There’s a solution in farming

Re: Parksville mayor’s idea to bring marijuana grow-ops and a casino to Parksville.

Re: Parksville mayor’s idea to bring marijuana grow-ops and a casino to Parksville.

I am surprised that he didn’t raise the possibility of Parksville being considered as part of a Tar Sands pipeline route, or a LNG compressor station, or a nuclear power plant site, or did he consider us hosting a waste-disposal incinerator for the province’s trash?

I mean really, anything that generates piles of tax revenue must be great, right?

Perhaps I might be so bold as to suggest an alternative approach. Fifty years ago, Parksville was surrounded by productive, local family farms growing all sorts of wonderful and healthy local food. Most of it would qualify today as “organically grown”. Fifty years of ridiculous policy changes by Vancouver Island towns and cities have produced a regulatory and real estate environment that prevents almost everybody from farming.

I find this incredibly ironic since this part of Canada demands and purchases more “organic” food per capita than any other jurisdiction in North America. We have more organic product sections in local grocery stores, more local food markets, and more whole food stores than any place of similar population in all of Canada.

Too bad that almost all of the local farms have been closed in recent years. Oh, well, we can always truck stuff in from California or fly in the organic produce from China to Mayor Chris Burger’s casino.

My approach to grow the local economy and contribute to tax revenue? Restore the ability of local farmers to grow good quality food.

Recent developments in agriculture have produced dozens of varieties of amazing plants that thrive in this local growing climate. On my own small farm on Lasqueti Island, we grow organically grown market crops of watermelon, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, sweet bell peppers, nectarines, peaches, kiwi fruit, shitake mushrooms, as well as dozens of other crops more commonly found in local gardens.

Our customers are loyal and plentiful and we never have bad years because there is so much crop variety in our garden. The only obstacle to successful farming in our local area? The absolutely ridiculous pricing of arable land, caused by the policies of people like Mayor Burger.

The solution? Find a way to get land into the hands of competent local farmers.

Gordon Ashacker

Lasqueti Island