Harvest Season – but do all British Columbians get their share?

Third time’s a charm when it came to my search for canning jars last week – two stores in my neighbourhood were sold out, on the third try I came up with the supplies I needed. It’s been a big year for preserving the fruits of fall – applesauce (unsweetened), plum jam (not so unsweetened), and a freezer full of berries and rhubarb. My fellow blogger Rita, has done the same, and is looking into recipes for green tomato chutney as well, if this beautiful weather doesn’t manage to ripen her full harvest in time.

It leads me to the question – when did food preservation become another fall item on the urban to-do list (Others would ask when did it fall off the list?) For me it’s a question of waste not, want not. We have fruit trees in our backyard, which is a blessing, for the most part. If you don’t have your own sources, most locavores head to the farmer’s markets each weekend, in search of the perfect Okanagan peach, apple or tomato. Recipes for kale chips, that fall garden staple, abound. But despite the interest in local food and the 100 Mile diet, the fact remains that many British Columbians are challenged to buy healthy food. And, [according to the Dietitians of Canada] it’s not getting any better. The 2011 Cost of Eating in BC Report outlines what we can do to help our fellow British Columbians afford to eat more healthfully. BCAHL is providing the opportunity to discuss what can be done on the larger issue of food security in our webinar next week, Elements of Food Security. Kristin Yarker, Executive Director, Dietitians of Canada, BC region will be joining us to talk through the highlights of the report and some of the policies that could support British Columbians in need.

Harvest time should be a time of plenty – how can we better provide access to healthy foods? How can we share lessons far and wide about how to store and prepare those healthy foods as well? My own trial and error with canning (and cooking too) has been mitigated by great advice and hands on help from more knowledgeable friends and family. In giving back to those who helped me, I want to point out a few links to programs that provide that same guidance at a community level.

Canadian Diabetes Association’s Food Skills for Families program is a fabulous example, they teach participants how to shop for and prepare great-tasting healthy meals on a budget. For canning know-how check out the events listings at Fresh Choice Kitchens, which had two September sessions on canning already, but also provides Foods Safe and other kitchen training to community members.

There are still spaces – “Register Now for our Elements of Food Security webinar” register now for our Elements of Food Security webinar. It’s happening Wednesday, September 26th from 9:00 am to 10:30 am and will include an around the province dialogue on food security, options for local food and ideally some concrete steps to increase access to healthy food in BC.


Samantha Hartley-Folz
Manager, Policy and Programs
September 2012

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