Food security and food sovereignty in the Creston Valley of British Columbia

Joanne Taylor
2020
Food security is one of the most pressing challenges of our time with over one in ten people in Canada suffering from some form of food insecurity. While poverty, or the inability to purchase food, is often understood to be the most immediate cause of food insecurity, food sovereignty emphasizes ways in which industrial agriculture has led to a loss of local control over agricultural land and of opportunity for communities to feed themselves in culturally appropriate ways. In this dissertation,
more » ... this dissertation, I incorporate food sovereignty principles into my definition of food security and develop a food security assessment matrix to assess the relative contributions of different food production systems to food security based upon the data I have collected. Through a case study approach focused on the Creston Valley in British Columbia, I examine the relationships of three distinct food production systems to food security at local, regional, and national levels using focussed ethnographic methods. I conducted 87 semi-structured interviews with agriculturalists, water managers, and members of the Indigenous yaqan nukiy community, as well as 15 observational studies and one focus group with small-scale market gardeners. Industrial farmers grow a variety of crops for sale in global markets. Small-scale market gardeners grow food for local consumption. The yaqan nu?kiy, an Indigenous Ktunaxa community, rely on traditional foods to some extent but also participate in both industrial and market garden agriculture. All are affected by the management of the Libby Dam, one of four dams built under the auspices of the transboundary Columbia River Treaty. My research findings suggest that a significant number of Creston Valley households are food insecure, and given the current configuration of farming practices, contradictory federal policies, climate change impacts, unresolved Indigenous issues, and water management challenges, the Creston Valley as a whole is at significant risk of higher rates of food insecurity in the future. However [...]
doi:10.14288/1.0390002 fatcat:7zxjlzevkfhr5cdkx4dcge4bzm