Shuswap Food Action Society’s mission is to build community around local food and raise awareness of food security issues affecting our community. We believe everybody has the right to an affordable, safe and nutritious diet. This includes the ability to grow, gather or purchase food.
With your support, we are increasing the resilience of our community through our various projects!
John was a passionate advocate for farming, food security and food sovereignty in the Shuswap and beyond. He was also a founding member of the Shuswap Food Action Co-op, which later became a society and registered charity. The family requests donations in his memory go towards Shuswap Food Action, the organization he played such an integral role in developing.
A founder of Shuswap Food Action becoming a Cooperative, a stalwart supporter of the Shuswap Community Teaching Garden, longtime member of the Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) and a key initiator of the Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC), John McLeod certainly played an integral role in the direction of food security in this community. He was honoured with the Community Builder award in 2017 as part of the Community Leader Awards.
John was an avid reader and thought deeply about these subjects. A great article was written in the Salmon Arm Observer which shared his honesty about what he felt (and feared) about our failing food systems. We encourage you all to read this article as his words continue to hold relevance and importance.
“If you have to rely on foreign corporations and other countries to feed you…. when they control your stomach, they’ve got your brain. It’s up to us to protect and maintain all viable land. And by viable, I mean all land. We have to get away from soil classifications; poor dirt is better than no dirt. You can’t grow vegetables out of concrete and asphalt.”
Recently, Lachlan Labere, local writer and friend of John’s, wrote an article after learning of John’s passing and shared thoughts about John’s impact and of their conversations over coffee at the Pink Cherry, a routine of John’s day which he continued to do right up until the end.
To truly hear and know John a bit more, this interview with Jerre Paquette from the Voice of the Shuswap is a wonderful listen:
The interview is from 2015 when the Co-op was really taking off and yet his words hold true, his vision intact and becomes more and more important as we see the challenges and impact of environmental changes to the global and local food system.
At the time of this interview, their board were working on
– a food hub idea —we’re happy to see that a Food Hub has been created;
– desired Collaboration with local organizations— we believe fully in this and work hard at it;
– the community garden was being developed — we’ve just past its 8th growing season;
– believed farmers need to be supported — the Downtown Salmon Arm Farmers Market, into its 6th year and a weekly Winter market;
– knew education to be paramount to ensure customers (local residents) understand the importance of local food — Shuswap Food Conversations on air at the Voice of the Shuswap, Food Security Series, Gardening and Food Workshops through Sunday Sessions;
– and John really wanted to see local food in the hospitals — we’re bringing local food to local schools and can hope to see his desire come to fruition.
John’s advocacy for food security and food sovereignty as a part of official community plans is a large part of his legacy and one that we continue to work toward.
“What we have to do is get broad representation in the community to work on agricultural policy and the importance – importance isn’t a strong enough word – the necessity of looking out for future generations. We’re only looking for our own return on investment. We have to think of two and three generations down the road. Minimum. That’s the thing I want to try and hit home.”
We agree this is a necessity and the current board and staff of Shuswap Food Action will continue to work toward this vision of a Food Secure Shuswap and a strong local food economy.
From chats and updates with John over the last few years, we knew he was thrilled with the continued efforts of Shuswap Food Action and we feel this loss for our community. We’ll continue on with great respect of his efforts and endeavour to make him proud!
You made an impact John. May you rest in peace.
You can read more about John’s impact here:
And you can read John’s obituary and a bit more about his life here:
The Shuswap Food Action Society (SFAS) is a community-funded registered charity. All of our existing and potential projects are sustained by the generous support of community minded folks like you. We thank you!