May 18th-19th, 2016, the Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research (AICBR) brought together delegates from across the territory and beyond to discuss the issue of food security and develop some actionable outcomes and priorities for moving forward together towards a food secure Yukon. The Yukon Food Security Roundtable, An Evening on Food Security and Open House were three events, hosted by AICBR at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, that welcomed participation from multiple sectors and gathered multiple perspectives, experiences and ideas on the topic of food security.
"When we work together on complex issues, we are able to come up more sustainable and relevant solutions", says Jody Butler Walker, Co-Founder and Co-Director of AICBR. The Roundtable in particular, a day-and-a-half long meeting brought together 79 delegates from across the territory, including representation from 16 communities across Yukon and BC, Indigenous and non-Indigenous government and non-government officials, non-profit sector, academics, food producers, and concerned citizens, as well as federal government and non-government representatives. During the meeting there were a number of roundtable topic discussions that answered the questions, where are we now and what is working; what will success look like; and what can we build upon and what do we need to be aware of if "the North is to provide food for the North?"
Out of the these discussions arose many inspiring stories, a recognition of the many strengths of the people and organizations across the territory and many powerful ideas for how we can ensure that all people have access to the affordable, safe and nutritious food that they want to eat.
what does a food secure yukon look like?
The following vision statement and list of values and priorities were developed out of roundtable discussions around three important questions: what does food security look like for me and my family; my community; and my territory?
Vision for a Food Secure Yukon
...ENSURING THE NORTH CAN PROVIDE FOOD FOR THE NORTH
"We believe in a food secure, food producing and food sharing Yukon where the land and the waters are harvested and protected. Through the wise use of resources, every person has dignified, affordable access to sufficient food to sustain a healthy, happy, and productive life. Yukon leaders and citizens work collaboratively to ensure food is generated by a robust network of local gardeners, farmers, hobby growers, hunters and fishers, businesses and advanced systems that preserve and distribute food."
To ensure the above vision is achieved, we believe in the value and importance of the following values and priorities (in order of highest to lowest ranking):
Access for All
Support for Local Food Producers
Addressing Planning and Policy Development
Encouraging Community Gardens and Greenhouses
Emphasizing Healthy Food
Education and Training
Promoting Quality Food Preparation, Preservation and Storage
Collaborating to Share Food and Time
Harvesting the Land
Building Leadership Capacity
Consideration of Promising Practices
If we can keep the momentum going, build on what is working already and commit to working together we can make sure that this vision becomes a reality. What was evident at the Yukon Food Security events is that there are many passionate, knowledgeable and dedicated people in the territory. Each of us brings an important piece to the puzzle and if we use our combined strengths we can all be part of the solution.
Check out more detailed outcomes and summaries from the Yukon Food Security events here!