By Norm Macdonald, MLA for Columbia River–Revelstoke
Thanksgiving has traditionally been a time of celebrating the harvest. In more modern times, we have become less focused on that direct connection with food production, but I think that we must return to a time where we feel some personal responsibility for the food we put on our tables, with a stronger awareness of those who actually produce the food we eat.
Fall is a time of bringing in crops, butchering livestock or hunting, and we have a large community of people in the area who participate in these food producing activities. I believe that local food production is increasing and that more and more people are choosing local food options when possible.
But we are still reliant on a global network of food producers. This is a system that does have some advantages, but we are in a precarious situation as a society to be so highly dependent on others to produce the food we need to sustain us.
We live in a volatile world, and with increasing changes in our climate, the possibility of losing access to food supplies is even more pronounced.
It makes sense for British Columbia to act now to improve our food security. We can take immediate steps to increase production, improve food storage options, and fine-tune food transportation systems within the province.
The Provincial government must play a leading role in this adaptation.
There must be a genuine commitment by the Provincial government to protect the agricultural land base. The Provincial government must support environmentally sustainable farming practices. And the Provincial government must create opportunities for food producers to be economically viable.
One simple step we can take, towards these goals, is to implement local food procurement for health facilities. Not only would this step improve access to healthy food for patients, it would provide a secure market for local food producers.
This is an issue that I hear about often from the people I represent.
Access to quality food must be a priority for any Provincial government. Food that is locally produced, healthy, and widely available is something we must demand from our Provincial leaders.