Friday October 13, 2023 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
BC is not supporting farmers enough to be able to create more food security. That’s the view of BC Green Leader Sonia Furstenau.
She says that “farmers are struggling with the cost of everything from land to seeds to feed and they are not getting the support they need from the province to be able to achieve long term food security”. She adds: “They don’t have access to funds that help them mitigate the heat and cooling consequences of climate change.”
However, there are several provincial programs that farmers can access, including the B.C. Food Storage, Distribution and Retail Program and the B.C. Small Food Processor Scale-Up Program.
“There aren’t enough pockets of money to cool a barn with animals in it or to heat a barn with animals in it in a new way. This might exist up north, but it is a new issue for the lower mainland and Vancouver Island,” says Furstenau.
She adds that farmers are also facing enormous financial losses because of the climate-related events like the atmospheric river, the heat domes and droughts. “So their risk is high and they’ve given up; new farmers aren’t coming in,” said the Green party leader.
“Young farmers cannot afford to buy land and they can’t afford to grow food.”
“The provincial government has to make a decision as to whether it thinks food security is important. Food security is extremely important and we have to take it seriously, let alone scale up,” says Furstenau.
As announced in March 2023, the BC government allocated $200 million for food security initiatives (a boost in funding as made available from the budget surplus of 2022-2023).
Two BC Agriculture programs support small rural and independent food producers (September 15, 2023)