Cheaper land needed

New agricultural plan won't do anything to increase food production says RDN director

  • Oct. 23, 2012 6:00 p.m.

Regional District of Nanaimo director Julian Fell says agricultural plan won't increase food production

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s new agricultural plan is a good idea on paper, but it’s not going to accomplish what it set out to do, says one RDN director.

Errington-Coombs director Julian Fell said the plan, which still has to be ratified, is it is not going to deliver an increase in food production.

“Why have it if it isn’t going to do anything?” he asked. “An agricultural plan for the RDN should have as its goal a large and permanent increase in local food production,” Fell said. “This would be good for the local economy, provide healthier foods, reduce consumption of non-renewable resources and provide food security.” That’s important, he said, because Vancouver Island only has a few days’ supply of food on hand, leaving its residents vulnerable to food shortages in the event of a supply chain disruption.

The key issue that needs to be addressed, he said, is the price of farm land, which he said is currently well beyond the means of young families who want to begin their farming career.

“To increase food production, farming has to be expanded into farmable lands that are not yet being farmed,” he said. “These lands are currently in five to 10-hectare lots, which currently sell in the $500,000 to $1 million range. They can only be afforded by wealthy people who typically have horses.”

Entry-level farmers, he said, need lots that can be purchased for $100,000 or less.

“An agricultural plan that does not recognize and enable small scale, affordable farms will fail to produce any increase in food production,” Fell said.

The RDN’s agricultural plan process was begun in early 2011 to support, preserve, and enhance viable agriculture and food production in the Nanaimo region.

The plan, entitled Growing our Future Together, set out to identify issues, barriers and opportunities for agricultural and aquicultural production, establish an inventory of agricultural uses, products and practices, increase public awareness about the importance of agriculture and work with producers to come up with an implementation strategy.

With no declaration about the right to produce food or plan to create small-lot farming opportunities, Fell sees the document as little more than another layer of bureaucracy.

The plan, which still has to be ratified at the next regular RDN board meeting, was approved, with Fell voting in opposition.


Just Posted

Dying motorcyclist from Coombs gets last-ride tribute

Friends grant Corinna Pitney’s wish ‘to hear bikes roar, to see leather and chrome’

Parksville author shares journey on famed 800 km trail

Books, movie inspire Roxey Edwards to walk Camino de Santiago, write book

Advance voting numbers in for Qualicum Beach, Parksville, RDN

More people vote ahead of time than in previous election

Man jailed after pilfering items from arena in Parksville

60-year-old caught after thefts from change rooms; victims used app to locate belongings

Secret supper clubs test appetite for cannabis-infused food ahead of legalization

Chefs are eagerly awaiting pot edibles to become legal in Canada

Enbridge to begin building road to access pipeline explosion site in B.C.

An explosion Tuesday knocked out a 91-centimetre line

Andrew Scheer on revamped NAFTA deal: ‘I would have signed a better one’

Conservative leader says he wouldn’t have signed USMCA

Matheson will have NHL hearing after Canucks rookie Pettersson hit

The 19-year-old Swedish centre appeared woozy after the hit

GUEST COLUMN: A better way to manage B.C.’s public construction

Claire Trevena responds to Andrew Wilkinson on NDP union policy

B.C. brewery creates bread beer from food waste

The brew aims to raise food waste awareness and provide funds for the food bank

Dad files Charter challenge after B.C. bans kids from taking transit unsupervised

Adrian Crook is taking his fight to B.C. Supreme Court

B.C. VIEWS: Cast your municipal vote for sanity on homelessness

Thousands on waiting list while anti-capitalist bullies get priority

Police investigate alleged arson at Toronto hotel housing asylum seekers

Police believe the fire was started intentionally, but they have not spelled out a possible motive

Most Read