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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.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dave Barrett helps celebrate the ALR"s 35th Birthday

I attended an Agricultural Land Reserve 35th birthday celebration a couple weeks ago. It was amazing to hear from the people, like Dave Barrett, who had the foresight back then to put a safety net in place for viable agricultural land.
These days there is a lot of pressure to remove land from this bank. It makes the headlines almost every day.
I hear people say that the ALR was put in place to protect farmland but the ALR does not protect the farmer. This is probably true. But, without the vision of the ALR, we would be in a completely different situation these days. We would be dealing with development smack dab in the middle of prime growing areas instead of chipping away at the borders. We have a place holder with the ALR.
35 years ago we protected the land and now maybe we have the understanding that we also need to protect the farmer. Food security is beginning to become a common term. Especially as elections draw near. People are making a connection between what we eat and where it comes from. Maybe we needed to wait until now to fully understand the role of the farmer, and to realize what was needed to protect this important and vital profession in our culture.
I think this is an amazing time for agriculture. If we can enable the appropriate political strength, we have a chance to secure a safe, local, food system.
The next 12 months could bring us 3 elections. Municipal, Provincial, and Federal. The solutions to a successful agricultural system will come from all three levels of government. Locally we need to pressure our leaders to not just talk about food security but to change the way we support our local food systems.
When you are deciding who to vote for in your municipality, make our food system a priority. Ask the politicians what food security means to them. Make them define it for you, demand a commitment, and hold them to it. We can't eat political rhetoric.....