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SELRS Update – Deepening the Conversation September 13, 2011

Posted by gfsa in Community Stories.
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Writing under a harvest moon and the Northern Lights sure makes for an inspiring start to the harvest season. And, coincidentally, the SELRS project is preparing for a harvest all its own.  

Meeting in Lacombe at the end of August, the newly formed SELRS Guiding Group began its journey with a potluck supper and some deepening conversation. After Honey BBQ Duck, Quinoa salad, Zuchinni-gouda muffins (and much more!) we clarified the project approach and timeline going forward. Working together to create a sustainable, equitable, local and regional system for food will require new approaches and new ideas. We have much to share about what we already know. But there’s an overwhelming amount of information available and much of what we find will be fairly new. This means that old habits may need to be broken and rigid practices made more flexible. So, we decided to organize our efforts as a learning group instead of as a governance group.  

Over the course of this initial phase of the project, we plan to meet monthly to share progress, learn together on key topics that are emerging, and identify the pivotal next steps. One of the first things we harvested from the inaugural gathering was the need to carry out a series of conversations that explore more deeply the current food system, the visions of a more positive future, and the assets and contributions already existing in our communities that can be leveraged and strenghtened.

The shape of our analysis and asset mapping is forming as a series of one-on-one interviews via in-person, meaningful, “kitchen table”-type conversations. Right now, we’re completing the conversation guide with plans to engage with each of the guiding group members throughout the second half of September. In October and November, we’ll reconnect to the participants of the initial August 8th gathering and our other community contacts to deepen conversations with them. Together, we’ll gather the information and awareness of the assets we’ll need to create a SELRS in any rural Alberta community.   

Moving into December, we’re planning for what’s been dubbed a “sense-making” workshop with the SELRS Guiding Group and GFSA member communities. This larger gathering will help us share the information collected from the conversations and come together for a common understanding of where we are so we can create a clear vision of where we want to go. This will be a community event and we are inviting anyone who is interested to join us. So, let us know if you want to be there by emailing selrs@foodsecurityalberta.ca  

Enjoy the bounty of the farms, fields, and forks!

Submitted by:
Rene Michalak and Brenda Schroeder, S.E.L.R.S. Facilitator / Animator, Growing Food Security Alberta

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