Saanich setting a course for food security

Open house set for Thursday at Cedar Hill Rec Centre

Saanich is inviting feedback on the district’s draft Agriculture and Food Security Plan.

The plan provides a co-ordinated approach to support agriculture and improve food security in Saanich over the next 10 to 15 years. Residents can find out more at an open house Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre in the Gallery Café. The event will feature interactive displays, a survey and locally produced snacks.

“The draft Agriculture and Food Security Plan will serve as a crucial guiding document for Saanich’s food future,” said Coun. Dean Murdock. “The draft plan sets out the components to enhance local food production and ensure all residents have access to affordable, healthy, local food to put on their dinner tables. I look forward to people taking a look at the draft and letting us know if they feel this sets the right direction going forward.”

Public input gathered over the past year from a project task force, farmers, residents and stakeholder groups has guided development of the draft plan. An online survey and virtual open house are available until Dec. 15 at saanich.ca/food. Saanich staff will use public feedback to refine the plan before it’s presented to council.

The draft plan is organized around seven themes that convey challenges facing agriculture and food security in Saanich: To provide a foundation to take action on agriculture and food security; Connect gaps in the local food systems to improve food self-sufficiency; Strengthen awareness of the local food system; Improve the interconnection between food production and the environment; Manage land use to protect and support farmland; Support multi-generational farmers and emerging farmers; and expand opportunities for urban agriculture.

Food for Thought

· Almost 20 per cent of Saanich land is protected as Agriculture Land Reserve (ALR), but not all farms in Saanich are located within the ALR.

· 21 per cent of Saanich land is farmed and 68 percent of farms are under 10 acres in size

· 380 farm operators are located in Saanich with farm sales comprised of:

· 60 per cent directly to consumers

· 52 per cent farm gate sales, stands or u-pick

· 8 per cent farmers’ markets

· 6 community gardens are currently located in the District of Saanich

· 6 per cent of households in Greater Victoria are considered “food insecure”

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