Letters: Taking exception to Fletcher’s comments

Protection of farmland and farms is crucial for survival

My husband and I recently moved to Shirley from Victoria.

We appreciate Sooke News Mirror’s efforts to retain an independent, small-town focus, unlike the usual Black Press newspapers.  Sadly, Boulevard and Monday Magazine are poor shadows of their former selves, and with each issue, the amount of people they employ decreases, and the amount of articles v. ads decreases as well.

This week I was dismayed to see Sooke News Mirror publish an “editorial” (April 16, “Farmland fights sheds little light” pg. 8) by the Black Press favourite Liberal government mouthpiece, Tom Fletcher.

Anyone who eats food understands how crucial it is to protect the Agricultural Land Reserve. But, according to Fletcher, farming is the greatest attack on land in North America. There’s no question vast hectares of land have been cleared for a century or more in order to grow food. What Fletcher doesn’t say, is the defenders of the ALR are not trying to protect and use what already exists, including wilderness habitat.

IMO, the most important point Fletcher fails to address is, at least the “cleared” land is being put to good use, i.e. growing food to feed British Columbians, and the growing number of organic and biodynamic farms means little to no toxic chemicals polluting the soil, watersheds, animals and plants.

Clearly Fletcher and his buddies Premier Christy Clark, and MLA Bill Bennett, see land as wasteful and empty if it’s not being used (“developed”) for commercial and industrial uses and real estate.

As the California drought and other unstable climate events prove, growing food is more difficult and expensive, not to mention the costs of trucking and shipping. And the nutrients decrease the longer food even organic, spends in trucks and containers.

At one time, I believe, Vancouver Island provided something like 80-90 per cent of its own food, now, it’s something like 5-7 per cent. Information which should at the very least make everyone attempt to grow something edible, even in patio planters. Even better, start/join community gardens and support local farmers through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s) and other organizations which are increasing in number and more available to more people all the time.

One has to wonder if Fletcher believes there’s a never ending supply of food at his favourite grocery store?  Or if he understands what an “industrial park” really is?

Helene Harrison

Shirley

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