In a day parenthesized by chilly rain, the sun decided to shine on today’s Food for the Future rally at the BC Legislature. For an hour or so, a swelling crowd of young, old and four-footed fans of food and farming milled about, drinking free coffee, eating free apples and nibbling free granola bars. Up on the stage, speakers called for action against wrong-headed changes to BC’s Agricultural Land Reserve. The “father of the ALR”, Harold Steves, as well as farmer-dynamo Nathalie Chambers, food-broadcaster Jon Steinman and others were there to explain the need for action.
And here’s the plan we were there to protest: BC’s government intends to put the administration of the Agricultural Land Reserve – which protects farmland from real estate and natural resources developers alike – in the hands of the oil and gas industry. The government claims to be committed to protecting our most productive farmland, but as any farming fool knows, “unproductive” farmland isn’t disposable: it is an integral part of sustainable farming. That “unproductive” land nurtures native vegetation, protects waterways and sequesters carbon. It provides habitat for the non-voting, non-human lives in our ecosystem: the greatly endangered pollinators of our crops and wild foods; the dwindling populations of fish, fowl and fur in our colonized landscapes; the irreplaceable minerals, mycorrhizae and bacterial life in our soil.
Anyone with concerns about this is urged to write directly to the one person who can stop this, BC’s oil & gas-industry-loving premier, Christy Clark. You can email her at email@example.com, or even better, send her a letter:
The Honourable Christy Clark
Premier of British Columbia
Box 9041. Station PROV GOVT
Victoria, BC V8W 9E1