Brianna van de Winjgaard at the Oliver Street Market Friday evening with produce she is growing in four different plots in Williams Lake

Brianna van de Winjgaard at the Oliver Street Market Friday evening with produce she is growing in four different plots in Williams Lake

Locally grown food continues to sprout in popularity

Locally grown food continues to grow in popularity with support from the Williams Lake Food Policy Council.

Locally grown food continues to grow in popularity with support from the Williams Lake Food Policy Council.

“Our food co-op supports over 50 growers and producers. We’re bringing markets to our farmers and producers,” said food policy council chair Tatjana Bates in last week’s report to city council. “To grow a viable food economy is also a really important one of our goals.”

Bates updated city council on its 2013-2015 projects, goals and priorities, as well as presenting a review of what’s been accomplished since the council’s inception seven years ago.

“We do an annual report every year, but we thought we’d do something different and capture a little creative video,” Bates said in delivering a video presentation of various projects. “The song’s a little funky, we’re trying to appeal to the younger crowd so we thought we’d move away from the cowboy theme.”

As photographs of the council’s projects such as Seedy Saturday and the Memory Garden on Carson Avenue flashed across the screen, the parody song, created by The Peterson Farm Brothers in 2012, I’m Farming and I Grow It, accompanied them.

“I want to point out that when I first moved here in 2002 there was a small farmer’s market on Friday and now we’ve put in 30 more projects on our map and we’re quite excited about that,” Bates said.

Two food forums have also been hosted by the council, with the second one in January 2012.

“We went back to the community to develop a three-year production plan because we finished our first five-year action plan,” she said, adding the council is presently tweaking a document that will outline its future goals.

One of the priorities aside from supporting Cariboo Growers and the existing farmer’s markets, is to work on a second phase of the Community Memory Garden.

“It’s coming along beautifully, all 45 beds are full, and another 22 beds are full, and a beautiful xeriscape garden was just created around the Rayel Macdonald memorial.

What was once a triangular piece of land has been transformed to life.

A two-phase plan will fit in a seating space, fruit trees and berry bushes for students to come and learn and pick, 50 more garden beds, a greenhouse and  eventually a root cellar, she said.

Coun. Laurie Walters congratulated the council for all its work, along with growers in the community who help make it successful.

Five years ago, Coun. Geoff Bourdon didn’t really care where his food came from, he told Bates. “I must say with the exposure your group’s had in the community and my own efforts to education myself, I can say half of the food I’m eating is sourced locally,” Bourdon said, adding it’s ‘’really easy” and it’s “really good.” And just a matter of educating the public.

Mayor Kerry Cook commended Bates and her group for “hitting the ground and running.” “You haven’t stopped and it’s amazing how much you’ve accomplished in a short amount of time,” Cook said.