Since its inception the Williams Lake Food Policy Council (WLFPC) has continued to grow.
Today the council oversees a local-food store and co-ordinates two community gardens.
It also hosts an annual seed sharing event, which this year takes place on Saturday, May 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Memory Garden on Carson Drive.
At Seedy Saturday there will be a seed exchange, seedlings and seeds for sale, gardening demonstrations, kid’s activities, live music and food vendors, organizers said.
“People will also be able to sign up for a community garden bed,” said WLFPC director Tatjana Lauzon. Looking back Lauzon said the local food scene in Williams Lake has come a long way.
After a community food forum in 2006 it became apparent many people didn’t know how to access local food, she recalled.
“The community was worried about the disconnect to health and food, especially among our youth.”
Immediately the council was formed and began developing a Food Action Plan committed to increasing access to local food, growing a viable local food economy, advocating for municipal policies that support local food, and increasing self-sufficiency around food.
Through an Interior Health community food action initiative, and financial support from the Westin Foundation, Thompson-Nicola United Way, the City of Williams Lake, Cariboo Regional District and Community Futures, the council established Cariboo Growers, a retail outlet located at the corner of Oliver Street and Third Avenue, a former Petro Canada station site, owned by Suncor.
Zirnhelt Timber Frames, Pioneer Log Homes and United Concrete cannot be thanked enough, Lauzon said, noting the council also worked with the Business Improvement Area and Community Policing to form a partnership that became known as community corner.
On April 10 community corner celebrated its fourth anniversary.
Cariboo Growers is now open four days a week and carries goods from more than 50 producers.
It’s gone from a project to a viable economy, Lauzon suggested.
WLFPC president and local farmer Terri Smith works part-time at Cariboo Growers.
“We have local markets, which are great, but they are only for one day a week,” Smith said. “Having a store means farmers can farm and have their food sold locally.”