As our community works towards increasing food security, the demand for research rooted in community knowledge is necessitated. Seeking to deepen our collective understanding of food security challenges and opportunities in the Cowichan Region, CGC staff brings an interdisciplinary approach to community based research. Often working in partnership with regional organizations, local government, and universities, our research to date has been used to inform food security policies and programs.
Food Security Impact Assessment
How do you measure the impact of experience based food security programs and services? In an effort to better understand the impact of our work, CGC staff are working in partnership with Vancouver Island University’s Department of Anthropology to develop an evaluation system for measuring the impact of food security programs within the Cowichan Region. Results anticipated, December 2014.
Research to Formulate and Test Fertiliser from Biofuel By-Product
An initiative of Cowichan Energy Alternatives (CEA), CGC was invited to work in partnership with Integral Ecology Group and the Cowichan Bio-Diesel Co-operative, to investigate the best agricultural applications for recovering the rich nutrients available in glycerine, a by-product generated locally from the up-cycling of vegetable oils into biofuel.
The purpose of this project was to evaluate glycerine’s potential as a locally produced fertiliser and soil amendment, and to compare its cost and Carbon Footprint to standard products. Following Canadian Food Inspection Agency approval and a series of pot trials (currently underway), this research aimed to confirm the applicability of glycerine as a useful nutrient source for agriculture. This project was supported through funding from the Canada-BC Agri-Food Innovation Program.
Cowichan Agricultural Market Research Project
In response to the expressed need for agricultural market research in the Cowichan Region, CGC conducted a six month research project that sought to increase the understanding of and connections between Cowichan food producers and purchasers. Funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, this project resulted in the publication of Vanessa2014-07-08T11:09:00VG
Growing Connections – a handbook for purchasers and farmers in the Cowichan Region.
Food Security Action Plan
2007 & 2010
The Cowichan Food Security Plan (the Plan) was developed in 2007 and updated in 2010 to track food security developments in our community and to highlight collective and individual barriers that still exist. Funded through Island Health’s Community Food Action Initiative (CFAI) and the Municipality of North Cowichan, this project was led a steering committee of regional stakeholders who recognized a local need for collaborative action on food security work. As a component of this research, four groups of local professionals were brought together in 2007 to explore and discuss the food security-related challenges and opportunities they face as individuals and as organizations:
- Farmers and food producers
- Commercial & institutional food buyers
- Community service providers
- Local government
Discussions hinged on the identification of concerns and barriers to food security in the Cowichan Region, actions being taken by members of their sector to enhance food security, and community supports needed to achieve food security goals.