COLUMN: Healthy farming solution takes times

Saturday Beat

More than anybody, people who grow food know it takes time to cultivate land so that its soil is rich and nutritious, capable of growing crops not only this growing season but for many more to come.

Care must be taken to nurture the land to provide the best possible food, working with patience and optimism to ensure the proper variables – sunlight, rain, warmth – converge to give each fruit, vegetable or herb the right taste and texture.

It doesn’t happen overnight.

Farmers know that, which is why I find it interesting that urban agriculture advocates in Lantzville are pressuring council to slam a bylaw through allowing urban farming districtwide without first understanding why agriculture was taken out of urban areas in the first place.

They seem to want it now and don’t care about the consequences.

It’s, well, unfarmerlike.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people growing their own food. I’m well aware of a potential food crisis should delivery of food from the big corporations somehow fail us, either through natural disaster or other shortages.

I also get that growing food locally brings people together, provides more nutritious food and allows the growers to make a few bucks on the side.

I tried to grow a tomato plant on my back deck last summer. I gave it so much attention the dog began to feel snubbed. In the end it was a withered, dying stump with tomatoes that looked more like rocks.

I have a lot of respect for farmers. But agriculture ceased in densely populated areas for a reason, mostly because ingredients necessary to grow food (like manure) don’t jive with lots of humans.

In short, farming is as messy and smelly as it is rewarding.

Modern neighbourhoods are not messy and smelly, and over the decades bylaws in virtually every modern city around the world have strived to create highly populated areas that are as clean as can be.

Not everybody appreciates wafts of manure floating through their kitchen window (I would like to point out here I live beside two donkeys and several sheep and I love them all). It’s local government’s responsibility to ensure all residents’ needs and concerns are addressed.

There are things allowed in neighbourhoods not conducive to healthy living that one could argue are much worse than whatever farming could dish out. Pesticides are one example. And yes, we all burn fossil fuels and throw out our trash and emit all kinds of crap.

But clean well water is a legitimate concern in Lantzville.

Contaminants like E.coli could seep into the water system – we only need to look as far back as Walkerton in 2000 to know the consequences of that – putting pressure on the local water provider (government) to ensure it is safe.

It’s not as cut and dried as simply growing food. If it was, people would be farming on their little plots all over the world.

And maybe they’re beginning to. With modern concerns like climate change, food shortages and healthy eating growing daily, the return of community is more important than ever. I buy that.

But government doesn’t, and never will, move at the pace of instant gratification, just like human morals and ethics can’t keep pace with technology.

There’s a gap, but that gap is closing in Lantzville.

Council has provided a mechanism for residents to use land for other than what it was zoned for through temporary use permits, and a draft bylaw is underway to begin a “made in Lantzville” approach to urban farming.

It takes time.

So, like a farmer contemplating the growing season, he carefully examines information that has been collected over centuries to ensure he makes the right decisions because there are people relying on him.

Lantzville council’s position is no different.

Just Posted

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Nanaimo RCMP had been asking for help locating a 43-year-old man whose family was ‘extremely worried.’ (Submitted photo)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP report man who had made ‘troubling’ comments has been found

43-year-old is receiving treatment he requires, say police

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

An event on the lawn of the B.C. legislature in Victoria on Tuesday to remember the 215 children whose remains were confirmed buried in unmarked graves outside a Kamloops residential school. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Canada’s racist systems cannot ever be forgiven

Teen letter writer from Nunavut calls for truth and reconciliation

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

City of Nanaimo council has approved amendments for an animal control bylaw requested by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. The bylaw includes language related to quail. (Wikipedia Commons photo)
Province asks for tweaks to Nanaimo’s animal responsibility bylaw

Ministry concerned bylaw wording could create municipal and provincial jurisdictional overlaps

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo hospital district seeks help from other districts for $1-billion project

Funding for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital patient tower discussed by committee

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Most Read