Amlec Organic Limited
Amlec Organic Ltd. is the business arm of the T’it’q’et Food Sovereignty Project. Amlec is a St’at’imc First Nation’s word and the literal translation is ‘to gather food.’ Amlec Organic is a food production, processing and distribution service for locally grown organic food.
In the St’at’imc language, T’it’q’et means ‘alkaline earth’. Th’it’q’et has more than 400 members and one of the eleven communities that make up the St’at’imc Nation. The people live on unceded territory guided by their constitution and their ancestral knowledge.
Prior to European contact, the main source of food for the T’it’q’etmec was the salmon and other fish in the rivers, lakes and streams, the plants gathered from riverbed to mountaintop and the birds and game animals that shared the landscape. Now, the community has established a community garden and an orchard that provides food as well as a place to learn how to become self-sufficient. Growing from this food sovereignty movement is Amlec Organic Ltd. This limited company is owned by three T’it’q’et members on behalf of the community and is part of a food security Initiative based on local organic food production, expanded storage capability, extended storage life, and enhanced nutritional values of harvested foods through appropriate technology and environmentally sound techniques.
Amlec Organic started in 2016 and is in the business start-up phase with renovations ongoing in a local building on Highway 99. Amlec has five employees and many volunteers from youth to elders who work together. They are looking to add at least another five more people to assist in the development of Amlec Organic.
Amlec currently has a cold storage and dry storage facility for the produce from the Three Sisters plot at their community garden and for the produce gleaned and gathered at local farms. Amlec has a large commercial dehydrator that is 70 inches tall and holds 42 trays, with 136 square feet of drying space. Staff and volunteers recognize the potential of their greenhouse, fields and community garden and watched the success of their garlic sales. They currently sell through their farm stand and the Buy-Low Foods store but are looking to expand marketing a sell their produce, dried foods and storage ready foods through their storefront.
Meet Matthew Davidson
Meet Matthew Davidson
Matthew was born and raised in Lillooet, he grew up on a hobby farm and went on to study horticulture. He knows the importance of providing people with the opportunity to connect directly with their food systems and loves working with Amlec Organic. Amlec Organic is another step in the right direction towards food sovereignty for T'it'q'et. "Once we get youth growing food for themselves we can instill that pride and develop those skills," said Matthew. He loves working with Amlec Organic. "There is real contentment," he said, "we are growing this business at the community level with youth up to elders playing a role." Their plan for moving Amlec Organic forward is ambitious but the Directors, staff and volunteers have already accomplished so much and can be proud of their growth to date. Amlec Organic is at a point in their business development where they can create jobs and market their product.
Matthew enjoys curling in the winter and swimming laps at the pool. He actively supports the pool and praises Lillooet for its recreational facilities such as the curling rink, weight room, climbing wall and golf course. Lillooet has plenty of natural recreation and Matthew recommends Seton Lake as a place to go.
Matthew was drawn back to Lillooet because of the mountains, the different ecosystems, the river and the good people. Matthew feels connected to the local six surrounding First Nations and appreciates the legends and long history that the St'at'mic have. He feels Lillooet has a strong future ahead. "We are attracting people that are making a difference and having a positive impact," he said. Combine these newcomers with the existing strong volunteer base in the community and Lillooet is poised for success.