Elizabeth May promotes food security and protection of farm lands

Elizabeth May promotes family farms, organic agriculture, and protection of farm lands

Today at Northbrook Organic
Farm in Central Saanich from 1:00-1:30 pm, Green Party leader Elizabeth May and
the owners of the Saanich Peninsula’s best-known organic farm business, Saanich
Organics, will hold a media conference in support of family farms, organic
agriculture, and the protection of farm lands.

“Many people don’t
realize that the riding of Saanich-Gulf islands is one of BC’s major
agricultural regions, with some of the most productive farmlands and the
longest growing season in Canada. There is huge support here for local and
organically-grown produce,” states Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party. “The
Greens believe that support for family farms, local farmers’ markets, and
organic agriculture are vital for a healthy, resilient society and planet.
Saanich Organics are clearly at the centre of the movement in our region for
local, healthy food.”

Saanich Organics is a
community of farmers from small, certified organic farms who work together on
the Saanich Peninsula. They sell at local street
markets, run a residential box delivery program, and run a commercial
division that serves restaurants and grocery stores.

“We at Saanich Organics
are proud to support Elizabeth May in the upcoming Federal election.  When
Ms. May moved into this riding, she met with people in many sectors of our
community to inform herself on local issues.  When learning about the
farming sector in her riding, she included small scale, organic farmers like
us.  When we met her we were most impressed with her intelligence, her
compassion, and her commitment to building a better, more sustainable, more
just world and we would be thrilled to have her represent us in Ottawa,” stated
Saanich Organics co-owner Robin Tunnicliffe. “Saanich Organics is creating a
viable alternative to industrial agriculture. Our farms support biodiversity
and practice soil conservation, humane living conditions of farm animals and
high labour standards.”

Over the last five
decades, federal policies, subsidies and changing technologies have shifted
food production from small ecologically-sustainable family farms to
giant agribusinesses. This shift has given multinational
corporations control over our food supply. Meanwhile, farmers
increasingly rely on off-farm income to survive.  We must restructure our
agricultural markets to sustain farming and provide farm families with a fair
share of the consumer food dollar.

The Greens would support
organic agriculture, family farms, and the protection of prime agricultural
lands through such measures as:

  • Providing $50
    million for local farmers markets to develop agricultural production for local
    consumption, enhancing local food security while supporting family farms.
  • Provide $500
    million for farmers to transition to organic agriculture
  • Reforming
    agriculture regulations to challenge corporate concentration.
  • Ensuring farm
    support payments are farm-based (not production-based) to encourage more farms
    and more farmers.
  • Enabling local
    areas without industrial-scale agriculture to develop area-specific
    food safety regulations meeting national standards without placing undue
    financial burdens on local farmers and food processors.
  • Ensuring supply
    management systems provide stable domestic markets to provide viable farm
    income and support production by smaller and family farms that sell to
    local markets.
  • Supporting the
    “200 kilometre diet” and locally grown food through expansion of farmers’
    markets and local culinary tourism activities.
  • Protecting the
    right of farmers to save their own seed.
  • Introducing
    cost-shared programs to help farmers protect wildlife habitat areas and
    marginal lands, maintain water quality in streams, lakes and aquifers, and
    retain and improve soil quality.

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Kieran Green
Director of
C: 613-614-4916