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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Passionate interests and community decision making : building the local food system in Kamloops, BC Harris, Lindsay Ellen

Abstract

Kamloops, British Columbia is home to the oldest independent food policy council in Canada. Since its formation in 1995, the Kamloops Food Policy Council (KFPC) has collectively made decisions about the initiatives it values, and the broad and diverse network that has formed around these deliberations is an ideal setting to explore important questions about community decision-making and valuation of social initiatives. In this dissertation, I summarize both the history and current context of the KFPC, embedding myself in the complex webs of relations that have advanced the work of community food security for many years, and the broader historical, economic, and political context in which these relations emerged. This research is based on an ethnographic and community based participatory methodology in which I emphasize the process of learning to be a good relation as the foundation for my work. I argue that small changes build capacity for an expansive vision, using each of the imperfect terms in this phrase to explore themes of scale, change, relationality, value and expansive collective visions. I provide a thick description of how the value of specific local initiatives contribute to a collective desire for possible futures (and action towards them). My conclusions about value add to the building refrain: capitalist constraints on value and valuation have not everywhere taken over, there are many rough edges and weak places within its hegemony, and different worlds are possible. I argue that a viable economic vision (and indeed, a viable future) requires restoring relations to calculations of value, forging pathways to connect small initiatives to expansive visions, making initiatives visible in new ways to themselves and their actors, fostering new initiatives that represent collectivized desires for possible futures and enrolling more collaborators into those passionate interests. Supplementary materials available at: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/78515.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International