Ag society looking for city support on new Food Charter
Food is the focus of a new charter the Grand Forks and Boundary Regional Agricultural Society (GFBRAS) hopes will influence local policies and projects for the city.
“It is a big picture document that sets the tone around food within the chambers of our leadership,” said GFBRAS director Sheila Dobie during a presentation she made to the city’s environment committee, Thursday, March 21. “It is a statement of the values that tells others this city has made an effort to state a value around food … It is a statement of intent and I think it is extremely valuable for (everyone).”
The Grand Forks Food Charter is a one-page document with a list of 11 goals and four values for the region that GFBRAS spent the past few months creating.
“We’re quite excited about it because it took us quite a few months of work putting it together,” said Dobie at the beginning of the presentation. “It is an invitation for our leadership and an invitation for our values to be considered in our civic culture.”
Included in the four core values is a statement about access to safe and nutritious food for all residents in the region; all residents have the information and skills to achieve nutritional well-being; support for a sustainable local and regional food production system and a commitment to food security that “strengthens the local food sector’s growth and development which in turn is central to (the) Grand Forks’ economy”.
Among the 11 goals there is one that is of special interest to the city, said Dobie. The sixth goal, “Adopt policies that encourage and assist residents to produce their own food on their properties or elsewhere”, is a targeted message for the city, said Dobie. She hopes council will uses this document to guide their policy making around food production like allowing urban chickens or setting aside municipally-owned land for food production.
Many of the other objectives of the charter are already being done, at least partially. There is a popular community garden, the city is advocating and creating responsible water use policies and they support “events that highlight the region’s diverse foodshed”.
Dobie’s enthusiasm for the document was so contagious that the environment committee put their support behind it and agreed to have a representative sit on the GFBRAS committee that cares for the charter.
The charter will officially be presented to City Council during their regular evening council meeting on Monday, April 2 at 7 p.m. Most of GFBRAS will be in attendance and they have invited the public to attend and help support them.