Empty shelves at local grocery stores are a result of people panic buying while supply chains are severed due to flooding and slides. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Vernon’s sourcing priorities need to change

LETTER: COVID-19 and floods show need for local independence

In the last 18 months, we have been hit by two disasters.

First, it was COVID-19, then the very unusual floods that destroyed and knocked out all roads to the Okanagan from the Vancouver area.

In both cases, we suffered shortages of staple supplies, such as food. It took most of 2020 to recover to a degree of normalcy. This year, with the floods, we are again thrown into a path of recovery.

How many times are we to do this and why are we caught short like this, both times?

We got hit twice and both times these disasters have shown us a very serious weakness in our communities, especially Vernon.

The weakness is the sore dependency on external distant sources for our day to day living supplies, food in particular. External here is to mean outside the Okanagan as far as Vancouver or even globally.

This dependency clearly showed us, on both counts, our communities are not stable. To be stable we have to be independent and self-sufficient, otherwise we are subject to the whims of these external conditions or powers over and over again.

Why is our community so dependent when the Okanagan has such abundance in land and opportunity to use it wisely?

These two disasters leveled two hard-hitting lessons, and at the same time, showed us the answer to resolve this weakness and sore dependency. The answer is to establish local independence.

What makes up this local independence? — allow me to provide a perfect example called food storage:

A family that developed their own local food storage will find their daily staple needs protected against the ravages of nature or pandemics that caused wide-spread shortages. This is a form of local independence at the individual or family level.

Translate this local independence into the level of community and that refers to establishing a stable local source from local producers. Such as local produce, dairy, eggs, meats, grain and other necessary products that would be considered as staple supplies.

Move this concept of local independence further into a regional area, such as North, Central or South Okanagan. Establish local sources to serve these regions.

We can carry this same concept to the provincial level, establishing sources within the province, then doing the same at the national level. The result would have made all of Canada, from the local community, to the region, to the province, to the entire country stable and independent. When, (not if), global or provincial disasters occur, cutting us from distant or global trade routes and sources, local sourcing would keep us stable and secure, able to weather the “disaster storm” far better than we already had.

As the family can remain stable, so can the community, all because of local sourcing and storage.

Developing a stable local sourcing benefits everyone, economically and socially. This was how towns developed in the old days before the Industrial Age. It is an old and surest way to develop all around security in these insecure days. Simply, it is basic and common-sense.

Does this mean to reject products from external sources? Of course not.What this means is we establish our priorities, that being local sourcing. It serves local commerce, economics and the community as a whole.

Keep in mind, life does not care about the “bottom-line” or cost factors. Life responds favourably to those who learn how to live in it.

We must develop “local sourcing” on all levels.

We got hit twice in less than two years.

We would be foolish to think there is no more coming.

Mark Warbinek

READ MORE: LETTER: The truth behind B.C.’s disasters

READ MORE: North Okanagan woman appalled by greed at grocery stores


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