Aside from the huge carbon output caused by the visitors to the West Coast, the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet are guilty of placing high demands on our planets resources for the delivery of food to the region.
With daily visits from large food trucks we are definitely far from a low -carbon footprint when it comes to our food consumption. As a year round town of only 2000 people we may stand a better chance to be food resilient if we did not have to accommodate 10,000 daily visitors in the summer months. This is a complex issue that will remain open for debate, for now.
However, with the tourism industry aside, we are still far from being self sufficient when it comes to our food production and consumption and there is much work left to be done.
Known as the ‘Wet Coast‘ we don’t have the most favourable conditions for growing food year round, but some people have accomplished this.
Successful growers use green houses, but this is not necessarily available to everyone. The Tofino Botanical Gardens does have a community garden, when one can rent space to grow food, and many long term locals are keen gardeners and food producers.
There are many initiatives in the area, some of which include:
- Tofino Community Food Initiative – a group of people in Tofino who are interested in local, high quality, fairly-priced, easily-accessible, organic, sustainable and healthy food.
- Tofino Ucluelet Culinary Guild – a community food sourcing organization that operates as a social enterprise; bringing high quality, locally grown products to the communities of Tofino and Ucluelet.
- Earth Mama Love – the only ALL organic cafe and co-operative kitchen collective in Tofino, offering organic food and drink, workshops, catering and more.
One of the quickest ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the west coast, in relation to food, would be to introduce electric powered delivery systems.
‘Smith electric’ have experience in this area and have created an entire fleet of many different configurations of delivery vehicle and passenger bus.
We would need to push our delivery partners and suppliers to move towards this type of delivery system and demand a cleaner way to receive our food. Our distance from larger towns however, means we are somewhat restricted by the current range of these vehicles; currently able to complete a one way journey from Port Alnerni to Tofino and Ucluelet before needing an 8 hour charge.
It will be worth keeping an eye on this technology as battery systems start to improve.
Continued interest in growing vegetables at home can help ease the pressures and move us towards a more low-carbon, resilient community. Perhaps larger gardens with smaller homes might be the way of the future for our towns as we begin to transition.
Other options that could make some form of impact on our carbon footprint may include:
- More community gardens
- Solar heated green houses and an
- Increased local commercial scale production of vegetables.
Don’t forget to check the resources at the top of the page to take your growing further.