Sunday, August 7, 2011

Meanwhile, back at the farm....

Sunday in Saanich South may have been eclipsed by the fire at my office - but I was in Kamloops at the time, enjoying the Farms 2 Chef event.

Events like this one not showcase locally grown products, but also serve to stimulate local economies while ensuring food security; the very goals of the Grow BC, Feed BC and Buy BC program.

So, let's keep shopping at farmer's markets and asking government to reinstate Buy BC. Imagine if Health Authorities bought their produce locally....


Showcases like Farms2Chefs are a window of opportunity for improving domestic economies, the NDP's agriculture critic said Sunday.

Lana Popham, a former farmer, was in Kamloops Sunday to attend the event at Thistle Farm in Westsyde.

She said agriculture faces a variety of challenges, including climate change and volatile world markets, and events like this are a way to overcome that.

A similar chefs' collaborative on Vancouver Island provided her and other farmers with a stable marketplace that aided in planning and selling crops, she said.

"It was also a really great way for the consumers, who are demanding local food, to see a relationship building that they wanted to buy into as well," said Popham. "It encompassed everybody in the food movement."

Industrial farming brought society to a point where food was produced outside of communities, she said. Now the world is reverting to an era where people want to eat what is grown locally.

Farms2Chefs is also representative of the Grow B.C., Feed B.C., and Buy B.C. concept that Popham and NDP leader Adrian Dix are advocating. The plan includes proposals to have the Interior Health Authority purchase food for hospitals from local farmers and growers, and revitalizing the Buy B.C. program.

"People don't just want to know where their food is coming from, but who is growing it," said Popham.

Hosted by the Thompson-Shuswap Chef Farm Collaborative, Farms2Chefs is a "grazing event" featuring small dishes prepared by 19 different restaurants, with the opportunity to find pairings with local wines, beers and mead.

NDP Agriculture critic speaks out
Cuts in agriculture have farmers suffering says critic Lana Popham.
Last Updated: Sunday, August 7th, 2011 | 4:08pm PDTStory by: Sandy Hall

The NDP's Agriculture critic is speaking out against what she calls a total lack of planning from the government when it comes to supporting the industry.

Lana Popham is in Kamloops today taking in the annual "Farms 2 Chefs" event, which promotes locally grown food.
Popham says she left farming and went into politics to try to rectify the widening gaps in support for those working in agriculture.

She says that farmers suffered when the successful Buy B.C. provincial marketing program was cut 10 years ago for partisan reasons.

She says the Buy B.C. program needs to be brought back to ensure the province has food security as well as to help the green economy.