Letters to the Editor

Urban agriculture needs wide support

To the Editor,

Re: Urban agriculture a complex matter, Letters, June 28.

Have you heard the words ‘food security’ lately? What do they mean to you? It is a big topic in the world, even if you don’t see it on the evening news.

But I’m sure you have seen it on TV – the advertisements, the children with sunken-eyes and distended bellies, dark skin peppered with flies. A woman or a man, usually some form of celebrity, is asking for your financial assistance. Perhaps you will ‘adopt’ one and stick their picture on your fridge.

Hunger is real. More than one billion people go hungry every day. Not everyone lives in the abundance that most of us take for granted.

Why are we so fortunate? And is our fortune secure?

Do we really possess food security? Is our supply chain so reliable that a pandemic flu can’t result in its failure? How would we cope if the ferry terminals were destroyed in an earthquake or tsunami?

Industrial monoculture crops are also more susceptible to the flooding, drought and disease that will come with climate change.

Vancouver Island grows less than five per cent of the food consumed here. To me, that equals five per cent food security.

I don’t want to be alarmist, but five per cent doesn’t sound very good.

Lantzville council has taken the position that it is bad for the city to have people grow and sell food from residential land.

I would think food security should be one of the highest priorities. Apparently, food security comes from somewhere else.

Is it also not better for the environment to truck less from across the country? Small bio-intensive garden plots also create better habitat than lawns or vast tracks of industrial monoculture.

What about economic security?

When I buy local, every dollar spent stays in the economy for at least one more transaction, increasing local wealth.

Food security, global warming, sustainability, economy, environment, health – all are in worldwide crisis. All are impacted by our food supply system.

Part of the solution will be urban agriculture.

We should embrace it, not prosecute it.

Chris Semrick

Nanaimo

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