Yikes! After reading “Councillor is down on the farm,” I had a strong desire to banish Coun. Ziggy Stewart to the weed pile, never to be heard from again.
He claims that farming is not a sustainable industry or lifestyle, and that taxpayers’ money would be wasted in supporting any such venture. Oh really?
Then perhaps he could enlighten me as to why our city has its own sustainability department whose main mandate is to reduce our carbon footprint? And if you aren’t aware, our biggest carbon footprint is importing food, which, as Morgan Ostler stated, accounts for 99 per cent of what you and I buy in the grocery stores.
Coun. Stewart’s attitude toward farming does nothing to encourage those who may be considering it as a job or business venture, but as someone who has worked on local farms for the past eight years while going to university, I offer a very different perspective. Farming, if done efficiently with hard workers (yes, they do exist), can be a viable business that – hold on to your seat Coun. Stewart – makes money! Land does not have to be bought, but rather could be leased from the city, forest companies, or private landowners, thus enabling future farmers to begin without having a huge mortgage.
Furthermore, there are many possibilities to enhance one’s income on a mixed farm: tours, summer youth employment, allotments, school programs, work for food, berry picking, secondary processing, greenhouses, senior citizen involvement, farm stands, box programs, and the list goes on.
I strongly urge Coun. Stewart to take a simple poll of teachers, chefs, produce managers, and other citizens of Campbell River, and ask them how they would feel about having access to local farm products and programs, and if they would mind some of their tax money spent on such ventures.
My guess is the response would be resoundingly supportive.
My hope is we can step outside the box of ‘economic value’ and see the many other values to be had from investing in agriculture – the least of those being that we lessen our impact on the environment and provide future generations and ourselves with sustainable food security.
This is a fantastic opportunity for Campbell River, one that could put us in the forefront of environmental innovation, rather than being remembered as the city “that did not grow.”