food system advisor
Many of us no longer fish, hunt or gather but we can still learn how to provide for our families with good food. Food sovereignty, or our ability to take control over our food, is so important to make sure our children to do not lose the traditions of the past.
Community Wellness Dietitian
and Food Sovereign Champion
Laura is currently partnering with Q’wemtsin Health Society, on the unceded territory of the Secwepemc people, as the Community Wellness Dietitian and Food Sovereignty lead.
The food sovereignty movement is building around the world and while there is no universal definition, it can be described as the newest and most innovative approach to achieving the end goal of long term food security. Indigenous food sovereignty is a specific policy approach to addressing the underlying issues impacting Indigenous peoples and our ability to respond to our own needs for healthy, culturally adapted Indigenous foods. Community mobilisation and the maintenance of multi-millennial cultural harvesting strategies and practices provide a basis for forming and influencing "policy driven by practice".
Food Sovereignty and Food Security are Key determinants of Health
Indigenous Peoples in Canada are twice as likely to experience food insecurity as the general population. Household food insecurity in First Nation reserves and communities varies geographically, with remote communities experiencing an even higher prevalence. A growing body of evidence suggests that the inability to afford a healthy, nutritious diet has a measurable negative impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of individuals of all ages. Laura, in her role as QHS Dietitian, continues to work in partnership with First Nations Health Authority, Secwepemc Health Caucus, Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, Interior Health and other stakeholders to advocate and bring attention to the various levels of government and stakeholders that food sovereignty and household food insecurity are key social determinants of health within our communities
In an ongoing effort to support indigenous food sovereignty and “decolonize the food system" Laura is working with her community partners. For more information on decolonizing the food system.
Click here for a report on decolonizing the food system.
Laura is a pioneer in the food security movement in Canada. She has worked over 30 years as a Public Health Dietitian (Interior Health) in the area of food security and community development. As a leader of the food security movement in Canada she written numerous books including, Building Food Security in Canada: From Hunger to Sustainable Food Systems and the Community Kitchen Shopping and Leader Guide.
Laura is the founder and chair of the Kamloops Food Policy Council. The Kamloops Food Policy, one of the first food policy organizations in Canada, has been recognized as a leader in food security and sustainable food systems movement nationwide.
As a food policy consultant Laura assists local government and community groups in developing sustainable food systems and polices. She has worked with communities across the interior of British Columbia and more extensively with the City of Kamloops in the development of the Kamloops Food and Urban Ag plan.
Laura has championed numerous urban agriculture and food action projects in her community including:
Laura led the development of the Best Practices in Urban Agriculture document which has been used extensively by community groups across Canada.
With a keen interest in health promotion for kids and connecting to our local food system, Laura is currently on the leadership team for Farm to Cafeteria Canada.
Building Food Security in Canada—2nd Edition (2001) $18
A Community Resource for Action on Hunger
Community Kitchens Leader’s Guide $15
Provides practical information for setting up and running a community kitchen including promotion and funding information, and sample letters to support organizations.
Community Kitchens Cookbook and Shopping Guide $15 (for participants)
Recipes, nutrition and shopping tips. Use our tested recipes for start up, then add your own.
Food Recovery Manual (2007) $10
Based on the Kamloops experience, a step-by-step guide to start a Food recovery project in your community.