The 15th Gathering of the B.C. Food Systems Network is taking place from July 5th through the 7th, 2013 at Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island, and we invite you to contribute to exploring this year’s theme “Food from the Water, Food from the Land”.

The purpose of the Gathering is to bring the members of the Network together to share their ideas, experiences and initiatives in building community food security, and to build new relationships within the Network while strengthening existing ones. The Gathering is about connecting people and drawing on the wisdom and expertise that exists within the Network by blending scheduled workshops, presentations and activities with unstructured time and space to encourage informal sharing, socializing or quiet contemplation.

We are currently seeking proposals for workshops, roundtables and discussion topics or other activities related to the theme, including Indigenous food harvesting rights and access; health and food medicines; the cultural significance of food; fish farms and aquaponics; overfishing and globalization; bioregionalism and permaculture; and local food resilience, including urban agriculture.

The Gathering Committee encourages all of you to share your knowledge and ideas for making the gathering a meaningful and enriching experience. Please submit a one or two paragraph description of your proposed workshop, presentation, or activity (as well as a short bio) to Diane Elliott-Buckley, Gathering Coordinator (gathering@bcfsn.org) by May 30, 2013. Questions we could be exploring together include:

• What can we do as a community and as individuals to protect our land and oceans?
• How can we include food from the water in our local food security dialogue?
• How can the BCFSN and the VICCIFN best advocate for healthy aquatic food systems ?
• Where is the best place to direct our common food voice within climate change discourse?
• How can we celebrate and document our successes?
• How can we support fishermen and small-scale farmers?

We hope you will be able to join us at Camp Pringle, located on Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island, between Victoria and Nanaimo. The Network respectfully acknowledges that Shawnigan Lake is situated on Indigenous Land belonging to the Coast Salish people, including the Cowichan Tribes and the Malahat First Nation.

The weekend is also a family-friendly celebration of community with activities such as story-telling, nature walks, visits to Citta Slow Cowichan Bay and O.U.R. Ecovillage, skills demonstrations, swimming, yoga and a shared love of food. Participants will be nourished in body, mind and spirit and will return to their communities and their work replenished and re-energized for the year ahead.

Registration for the Gathering will begin in late April. The rates will be $295 for early bird registration (till June 1) and $325 thereafter. This rate includes conference registration, accommodation and all meals. We will also be offering children and youth rates of $65 and $125 respectively and will provide a full day program for the kids at no extra charge. Kids under 5 will be welcomed free of charge. Shuttle services will be provided from Swartz Bay and Departure Bay.

If anyone would like to participate in planning for the Gathering or to volunteer during the event, please let us know. Most importantly, please help expand the Network by sharing this information with individuals or groups that are involved in promoting food security in BC. The committee is looking forward to hearing from you! In gratitude, Diane Elliott-BuckleyBCFSN Gathering Coordinator Visit our Facebook Events Page

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