On Monday Jan. 28, Sooke Food CHI held its Fifth annual AGM at the Sooke Harbour House, where Frederique and Sinclair Philip each year kindly donate this warm meeting and eating space.
Sooke Region Food CHI Society, with over 250 members, exists solely to foster and support the food movement in our region – Seedy Saturday (Feb. 23), farm tours, engaging and mentoring new farmers, drawing on the wisdom of older farmers and growers, community gardens and backyard gardens, fruit tree gleaning, community orchards and championing the importance of growing local, buying local and eating local foods.
At the AGM our guest speakers included Mike Hicks, regional director for Juan de Fuca, Arzeena Hamir, well known B.C. food activist and farmer from Amara Farms up Island, and Vivi and Susan from the newly soon-to-be-formed Village Farm Coop in Sooke.
In spite of all the challenges facing farmers and growers Arzeena gave a very inspiring talk of where there is hope for more local food production.Arzeena shared a handful of stories of innovative incubator farms, farm schools, possible partnerships, community farms, different models of land tenure, successful urban farm stories, where large volumes of food are being produced on small pieces of land.
Our members are very encouraged to endorse Food CHI’s role to seize and support opportunities where we can sustain food production and food systems in our own region.
Mike Hicks announced that some of the federally purchased East Sooke Glenairley land will be saved for food production, and our guests from Ragley Farm, Vivi and Susan, shared their dream of purchasing over 100 acres close to the village core of Sooke for a coop model farm.
As always the potluck supper was simply delicious. A few of our many volunteers were recognized for outstanding contributions to our organization – Keeley Nixon and Erika Rolston; our Sunriver Community Gardens programs – Glen Thelin, Sheila Wallace, Lis Johansen, Cecelia Langlois, Patricia Whiteley, Fruit Tree gleaning – Larry Galbraith and Laura Lucinda, and our outstanding young student gardener from Journey middle school, Jordan Schutt.
The 2013 Food CHI board includes: Anita Wasiuta, Mary Alice Johnson, Jessica Boquist, Keeley Nixon, Phoebe Dunbar, Mark Batten and Darrell McLeod.
If anyone wishes to become involved with Food CHI, please go to our website and contact us. www.sookefoodchi.ca or drop down any Wednesday afternoon to the Sunriver Community Gardens on Phillips Road between 1 and 3 p.m.