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HEAL Chat: Bio regional Food Systems and Municipal Enabled Agriculture

On January 21st and 22nd, Dr. Kent Mullinix from the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture at Kwantlen Polytechnic University will be in Prince George for a series of engagements on Bio-Regional Food Systems and Municipal Enabled Agriculture. I’ve included a synopsis of his topic at the bottom of this email for more information. We are please to have Dr. Mullinix agree to do our first HEAL Chat. The HEAL Chats will be free learning opportunities offered by teleconference. It is very exciting to have this opportunity for our inaugural HEAL Chat! Space is limited on the teleconference, please RSVP by an email to or phone me at 250.565.7455.

Integrating Agri-Culture and Urban-Culture: Bio-Regional Agri-food Systems and Municipal Enabled Agriculture in British Columbia, Canada

Kent Mullinix, PhD. Institute for Sustainable Horticulture, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey, British Columbia

Presentation Synopsis:

For the first time in human history the majority are urban dwellers. In Canada and the United States only 1.5% of the population is engaged in production agriculture. Effectively then, the vast preponderance of our populations have next to nothing do with agriculture- production, processing or marketing. Food, in urbanized North America has become little more than another throughput- it comes in (in untold quantities and forms) and its waste products (which are many) go out. Urbanites have no substantive, meaningful relationship with this fundamentally critical aspect of their sustenance and daily lives. Agriculture and agriculturists are increasingly relegated to the socio-cultural margins.

In British Columbia, Canada, as elsewhere, there is a growing awareness that the combined effects of peak oil, peak water, climate change, rapid urbanization, continued population growth, loss of farms and farmers as well as the current status, configuration and dominance of conventional industrial agriculture have the potential to threaten food security and ultimately result in an agri-food system that is not sustainable. This undermines the resilience of our cities. Municipal governments are at the forefront of and regularly wrestle with contentious and polarizing issues around population growth, economic vitality and urban encroachment onto agriculture lands regularly.

The Institute for Sustainable Horticulture is contributing to an expanding discussion on sustainability issues that examine the strategic significance of food security (supply) and food sovereignty (control). In British Columbia we are working with private sector entities and municipal governments to conceptualize and implement agri-food systems innovations that will confer regional food security and sovereignty, substantively contribute to local/regional economies and evoke a renewed agrarian sensibility among urban dwellers. We contend that human-scale municipal-focused agriculture should form the basis of a bio-regional agri-food system as a necessary pre-condition for creating urban sustainability.

It is the objective of this presentation to describe and discuss strategies and initiatives we believe can be undertaken to advance a sustainable regional agri-food system. Included in this presentation will be a discussion of the basis for agriculture system reform, the concept of bio-regional food systems and Municipal Enabled Agriculture. Various MEA initiatives and models we are currently undertaking to create sustainability and resiliency in the regional agri-food system of southwest British Columbia will also be discussed. We believe that these models are scalable with potential applicability to other urban centers. We describe Municipal Enabled Agriculture(MEA) as the full integration of agriculture and the food system within the planning, development and function of our rapidly urbanizing communities. It is an agri-food system element intended to connect urbanites, in real and meaningful ways, to their environment and to a human enterprise that is undeniably crucial to their future well-being. It is a way of reducing vulnerability and dependence on an ecologically unsound and increasingly vulnerable agri-food system while simultaneously reducing our food system ecological footprint and stimulating real regional wealth generation.

Friday, January 22, 2010 - 13:00 - 14:30
Contact Email: 
via teleconference
Prince George
Documents Related to the Event: 

The following file is a 24 KB pdf document you many need to download Adobe Reader to open the file.