Friday, August 31, 2018

It's the last day of August...



It's the last day of August which for me feels like the last day of Summer. This Summer has definitely had its challenges and it has also had absolute successes. I was incredibly fortunate over the past few months to travel in our province meeting with farmers and producers. Our agriculture sector always makes time to have a chat and to let me know what's going on.

We are now moving into the Fall which will see us head into the Legislature on October 1st and I'm really excited about the opportunities and work that is ahead!

Have I told you how thrilled I am to be your Minister of Agriculture?



Organic food and beverage products sold in B.C. must be certified





As of Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, people can buy British Columbia food products and beverages that are marketed as organic with more confidence, knowing that the products have been certified through an accredited provincial or federal program.


“People are more engaged then ever with how their food is grown and processed,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “Requiring certification for the use of the term ‘organic’ for the sales of B.C. foods and beverages means producers... are able to offer British Columbians an increased level of certainty about the farming and processing practices of their products.”



Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Joint statement on wildfires in BC




Federal Agriculture Minister MacAulay and I issued a joint statement on British Columbia wildfires on Friday.


I feel confident that Minister MacAulay and I will continue to work closely together as we support ranchers and farmers in the face of this challenging wildfire season.


From: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Statement
...
August 23, 2018 – Nanaimo, British Columbia – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the BC Ministry of Agriculture
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay, and Minister of Agriculture for British Columbia, Lana Popham, issued the following statement today in response to the British Columbia wildfires.
“The Governments of Canada and British Columbia are working closely together to ensure the safety of Canadians during this difficult time. In addition to other actions being taken by both our governments, officials are monitoring the wildfires and the potential impacts on farms.
“A suite of federal-provincial-territorial business risk management programs is available to help farmers manage risks that threaten the viability of their farm, including disaster situations. We encourage farmers to participate in these programs to help ensure they can access support during these difficult times.
“Having been farmers ourselves, our thoughts go out to the farm families who have been affected by the wildfires. In British Columbia and across Canada, our hardworking farmers are the backbone of our economy. We are committed to supporting them at this difficult time as they work hard to get their safe, high-quality products to our kitchen tables.”

Friday, August 24, 2018

Royal BC Museum Macabee Fossil Event







I had a lovely time speaking at the Royal BC Museums unveiling of a collection of Fossils donated by John Leahy and family. John was a teacher in Kamloops and his collection will now help spark an interest in future paleontologists. An amazing example of BC Heritage right here in Victoria! The Royal BC Museum has gratefully accepted this donation of the world's largest collection from the McAbee Fossil Beds. The collection is comprised of over 18,000 pieces.



What would your choice be for a “Provincial Fossil?” Vote now until the end of November!
Add your vote at bit.ly/2o336Wv

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Provincial State of Emergency Declared

Our government has declared a state of emergency to make sure we have all of the resources necessary to keep British Columbians safe.

With over 560 fires now burning, BC continues to experience heightened wildfire activity, and there are over 3300 personnel now supporting wildfire response efforts. My deepest gratitude and appreciation to everyone who is working to contain the wildfires and caring for those who have been affected.

To prepare your farm for emergencies, start here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/business-market-development/emergency-preparedness

No matter where you are in the province, please remain vigilant – it’s imperative that we each do our part to prevent wildfires. Please click here to read the full news release from earlier today

Friday, August 10, 2018

Nuts about Hazelnuts!!

Many of you will know how much I've been chatting up hazelnut production in our Province over the past 10 years! This Summer I was able to launch a hazelnut revitalization project from my Ministry with hopes to relaunch an industry that has so much potential. 

Guess who noticed my enthusiasm? 

A company you will know as Ferrero who makes many sweet treats including Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Nutella and Kinder Surprise! Hazelnuts are very important to their operations and so today I met with Jorge Acevedo from Ferrero Luxembourg and Barb Yates who works for Ferrero as a Hazelnut Agronomist. Looking forward to our follow up meetings to come!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Report from Committee for Revitalizing the ALR and ALC Received!

I’m happy to share that the independent Minister’s Advisory Committee for Revitalizing the Agricultural Land Reserve and Agricultural Land Commission has submitted its interim report!

I’m so thankful to the members of the Advisory Committee for their hard work, and I’m looking forward to reviewing their recommendations. Committee members did significant work to engage British Columbians in the development of these recommendations, and this report is an important contribution to the conversation we’ve been having in our province to build a strong and resilient agricultural sector for generations to come.

The committee identified 13 recommendations for legislative and regulatory change, 4 recommendations for action to protect the ALR, and 14 key issues still under consideration for its final report.

The committee also submitted a second “what we heard” report that summarizes the findings from stakeholder meetings and public engagement that occurred over multiple months. You can access both documents by clicking here! 

-Lana 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Great Times at Saanich Sunday Farmers' Market!

I had so much fun at the Saanich Sunday Farmers' Market this past weekend! Not only did I end up with a big bag of amazing produce and goods from the market (including the bag itself!) but we also passed out some #BuyBC swag as well! If you haven't been able to check it out this year there are still 3 more market days left this season - I highly recommend you stop by!

                 



















Thursday, August 2, 2018

Awesome News for Agricultural Innovation!

It was so awesome to be at Kwantlen Polytechnic University to announce one of the coolest things ever: a new research farm and seed lab!!

Our government is investing $670,000 to fund world-class research and innovation that will help local organic farmers grow sustainable and healthy food options for British Columbians to enjoy.

This funding will help farmers develop better seeds, crops and growing methods. More importantly, it will lead to more healthy, nutritious food that’s grown right here in BC and produced sustainably!

The research farm is going to be 8.1 hectares – bigger than 15 football fields put side-by-side! I truly can’t wait to see the amazing work comes out of this new facility.

For even more details you can visit the following link: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018JTT0035-001493




Wednesday, August 1, 2018

New additions to our team!

So excited to update you with some new additions to our team! Many of you folks already know Maureen Rogers as one of my amazing Constituency Assistants, and I'm super happy to let you know that Ravi Parmar has joined our community office as a full-time Constituency Assistant as well!

Also pictured are Sam Godfrey (one of my amazing Ministerial Assistants) and Chris Wieczorek, my fantastic interim Executive Assistant. Whether it's constituency or ministerial work I'm so happy to have these guys (and so many more!) on my team!

Monthly Micro-Actions: Plastic Alternatives

*MLA’s note* I’m so happy to introduce Laska ParĂ©! Laska is one of our amazing constituents in Saanich South, and is also a monthly guest blogger on my website! She writes about tips on small changes we can make in our day-to-day lives to encourage us to live more sustainably. Read on below to find out more! -Lana 

No one knows exactly how much plastic waste ends up in the ocean. A 2018 National Geographic article featured this estimate made by an engineering professor: somewhere between 5.3 million and 14 million tons each year just from coastal regions[1]. While that’s a distressing estimate, the fact is the problem persists and not every location has the infrastructure to recycle. And while recycling may seem commonplace, it is important to remember that the first R is to REDUCE.

“But I can only reuse my toothbrush for so long and this is a hygienic necessity that I can’t reduce or eliminate.” Of course, we don’t want you reusing your one toothbrush forever, so the question then becomes how can I REDUCE the waste that comes from the products I use?

Remember, just because we recycle doesn’t mean it makes it to the recycling station or gets turned into something new and useable. This is why we have to explore the opportunity to reduce everyday plastics, like toothbrushes!

Did you know a person may use 160 toothbrushes over their lifetime? And that’s just the result of 1 person using 1 instrument. There are over 7 billion people in the world, most of which brush their teeth with a typical plastic toothbrush. That’s 160 toothbrushes X 7,000 000 000 000 people totaling… Yikes!!

The good news is alternative solutions to plastic are popping up everywhere and are becoming more readily accessible.

Bamboo for the Win

Switching to a bamboo toothbrush means not only reducing plastic but utilizing a product made from the fastest growing plant on the planet. Bamboo is known to grow over 4 feet a DAY in the right conditions; as such, it’s considered a sustainable resource.

My journey to reduce plastic in my life began with a toothbrush realization I had while living in Hong Kong. In this video, which aired on Shaw TV earlier this year, I share details about my Zero Waste journey and highlight companies doing great work by offering plastic-free alternatives for consumers. 

Micro-Action For August

We’re addicted to plastic at a planetary scale, and solving the plastic problem will be incredibly challenging on a global level. We can, however, REDUCE our dependence on plastic at an individual level.

This month, when you go to the store to make a purchase consider if there’s a plastic free-alternative available. Thanks to Smartphones, you can do a quick Google search in the store and learn about the options available to you. 

Also, feel free to Email Us if you’d like to know of a plastic alternative to something you use every day! I’m happy to address reader feedback in my next blog.

Laska

[1] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/plastic-planet-waste-pollution-trash-crisis/