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

How many volunteers does it take to run a hockey team?

Meet the momma bears who make the Revelstoke Grizzlies’ games happen

Niedermayer jersey retirement ceremony a dream come true

Penticton minor hockey players bring home memories of a lifetime from Niedermayer jersey retirement

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

UPDATE: Tractor trailer overturned on Highway 3A near Yellow Lake

Drivers may be wise to plan an alternate route as crews will need to recover the truck

Highway one will be closed tomorrow for avalanche control near Golden

The closure is expected to last for two hours

Branching out: learning to ski at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

It’s the first time at the hill for the editor of Revelstoke Review

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Larch Hills junior skiers top Teck BC Midget Championships

Multiple top-five finishes contribute to aggregate team trophy

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

Pool plans disappoint Shuswap swim clubs

Salmon Arm mayor assures options for city rec centre only preliminary

Vehicle fire on Coquihalla near Kamloops

A large plume of smoke could be seen rising into the sky over Highway 5

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Most Read