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Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Elected as a Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly for the Constituency of Saanich South on May 12, 2009. New Democratic Opposition Critic for the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. Raised on Quadra Island and has an undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia. Extensive track record as a community leader, advocate and environmental activist.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A gift from rural Saanich......

Get cracking on egg production, farmers say
By Erin Cardone - Saanich News - April 18, 2008

Lana Popham and Dean Rebneris say eggs are a driving force in the local eggonomy – economy, that is. Egg farmers are an important part of the local food supply in and around Greater Victoria.
Erin Cardone/News staff

Dean Rebneris and Lana Popham climbed the stairs to Saanich municipal hall Tuesday with 120 eggs in tow.

“We’ll hand them out to (Mayor) Frank Leonard and anyone else we see who might need them,” Popham said.

The 10 dozen egg cartons were decorated with a label intended to promote egg farming locally and raise awareness of just how many eggs are laid in rural Saanich and distributed for sale around neighbouring municipalities.

“There’s nothing like farm fresh eggs, ones when you know the farmer,” said Rebneris, who keeps 99 laying chickens. “I feed these eggs to my kids.”

Their simple action Tuesday was a push for awareness of eggonomics, Popham said. “We’re just trying to make a point that it adds to the economy, so we were presenting the eggs to the mayor (and others) as a gift from rural Saanich. It’s just to say we’re here and we count.”

As most eggs for sale in Greater Victoria, especially in grocery stores, are imported from the United States or shipped from the Lower Mainland, Popham and Rebneris are hoping to see a boost in locally grown eggs and the number of people who buy locally.

Although they didn’t have hard figures for Victoria or Vancouver Island, the B.C. Egg Producers Marketing Board says eggs are big business for the province. The industry is worth more than $95 million annually, and more than 61-million dozens of eggs are graded each year.

The Island has 18 registered egg producers, four of whom are in the Victoria area, and dozens more unregistered. For anyone wanting to try their hand at becoming an egg producer, Rebneris suggests attending the May 10 Prospect Lake flea market to pick up some laying hens.