MLA Report: Build capacity for food production, not destroy it

Province should be working to build agricultural capacity, writes Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald

In my last two MLA reports, I have discussed the problems with Bill 24, amendments to the Agriculture Act that will fundamentally change the way decisions are made concerning the development of agricultural land. With the passing of Bill 24, we will essentially remove any independent oversight of the way these decisions are made. Instead, every withdrawal from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) will be decided upon based on political criteria by politicians. There is nothing defensible about that.

Rather than putting in place a framework for dismantling the ALR in a way that serves only the best interest of politicians, we need to be having a much larger discussion about a progressive food policy for the entire province. Figuring out a way to feed ourselves sustainably has to be at the top of our agenda.

British Columbia is well positioned to be a leader in local food production and food security. Even in the Kootenays, where Bill Bennett says we only grow hay, there is a blossoming local food culture. Small businesses are being started all over this region as we take advantage of the agricultural opportunities we have here. But access to land is very often a struggle, and if Bill Bennett gets his way, there will be even less agricultural land in the Kootenays.

This is why we are proposing a different solution. We have put forward the BC Local Food Act, which will actually increase food security, improve health outcomes and fuel local economic activity.

The BC Local Food Act would require government purchasing of locally grown food, would reintroduce the very successful Buy BC program and would mandate a legislative committee on food and agriculture. This committee would establish a plan to increase local food production, marketing and processing. It would set specific, measurable targets for progress, and it would develop the policies that would need to be adopted by government to ensure success.

We need to focus on making it possible for people to farm successfully. We need to build capacity for food processing and storage, and protect the valuable public asset that is the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The BC Local Food Act is an example of agriculture policy that actually makes life better for British Columbians; a stark contrast to the BC Liberals and Bill 24.

 

Just Posted

Mike Field Quintet playing in Revelstoke this Friday

The band is known for their bright and energetic music

Going by electric car: Revelstoke adventurer does 100 summits without fossil fuels

Documentary Electric Greg showing in Revelstoke Nov. 30

Revelstoke City Council considering giving themselves a raise

The proposal right now is an increase to $25,000 for councillors and $70,000 for the mayor

Revelstoke celebrates Remembrance Day

The Revelstoke Legion hosted the annual Remembrance Day ceremony Nov. 11. Hundreds… Continue reading

Grizzlies match Princeton Posse 2-2 after double overtime

Their next home game will be Nov. 29 against Sicamous

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

‘Homes not shelters’: Those living on Kelowna streets rally for rights

On Tuesday, Leon Avenue residents came together to demand change

North Okanagan councillor pitches homeless camp at city hall

805 bylaw calls in 10 months were for inappropriately set-up camps

Vernon car fire deemed suspicious

SUV found fully engulfed with nobody around at 4 a.m. Tuesday on Commonage Road

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Police surround Peachland neighbourhood

The incident in Peachland is now over

North Okanagan motorists advised of road disruptions

Silver Star Road work scheduled for Thursday

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Budget adds up to top marks for North Okanagan city

City earns Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

Most Read