BC needs a real sustainable food policy

MLA Norm Macdonald

A few weeks ago, I attended a celebration of local food that featured a wonderful meal prepared entirely from locally-grown produce and meat.  It was a thought-provoking experience and an opportunity to discuss with the other diners where our food comes from and how it is grown.

This is a wider trend that spreads far beyond the two hundred people that participated in this dinner. More and more people are purchasing their summer vegetables at the local Farmer’s Market, buying shares in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), or looking for the Fair Trade symbol on their coffee before they buy.

British Columbians want to know where our food comes from.  Whether it comes from hunting and fishing, our own garden, or purchased from a small-scale farm, we want access to food that is grown close to home.

In a healthy democracy, this growing interest in developing a sustainable local food system should be reflected in the policy of our government.

Unfortunately, many of this government’s actions such as changes to farm gate sales regulations and to harvest allocations within the wildlife act have taken us in the opposite direction, making it even more difficult to access local food.

Other jurisdictions have taken this issue much more seriously than British Columbia and, as a result, have been able to provide their citizens with a much more resilient food system.

British Columbia needs a food policy that puts food self-sufficiency as a top priority.  People want the security of knowing that we have the ability to feed ourselves.

A comprehensive food security policy would involve protection of the agricultural land base, promotion of environmentally sustainable farm practices and programs to support the economic viability of local food producers.

Improving food security is just one of the principles of Sustainable BC, a vision for our province dedicated to embracing sustainability for present and future generations.  If you want to learn more about Sustainable BC, please go to www.NormMacdonald.ca/mla-offices.html, and click on the Sustainable BC link.