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Councillor wants more action on local food production

There could be potential for more local food production in the city of Cranbrook.

There could be potential for more local food production in the city, and one councillor hopes provincial representatives will come to Cranbrook to clear the confusion surrounding the regulations.

Coun. Angus Davis put forward a notice of motion at the Monday, June 23 council meeting regarding agricultural opportunities in the city.

Davis noted that there are many regulations governing the production and sale of locally grown products.

“Some of these are very restrictive,” he said.

He said the reason he brought the notice of motion forward is because he feels  there is a lack of agricultural production and sale in the local area.

“Everything we consume in the city on an agriculture basis is produced someplace else,” Davis said. “It comes from someplace other than Canada, it comes from other places in Canada.”

He said there may be an opportunity to talk to representatives in the province and in Canada to find out what they are allowed to pursue in terms of agriculture in the city.

“We know that products can be produced here, they always have been,” he said. “But we’re living in a multinational orbit which seems to eliminate us from being able to compete.”

Mayor Wayne Stetski said it’s an important issue for Cranbrook and every other community around. He said the corporate trip to South Korea he took part in last year really brought to life the potential there is for urban agriculture.

Stetski said the Agriculture and Technology sector for the City of Wonju does soil testing for residents.

“Anybody who wants their soil tested to see what it would take to get it productive — they do it for free,” he said. “They provide dates of bio-agricultural products to people for free. As a result, if you make it easy for people to do the right things around growing, they will.”

Davis said that during a delegation, the owner of the local Save-On-Foods had said it is possible for the store to sell locally grown products.

Coun. Sharon Cross said she had spoken to a small local chicken farmer, who told her that the regulations and cost to go through to pay for inspection was prohibitive.

“We need to start supporting our local producers and hope the province will consider at some point bringing back farmgate sales,” Cross said.

Coun. Bob Whetham echoed Cross’s statement, saying he had spoken to a local producer who is raising products, but can’t sell directly to restaurants.

“We have willing people, we have the area, but we don’t have the framework that enables them to go forward,” he said.