Each year, the Gathering Committee prepares a report summarizing the event. You can find the yearly report linked to the year and place below.
2012: Gambier Island - Reclaiming our Food Systems: Policy and Practice
The 14th annual Gathering was from July 5 through July 8, 2012, at Camp Fircom on Gambier Island. The Gathering was a blend of scheduled workshops, presentations and activities with unstructured time and space to encourage informal sharing, socializing or quiet contemplation. During the Gathering there were opportunities to explore exciting initiatives that reclaim elements of the food system as well as discussions about the network’s policy priorities, including water rights and access, food labelling and GMOs, agricultural land use and urban agriculture, to name a few.
2011: 100 Mile House – Resiliency and Diversity
The 13th Annual BC Food Systems Network Gathering happened on July 7 – 10, 2011 in the community of 100 Mile House in the central interior region of the province. The 100 Mile Lodge Conference Centre offered a gracious venue in a picturesque rural setting. The venue carries the history and spirit of the theme of the gathering with stories of a “standing policy in the depression years to feed anyone who needed a meal if they were willing to do some of the work in exchange”. Hosting the gathering in the central interior region provided the BCFSN with the opportunity to learn about the associations between the people, plants, animals and land that make up bio-region. Linking to the community food related networks in the region thereby enabled the BCFSN to build and enhance relationships with a rich diversity of community farms and cooperatives, artists, musicians, authors, poets, traditional Indigenous harvesters, and the spiritual and intentional community of the historical Emissary of Divine Light in 100 Mile House.
2010: Ymir – Water
The 2010 Gathering of the BC Food Systems Network was held in the beautiful village of Ymir, from September 23 to 26, 2010. A smaller-than-usual but nonetheless enthusiastic group of people came together to discuss water and all things related to food systems work. The village residents welcomed us graciously and we were well fed with an abundance of local food.
2009: Chehalis – Bioregionalism
The 2009 Gathering marked the 10th anniversary of the BC Food Systems Network. The most obvious change this year was the location. For the first time we gathered away from the shores of the Shuswap, and found ourselves in Chehalis, traditional Sto:lo territory. Sts’ailes Lhawathet Lalem (Chehalis Healing House) graciously hosted the Network in the midst of their soaring trees and natural beauty.The number of attendees increased dramatically as a result of the change in venue. The location meant that the Gathering was much more accessible to those in the lower mainland. In the past, attendance has ranged from 95-105, this year the number was 146. These numbers may fluctuate in coming years but the fact remains that rotating the Gathering will open the possibility of attendance for a different pool of people every year thus increasing the number of individuals the Network is able to reach. As we move around the province the hope is that more communities will become connected to the food movement and support the work of the Network.
2008: Sorrento – Food without Fossil Fuels
The 9th Annual Sorrento Gathering of the BC Food Systems Network may have been its biggest yet.Over 120 people from across the province attended the 3 day event from September 12 to 14, 2008. The Gathering was held in its habitual location at the Sorrento Centre on Shuswap Lake, in Secwepmc Territory. As usual the Sorrento Gathering attracted a dynamic and diverse group of people, young and old, from different professions, cultures, and regions around the province, with a common interest and concern: food.
2007: Sorrento – Forging Strong Relationships
The theme of the 8th annual Gathering of the BC Food Systems Network was The Power of Food Systems: Forging Strong Relationships. While the focus on building relationships emerged in the wake of Cathleen Kneen’s departure as the Network’s Executive Director, the intention was to highlight the strength of the Network as well as the important role that food plays in fostering a diversity of relationships. The Gathering took place, as it always has, mid-September on the banks of the Shuswap Lake at the Sorrento Centre. Over one hundred participants were welcomed by the Lake Secwepemc people. This year, respectful of our member’s busy schedules, we cut our time back by a half day, leaving less time for such activities as the introductory circle. In years past, the Gathering opened with a round of introductions. The intention was to work towards eliminating hierarchy and to showcase the value of each participant. This year, a contact sheet was distributed with participants’ names, biographies and contact information. As well, we hosted an informal introductory circle on the eve of the Gathering. For more detail, read the Workshop Notes.
2006: Sorrento – Food Sovereignty
More than 100 adults and a dozen children gathered at the Sorrento Conference Centre from September 14-17th, 2006, for the seventh annual Sorrento Gathering of the BC Food Systems Network. The theme for the Gathering, “Food Sovereignty: Reclaiming Our Local Food Systems,” was addressed in different ways throughout an event which was, according to several participants, the “best ever Sorrento”. You can download the Food (r)Evolution Zine. Please note that this is a large document (2.9MB pdf).
2005: Sorrento – Land and Food
The 2005 Sorrento Gathering took place from September 16 to 19 at the Sorrento Centre on Lake Shuswap. The 106 participants (plus 16 children and a few nursing infants) were welcomed by Lakes Secwepemc people who generously shared traditional knowledge and philosophical as well as policy perspectives on the theme of Land and Food. A general attitude of respect marked the whole Gathering and resulted in real dialogue among a wide diversity of people. Participants included the ADM of policy for the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, a Medical Health Officer and other health professionals, several farmers, a former mayor, people from large and small food businesses, and community-level leaders and participants in food and land programs and projects in both urban and rural areas and on-Reserve.
2004: Sorrento – Build the Trust
Eating At Home was the fifth annual gathering of the BC Food Systems Network. It was held at the Sorrento Centre from September 16 to 19, 2004, and attracted 100 participants from food programs, projects, and policy initiatives all over British Columbia (as well as 20 children, from nursing infants to teenagers). Participants took home a variety of skills and knowledge, from bread-making to fundraising to ‘deconstructing propaganda’. The core of the event, however, was the opportunity for a huge diversity of people to share their ideas, their hopes, their experiences – and to build the trust necessary for a provincial network to be able to coordinate community-based work and engage in collaborative action at the provincial level. According to the evaluation reports, the conference was an outstanding success. Read review the Workshop Notes; or read Cathleen Kneen’s brief report from the event.
2003: Sorrento – From Back Yard to Front Burner
The theme of the fifth Sorrento Gathering was “Food Policy: From Back Yard to Front Burner”. The conference was opened by Jean Arnouse of the Little Shuswap Band. She offered an opening prayer and grounded our reflections in the context of food offering. She also noted that the sunflowers in the middle of the circle are respected by First Nations because every part of the plant is food – and it grows wild.
2002: Sorrento – Food and Medicine
“Food and Medicine” was the theme for the Sorrento Gathering of the BC Food Systems Network, held in mid-September at the Sorrento Centre on Shuswap Lake. Elder Trudy Jack in her keynote address spent little time on making the point that from a Native perspective, food and medicine are closely related and often the same thing. Rather, she inspired the 70 participants by grounding the discussion in the deeper reality which is accessible to any person who is willing to accept the discipline of listening.
2001: Sorrento – Food Policy of the Home
The highlight and focus of our work for this quarter was the Sorrento Gathering, which took place at the Sorrento Conference Centre, September 6th – 8th. Our goals for this event were to demystify the idea of ‘food policy’ in order to facilitate collaboration between people working on community food security policy and leaders and participants in the CPNP and CAP-C programs; to bring together POP participants and leaders, food policy workers, and activists in First Nations and grassroots community food projects; and to consolidate the network so that these different groups would be able to support one another in their work.
2000: Sorrento – Building Community Security
The second Sorrento Gathering was held September 6th to 9th at the Sorrento Centre, with about 60 people from all over the province in attendance, under the theme of building community food security. A key goal of the conference was to further the BC Food Systems Network by bringing together the people who have been working on food policy issues in community based organizations with people dealing with issues in community food security. This included participants in the pregnancy outreach programs and members of First Nations communities
1999: Sorrento – First Gathering
On September 10-12, 1999, an historic gathering took place at the Sorrento Conference Centre on Shuswap Lake. Thirty-five participants involved in community-level action related to food came from everywhere in the Province except the far North and the East Kootenays. They shared ideas and local initiatives, engaged in analysis and discussed policy options at the provincial, national, and global levels. In keeping with the holistic perspective of their local organizations, participants emphasized the way in which food issues cross cultures, sectors, and age groups, and highlighted the need for food policy to link ministries dealing with health, agriculture, education, trade, environment, and women’s equality. The meeting concluded by founding the BC Food Systems Network – a recognition that policy analysis, information and support for sustainable agriculture, and action towards a healthy, sustainable food system is happening in communities all over the province. The Network will insist on a democratic process for policy development and encourage public policies that foster economic viability, ecological health, and social justice.