Letter from the CBRA Board of Directors has written to the CRD:
CRD Board of Directors
RE: CRD FOOD & FARMLAND TRUST
The creation of The Regional Food and Agriculture Strategy and the CRD Regional Food and Agriculture Strategy is a necessary, positive and progressive step.
Over the past year, there has been a review of different strategies to increase the protection and access of farmland in the CRD.
We would like to draw your attention to the proposal coming before the Board to review the Uplands Consulting: Capital Regional District Regional Food Lands Improvement Feasibility Study and Business Case. The study looks at different approaches to support food lands access and recommends supporting a Farmland Trust and land bank model.
It is critical the CRD prioritize food security given the new uncertainties created by climate change, increasing international political instability and the rapid pace of development in the region. Any one of these factors would be sufficient cause for concern. The cumulative impact makes it imperative to take effective action to preserve food security as soon as possible.
A Farmland Trust and land bank model is one of the most effective means to insure food security. Agricultural land has become increasingly costly putting it beyond the reach of young people who would like to grow food and farm. Access to land is the biggest barrier to new farmers at the same time established farmers are retiring in increasing numbers. How much will food security decline unless proactive incentives are put in place to encourage and enable young farmers?
Small scale sustainable agriculture is economically efficient yielding $40,000 – $60,000 per acre of product compared to large scale mono production of about $20,000 per acre.
Source: Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable.
Land banks offer more than economic benefits. Locally grown produce is fresher, more nutritious and tastier than food produced thousands of miles away and trucked to regional warehouses and finally to local stores. The CRD has recognized climate change as a crisis. Local produce minimizes the carbon footprint of transportation.
A Farmland Trust and land bank model represents a major support for food security.
Eric Dahli, Chair
Cadboro Bay Residents’ Association