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 Communications
C: 613-614-4916