There’s a reason travelers returning home after being away for a long time have the urge to kiss the ground beneath them. The land where we live is so much more than pretty vistas to photograph or sparkling lakes in which to swim. It becomes a part of us; each curve in the road or bend in the trail evokes a memory or brings a sense of belonging.
In the Okanagan Valley, we’re acutely aware of our unique geography that attracts visitors who come to hike the trails and paddle the lakes. It’s a vacation playground on the surface, but dig a bit deeper and you’ll discover just how deep its roots go. Those tidy orchards, bucolic farms and scenic vineyards grow the fruit and vegetables for our farm stands and restaurants, the grapes for our award-winning wines, and the wild ingredients we can forage for food or medicine. And the water from the rivers and lakes fills our cups while simultaneously sustaining the plants and animals.
The valley, water and agreeable climate drew the first people here over 12,000 years ago and they lived in harmony with the land for millennia. To the first peoples’ descendants, the Syilx/Okanagan, the Okanagan Valley and Okanagan Lake are more than a resource or commodity; they’re living things that need to be nurtured in order to keep providing in a sustainable way.
Here we invite you to learn more about Kelowna’s terroir, agricultural diversity, wild foraging, and the terra firma from a cultural perspective.