Food is a basic need and securing the local food supply is essential for our health and wellbeing, but also creating strong, stable, resilient and sustainable communities. Unfortunately, we’re losing that personal relationship that we have always had with those who produced our food.
The highest and best use for agricultural land is agriculture, and while that sounds obvious, we have lost quality food producing land over the decades and our food is now coming from further and further afield.
Saanich North and the Islands is home to some of the largest areas of agricultural land in the Capital Region, and it is a really important part of our local economy.
The more urban the land, the more pressure there is on it for uses other than agriculture. Housing or residential, commercial, and industrial, all have a higher rate of return in the short term for the landowner, and they raise more revenue for local governments.
To add to the increasing cost of land, you’ve got an aging farm population, and ongoing issues with deer and geese, climate change, more extreme weather events, farming is a risky business, and the pressure here is great, in our rurban environment.
The agricultural land reserve, or the ALR, has always been a political lightning rod, and there is always a fierce response to the erosion of our food producing land.
We all eat, and it’s in our interests to ensure that our households, our restaurants, and our grocers have access to a good quality and stable supply of locally produced food, and we do that by supporting our farmers, our farm businesses, and our future farmers.
In the end, this is about wellness. And a primary focus of the BC Greens is about how we are looking after our people. In past videos, I talked about housing and education, and health care and that good stable supply of locally produced food is a critical component to a strong social fabric.
As a Central Saanich Councillor I often faced these challenges, but also the opportunities that agriculture on the Saanich Peninsula and throughout the Southern Gulf Islands frankly, offers our region. I have been around the table on these issues, I have got a good strong, background on the issues, the challenges and the opportunities as I said and I look forward to continuing to work to ensure that we have got a good quality food supply here, local food supply here in Saanich North and the Islands, really for the benefit of all the Capital Region.