PORT HARDY, B.C. – A plan to promote local food growth is gaining momentum, and now has the support of Port Hardy’s municipal council.

Mount Waddington Community Food Initiative (MWCFI) coordinator Leslie Dyck appeared before council on Tuesday, July 10th.

The group is seeking funding through the Creating Healthy Places provincial grant. The grant is worth $5,000.

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If the funding is received, the MWCFI will be able to move forward on its planned “Seasonal Eating Challenge”.

“There was a vote during the (council) meeting, and it went through,” Dyck said.

“The three things I had asked for were support to financially administer the grant, and use of the Civic Centre, specifically their food safe kitchen for up to two events, and support with providing social media advertising of our events. They happily accepted all of those requests.”

Dyck said following council’s support of the grant application, the next step is to actually submit the application to the province.

“We’ll hear at the end of August if we’ve been approved for the funding. Once we’ve been approved for the funding, then we’ll move into the planning stages,” she said.

Dyck explained that the goal of the “Seasonal Eating Challenge” is to raise awareness of the region’s natural environment.

“We hope to ask questions about things like, how can we take care of the foods that grow here, and what’s involved in taking care of the environment around us so that these foods are available now and into our future,” she said.

“We also hope through this project that more people will be aware of the organizations who work across our food system, and learn ways that they can become more involved with the work that’s being done.”

The challenge would start up in February 2019, and wrap up in October of next year. Dyck said it would be capped off with a harvest party and community gathering.

She said the week leading up to the harvest party would feature a local eating challenge where people would be asked to eat a local food or local meal.

“It really starts back in February, when the first dandelions start to bloom. From February right up until October, we’ll harvest and talk about the foods that are coming available seasonally,” she said.

“Through each of those workshops, people will learn to safely harvest those foods and how to preserve them, so when it comes time for the challenge, they’ll have those foods already available and preserved on their shelves.”

She noted that another important aspect of the challenge is to acknowledge the traditional territories in which people harvest foods on.

“My hope through this project is to teach people a way of life – that it’s seasonal, it’s on-going and it’s a little bit all the way along. It’s not just a one-off. It’s a lifestyle,” she said.

“That’s what I’m hoping, that it will become a lifestyle for people.”