Welcome to the


Food Region

Made possible by the Central Kootenay Food Policy Council

The Columbia Basin in British Columbia, known for its challenging mountainous terrain and seasonal roads, presents unique logistical hurdles in its food supply chain. Despite this, the region thrives with diverse and skilled local food producers

About the Kamloops food region

The Kamloops region of British Columbia, located in the southern interior of the province, presents a unique blend of landscapes and cultural heritage, shaping its distinct challenges and opportunities in the food supply chain.

Geographical and Climatic Features

Kamloops, often referred to as the meeting point of the North and South Thompson rivers, is characterized by its semi-arid climate, distinct from the rainforests typically associated with much of British Columbia. This climate contributes to a landscape that includes grasslands, rolling hills, and rugged terrain, creating a diverse agricultural environment. The region’s climate is favorable for growing a variety of crops, especially those that thrive in dryer conditions.

Agricultural Diversity

The area around Kamloops is known for its agricultural productivity. The warm, dry climate supports a range of agricultural activities, including cattle ranching, which has a long history in the region. Additionally, the area has seen growth in vineyards and wineries, capitalizing on the favorable growing conditions for grapes. Fruit and vegetable farming are also significant, with local markets and farm-to-table initiatives gaining popularity.

Challenges in the Food Supply Chain

In the Kamloops region of British Columbia, the challenges within the food supply chain are multifaceted, deeply intertwined with the area’s unique geography and climate. Water management emerges as a critical issue due to the semi-arid conditions, necessitating efficient and sustainable practices to ensure the viability of agriculture, particularly for crops and livestock reliant on irrigation. Transportation logistics, while partly eased by Kamloops’ strategic location at the confluence of major highways and rail lines, still pose difficulties, especially for smaller producers in more remote areas. These logistical hurdles impact the distribution and marketing of local produce, affecting the ability of these producers to access broader markets. Economic factors further compound these challenges, as local farmers strive to compete with larger, more industrialized agricultural operations, navigating the complexities of small-scale farming and market dynamics.

Moreover, the looming shadow of climate change adds an additional layer of complexity. The region faces the risk of more extreme weather events and potential shifts in growing seasons, which could disrupt the traditional agricultural patterns and threaten food security. Integrating the region’s rich cultural tapestry, including its significant Indigenous communities, into the agricultural and food production practices is also crucial. This integration not only respects and preserves cultural heritage but also opens avenues for more sustainable and holistic approaches to farming and food distribution. Addressing these challenges requires a concerted effort to develop innovative, sustainable solutions that are inclusive of the diverse community needs and environmental considerations unique to the Kamloops region.

The Kamloops region, with its unique climatic conditions and strategic location, holds significant potential for developing a robust, sustainable food system. Efforts to enhance water management, support local producers in accessing markets, and integrate sustainable and culturally inclusive practices can help in overcoming the challenges faced by the food supply chain. By focusing on these areas, Kamloops can strengthen its role as a key player in British Columbia’s diverse agricultural tapestry.

About the Kamloops Food Policy Council

From kamloopsfoodpolicycouncil.com:

The Kamloops Food Policy Council is the longest-standing independent food policy council in Canada: pollinating projects, developing partnerships, and contributing to public policy since 1995.

In the early 1990’s, Laura Kalina, a public health dietitian with Interior Health, saw that many people in our community were going hungry, and pulled together a group of concerned, dedicated people from business, government, non-profits and the farming community to form the Kamloops Food Policy Council with the goal of working collectively on solutions to food insecurity. Laura, together with Paula Rubinson, an organic farmer and one of the founders of the Kamloops Farmer’s Market, co-chaired the council and hosted our monthly potlucks for the KFPC’s first 20 years. In those initial years, Al Oliver, from the Ministry of Agriculture, also played a significant role in developing the council and supporting the expansion of Kamloops’s community garden program.

The KFPC inspires and establishes programming through a community development approach. Many of the programs initiated by the KFPC continue to thrive today through our network partners. Such examples include:

  • Community Kitchens
  • Community Gardens
  • Gardengate
  • Kamloops Food Share