Food Security



For those facing immediate food insecurity in Nelson, there are a number of organizations that are here to help.

State of Services in Nelson: To find a current list of food services in Nelson, updated weekly with information about hours and services offered, go to the State of Services page, and click the red PDF button to open the most recent update. 

Emergency Food Services List : A more comprehensive list of local emergency food service providers in the region, with locations, contact information, and hours. This is part of the Central Kootenay Farm & Food Directory. Please note that hours and services may not be current.


Farms to Friends: If you are interested in contributing to local food security in the community of Nelson, the West Kootenay EcoSociety has a program that is bringing organic food from local farms directly to families and seniors in need. They are accepting donations to sponsor the weekly boxes of fresh produce.

You can also contact organizations that provide emergency food services in Nelson to see if they are in need of volunteers, as many rely on the generous support of volunteers' time and energy.

Eating local foods is better for your health, the environment, and your taste buds. By eating local you can support local farms, boost our local economy, and work towards our local sustainability path 2024. 

Eating local also means eating seasonally. HERE is a guide for what's in season in the Central Kootenays.

Where you can find access to local food:

Farmers' Market: The Nelson Farmers' Market is a hub for fresh, local produce and prepared foods. Shopping at the Farmers' Market means you can meet the farmer who grew, raised, and made your food, and directly support them by making the supply chain as short as possible. Wednesdays and Saturdays at Cottonwood Falls Park, 9am-2pm.

Central Kootenay Farm & Food Directory: A guide to local farms and food makers in the region. Visit a nearby farm gate, or connect with a local farmer to join a seasonal CSA.

Kootenay Co-op: A cooperatively owned grocery store with an abundance of local organic food and products. Look for their true local logo to find food from farmers, bakers, and makers within 160km of their store in downtown Nelson.

Ellison's Market: A general store in a historic building with a variety of organic and natural foods, sourced directly from local farms whenever possible. 

Save-On-Foods: Though not all their food is local, Save-On-Foods works with local farmers and producers to source a variety of locally grown and produced food for their Nelson store. 


Gardening in underutilized space is one of the most powerful steps that we can take as a community to build our food security.

Young Agrarians has a garden sharing map tool that allows would-be gardeners looking for a place to garden to connect with people with extra garden space. Learn more about the garden sharing map here, and check the map for Nelson to see what's out there here.

Connect to a local community garden here.

More Resources

Nelson Public Library: The Nelson Public Library is a one-stop-shop for all your local needs. There is an abundance of resources, guides and links to guide you.

Garden Planning 101Here are some tips and guidelines to consider when planting your garden whether you are a new or seasoned gardener.

Regenerative Victory Gardens: A website designed to provide you with information on making your garden regenerative.

Planting Calendar: A planting calendar for Nelson, which can be a helpful resource for knowing when to start different seeds indoors and outdoors, and when to transplant seedlings.

West Coast Seeds: Additional information from West Coast Seeds on their Garden Wisdom Blog.

Guide to Organic Gardening: A guide that offers information on how to grow plants without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

Guide to Backyard Composting: Learn how to make fertilizer from materials such as kitchen scraps and garden waste.

Winterizing Your Garden: Some helpful tips on preparing your garden for winter.

A great way to gain sovereignty over the food that you eat is to make and preserve as much of your food as you are able to. It’s a lot of fun, deeply satisfying, and an amazing way to share delicious dishes with your friends or family.

Local Cooking Programs

Food Skills: A Nelson Community Food Centre program providing education and recipes to help you prepare simple healthy meals at home. Currently doing online programming due to COVID-19.

Kids Club: A food skills program from the Nelson Community Food Centre for kids up to age 13. Kids receive a kit with everything they need to make a meal at home, including the food, instructions and recipe, while following an instructional video.

Eazy Eats: A program at the NDYC for youth to learn cooking skills by making a meal together. Thursday nights from 5-7pm.

Food Storage & Preservation

Beginners Guide to Home Canning: Home canning is a great way to preserve seasonal fruits, vegetables, and other foods to be able to eat from your garden or a local farm throughout the year. There are a few things that you need to know, and this guide provides you the information you need to get started.


Guide to Freezing Food: Freezing food is one of the simplest ways to preserve local food, reduce food waste, and stock up on home cooked meals for when you're too busy to cook from scratch. This guide provides tips on freezing food and lets you know which foods freeze well and which don't.  


Guide to Dehydrating FoodA simple way to preserve fruits and vegetables during their peak season to increase your food security, and be able to eat nutrient dense, flavourful food year-round.


Interior Health Guide to Storing FoodA great resource for information about best ways of storing a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit.

Reducing Food Waste

Harvest Rescue: A program run by the Nelson Community Food Centre, gleaning food from local gardens and farms to share it with people living on low incomes. Follow the link to volunteer to help with harvesting, or register your tree for picking.

Love Food Hate Waste: A Canadian organization that provides an abundance of information about reducing food waste in Canada with everything from meal planning tips to guides about food storage and preservation.


Nelson Food Security Assessment

BC Food Security Gateway

Food Secure Canada

Central Kootenay Food Policy Council

West Kootenay EcoSociety on Food Security

Kootenay Food

FarmFolk CityFolk

Interior Health on Food Security

Home Canning Safety from the Government of Canada

Avoiding Botulism when Home Canning