Wednesday, September 2, 2009

B.C. Vision for Agriculture

Hi All,

Yesterday I had two minutes in the House to make a statement, here is what I said:

AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY IN B.C.

L. Popham: This summer I was fortunate to travel through Kamloops and the Cariboo region on a six-day agricultural tour with the member for Cariboo North. Since most of my experience with agriculture has been on Vancouver Island, I was taken aback by the huge scale of agricultural operations in the Interior. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

In town after town we consulted with ranchers, farmers and people interested in expanding local food production. We visited working ranches and organic farms, took a tour of an abattoir and attended a livestock sale. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

It became clear during this tour that a single vision was being articulated. Just like on Vancouver Island, there is a vision shared by the First Nations Agricultural Association, the Fruit Growers Association, the B.C. Livestock Producers Co-op, the meat processors, local agricultural steering committees, farmers' market associations, individual ranchers and an increasing number of consumers who are interested in supporting local food production. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

It is a vision about self-sufficiency and sustainability of B.C. agriculture. It is a message about our untapped capacity. It's hard to believe that in a time of accelerating climate change, a time of economic turmoil, we are not focusing on our own back yard for solutions. A self-sufficient British Columbia is not such a crazy idea. It's an idea whose time has come. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I'm not talking about cutting ourselves off and shutting our doors or about being independent from the rest of this planet. I'm talking about a wasted opportunity if we don't start to develop B.C.'s agricultural community to its fullest potential. That's the message I'm bringing back to this House from the farmers and consumers of B.C. who want to be part of the solution. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]