Food Group Meeting – Thursday, April 1 – Notes

The Food Group met from noon to 1:20 p.m. on Thursday, April 1st at John Mayba’s office.
John, Dan Schubart, myself and farmers Bill Thomson and Bob Haines were present. The wide-reaching discussion was aimed at identifying the next steps in encouraging consumers to support local agriculture.
Topics included experiences at the Farmers’ Market, the general growth of interest in local food,
coming changes to the B. C. Water Act, progress on an Agricultural Plan for the Valley (hiring of a consultant soon), attempts to feature local food in schools, the importance of convincing people to grow at least some food in their backyards, and the need to increase awareness of the public about the benefits to health, environment, economy, community independence and resilience of growing, purchasing and eating local food.
Three immediate actions were decided upon:
– to produce bumper stickers in praise of local food and to give these out (free, at cost or by donation) at the Farmers’ Market (example” I EAT LOCALLY GROWN”)
– to use the www.patransitions.ning.com website to provide links to local producers’ sites and to post the Alberni Valley Farmers Directory (now in print form), so that updates can be made more promptly available.
Farmers would update their own websites, with patransitions updating the links only.
– to encourage everyone to learn about the possible implications for agriculture of changes to the B.C. Water Act and to write letters in support of agriculture as a priority use. Written submissions are being accepted until April 30. See www.livingwatersmart.ca/water-act for background. For a farmer’s point of view, see Bob Collins’ column in “Country Life in B.C.” Bob, Bill Thomson and Terry Shannon attended the workshop on Ministry of Environment’s drafting of Water Act Modernization legislation.

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