The long-awaited office for the South Cariboo Agri-Culture Enterprise Centre Society (AEC) at The 100 Mile Lodge has become a reality.
The AEC has been established after more than two years of efforts that began in earnest when the District of 100 Mile House contracted Stonefield Consulting to perform a feasibility study in January 2009.
The report’s recommendation to proceed with the project spawned the formation of an ad hoc committee with representatives of the district council and a citizen’s advisory group.
Committee member Rita Giesbrecht says the move towards establishing a centre for the enhancement and development of a regional agricultural economy is “the vision for the future.”
“100 Mile House, using the amazing resource and facility of The 100 Mile Lodge, should create a hub of agricultural education, producer development and food security for the region.”
With the new space secured and a newly minted organization, this hub can now be created, she says, adding the current group is inviting participation from anyone who cares about their ability to consume quality, local and secure food.
“In this time of global crises and destabilized food sources, it has been recognized in regions all over the world that a reliable food supply must be secured.”
With sufficient community support, Giesbrecht explains the AEC is a “crucial” local movement that will align producers with consumers and provide the wholesome local food people want to eat.
This will also include encouraging increased production of local food; increasing area residents’ access to food produced in the Cariboo and elsewhere in British Columbia; and educating and encouraging more consumers on the related aspects and benefits.
The Community Kitchen and Community Garden projects also running at, or near, The 100 Mile Lodge site have spearheaded the local food movement, she notes, as well as being among the first of those to get on board with the AEC.
The committee welcomes others with local food-related activities to join forces in the pursuit of increasing and sustaining access to local foods, she says, as well as any individuals interested in participating as a member on the team.
Giesbrecht adds the project will link to a larger momentum in regions across the province, country and the world to localize the food economy and “be part of the solution.”