I am thrilled and incredibly inspired to be coming on as the Farm to School community animator for this region, serving communities from Terrace to Telkwa.
There is already an amazing amount of work being done within our region by schools, local organizations and communities to help ensure that students are getting access to healthy, local food and I’m really looking forward to being able to support and help enhance these initiatives.
Before we get too far into the plans and programs for the new Northwest Hub, I want to take a moment to introduce the region of the Northwest. The city of Terrace (pictured below), where the regional hub is based, is situated on the banks of the majestic and bountiful Skeena River in the Coast Mountain Range. With a population of about 13,000 residents and about a 16-hour drive from Vancouver, residents of this corner of the province have been known to be very resourceful, creative and skillful when it comes to food resources and feeding each other. The regional hub will also encompass the town of Smithers (about 200 km east of Terrace) with a population of about 10,000 people, as well as several communities in the surrounding area.
Throughout these communities, we are really looking forward to closely working with championing community organizations to help enhance our regional food systems and support local schools. We are so excited to work with Kalum Community School Society (KCSS), whose focus is to raise awareness of hunger in Terrace and surrounding areas. KCSS runs many programs in the area including a fruit tree registry, community gardens, Food Skills for Families workshops, and their Hungry Kids Project.
In Smithers and the surrounding areas, we will be working closely with Groundbreakers Collective, an organization dedicated to advancing food production knowledge and skills. They have already been doing exceptional work in not only getting healthy, local food into the hands of school children, but also helping them understand where it comes from and how to produce it. Many of the schools in the Smithers area that have been funded by Farm to School grants in the past have been supported by Groundbreakers, and we can’t wait to begin working with them!
I am so excited to dive into working with these organizations, and many others as we continue to support the programs of the eight schools in our regional hub that have been funded through Farm to School BC grants, as well as working toward building strong regional food systems and getting more local, healthy food into the bellies of school children across the Northwest!