This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: “Protecting farmland ensures locals can produce their own food”

In this week’s Duel, Brent and I decided to take a look at this question: Is food security a valid goal for the Agricultural Land Reserve?

Brent’s wrote first this week and his column is a must read before you read mine below. http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/11/17/advocates-of-food-security-arent-doing-it-for-farmers
There is just so much to be said about why food security should be an important goal for the ALR, and clearly 400 words isn’t enough to get into the heart of the matter. But check out my response to Brent below:

After reading Brent’s column this week, it appears that he has become a victim of his own complaints.

While Brent makes a valid point that people tend to hear only what they want to hear — or read, as the case may be — a visit to the website for the B.C. Food Systems Network showed me that Brent is more than capable of doing exactly the same thing.

It’s pretty apparent to anyone who takes a few minutes to check out this site that the only thing that has been hijacked in this debate are a few select words and phrases Brent has snagged from their pages to weave an argument that holds no merit.

In fact, while Brent tries to paint a picture of food security being some kind of left-wing social movement, where the taxpayers are on the hook for free food for everyone, it’s anything but. And it is that twisted right-wing, pro-development presentation that makes the food security issue so important to the debate surrounding the protection of the Agricultural Land Reserve and the Agricultural Land Commission.

Food security is a global issue that includes not only each person’s ability to access food, but encompasses the ability of communities, regions and countries to produce their own food. The need to preserve and protect agricultural land is a vital component for any region’s food security. In B.C., agricultural land is being threatened on many different fronts…

READ the rest of this weeks column, vote and comment at http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/11/17/protecting-farmland-ensures-locals-can-produce-their-own-food

There will be a few stories coming this week, and I’ll be introducing you to a new cartoonist who will be sharing some political cartoons with us here on the site!

5 thoughts on “This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: “Protecting farmland ensures locals can produce their own food”

  1. Mike

    Laila, I hope Brent is being “tongue in cheek” in his column.
    If not, he would be farther ahead if he just kept quiet.
    Food security is not some random notion. More importantly, any city, region or country must be able to provide for itself at the most basic levels, namely to be able to feed its own.
    There are examples all around the world of countries dealing with starvation, malnutrition and shortages.. Your readers need to ask themselves, do you want some certainty that your food is safe, abundant and affordable, or are you willing to bet on a global trade partner to feed you family?

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    1. Laila

      Interestingly enough, while Pat Pimm is embroiled in the current scandal over his meddling with the ALC to advocate removing that land up north from the ALR, he openly acknowledged as did the government, the importance of having our own local food supply in this press release for Thanksgiving.

      http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2013/10/thank-bcs-agriculture-industry-this-thanksgiving-weekend.html

      VICTORIA – As British Columbians peel the potatoes and prepare the side dishes to go with their Thanksgiving turkey this weekend, Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm is taking a moment to highlight the benefits of buying local and celebrating the contribution of B.C’s agriculture sector.

      More than 61,000 people work in the B.C. agrifoods industry and together the farmers, ranchers and food processors produce more than 200 commodities on the land and harvest about 100 species of fish, shellfish and plants from the sea. Many of these local products will be served on Thanksgiving dinner tables this weekend.

      In 2012, total farm cash receipts from B.C.’s agriculture sector increased eight per cent to $2.8 billion. The crop and livestock/poultry sectors generated almost equal shares of the provincial farm cash receipts. B.C. raised more than 2.7 million turkeys and the total turkey production rose five per cent from the previous year to 21,400 tonnes.

      The just released British Columbia Agrifood Industry Year in Review notes the province produced almost 72,000 tonnes of potatoes in 2012 – that’s enough for 480 million servings. Mushrooms and potatoes were B.C.’s highest-value, non-greenhouse vegetable crops, followed by corn, lettuce, carrots, beans, cabbage and brussels sprouts. Fresh B.C. vegetables and other local products are available at farmers markets and grocery stores year round.

      In 2012, the B.C. government invested $2 million to help B.C. farmers and food processors promote local foods through the Buy Local Program. The program offers successful applicants matching funds up to $100,000 to launch or expand local food marketing campaigns.

      The overall agriculture, seafood and food processing sectors’ revenue grew to $11.7 billion in 2012. Building the local market for B.C. foods is a key commitment of government’s Agrifoods Strategy, a component of the BC Jobs Plan, to lead the agrifoods sector growth into a $14-billion-a-year industry by 2017.

      Quotes:

      Minister of Agriculture Pat Pimm –

      “I encourage all British Columbians to try a local food product this weekend and support the hard work of our province’s agriculture sector. Thanksgiving is a great opportunity for our farmers and producers to showcase their products and for B.C. families to enjoy the benefit of healthy and great tasting local food while supporting the provincial economy.”

      Learn More:

      British Columbia Agrifood Industry Year in Review – 2012 (comprehensive statistical information on the province’s agrifood industry):http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/stats/YinReview/Agrifood-YIR-2012.pdf

      Agriculture, Seafood & Agrifoods Sector Snapshot – 2012:http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/stats/Sectors/SectorSnapshot2012.pdf

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  2. My impression from these two columns about food security is that Brent was trying to lose the poll. Just who advocates for free food for everybody? I have never heard of anybody form any political or economic pursuasion advocate free food for everybody. Who should pay the farmer? Or course, it shouldn’t be primarily the taxpayer. Nobody that I know of says it should be. However, most of our industries receive subsidies, farmers included. Most of the US’s industries receive subsidies too, including their farmers as well. Europe subsidizes their farmers too, along with many other industries.

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