Sk'elep school students supply locally grown food for evacuees in Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Sk'elep school students supply locally grown food for evacuees in Kamloops

Sk'elep students have been growing and tending to crops through a food sovereignty program at their school. Some of that food will now be donated to help evacuees from ongoing wildfires.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Tk'emlups te Secwepemc

Students at the Sk'elep School in Tk'emlups te Secwepemc are using their locally grown food to feed forest fire evacuees.

The Sk'elep School of Excellence and Q'wemtsin Health Society have worked in partnership on a food sovereignty program and are now using their gardens to help as wildfires have displaced local residents and forced them to the Kamloops area.

"Sk'elep students have really enjoyed the experience of planting and tending and harvesting the crops," principal Cheryl Sebastian said in a news release from the Band office.

Sebastian along with lead teacher Arlene Dixon have been teaching students about locally grown food and its importance to the community since the program began last spring.

"Culturally, food is the centre of our family and community relationships, so it is extra special that the harvest from our gardens is feeding our neighbours and friends in a time of stress and need," Sebastian said.

The food security project began as the COVID-19 pandemic led the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc community to invest in self-sufficient food systems.

Laura Kalina, a dietician with the health society, is committed to producing healthy food locally.

"Q'wemstin Health Society sees land-based programs such as the food security project as part of the overall strategy to build health and resilient communities," Kalina said in the release.

"The need for food sovereignty became more evident during the COVID pandemic and now again during these times of emergency," Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir said in the release. "Tk'emlups te Secwepemc Council and community are incredibly proud of the students for being able to help out in this way."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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