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LOCAL, B.C., and CANADA
April 02, 2015
Looking to buy fresh produce straight from the farm?
Shared Harvest Okanagan website
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
8.2% of B.C. households experienced food
insecurity in 2011/12
Almost 145,000 B.C. households, or 8.2% of the total,
experienced food insecurity in 2011/12. A household that
is not food secure is one that does not have access to a
sufficient variety or quantity of food due to lack of
money. This was just below the national rate of 8.3%.
Of B.C. households, 5.3% reported moderate food
insecurity and 2.9% reported it as severe. Among types
of household, lone-parent families with children (under
the age of 18) reported the highest rate of household
food insecurity (24.5%), while couples without children
had the lowest rate (3.3%). In 2011/12, four percent of
children and eight percent of adults in British Columbia
lived in food insecure households.
Across Canada, 1.1 million households experienced food
insecurity in 2011/12. Nunavut had by far the highest
rate (36.7%), while Newfoundland and Labrador had the
While low income contributes to food insecurity,
Statistics Canada has noted that households where
government benefits (such as employment insurance,
benefits from the Canada Pension Plan, and provincial or
municipal social assistance) are the main source of
income had higher rates of food insecurity (21.4%) than
those households where income is primarily from an
alternate source (6.1%).
Source: Infoline is BC Stats’ highly successful free
weekly information bulletin. Published since 1995, it
has become an essential tool for executives, managers,
analysts, libraries, businesses and media. It is our
most widely distributed and timely review of statistical
releases and events that shape or describe the economic
and social fabric of British Columbia.
The government is now changing legislation so that imported food from China and
other places and processed in Canada is not labeled "made in Canada" as it has
been in the past.
Doesn't it bother you when you can't read the date code on food product packaging
Would it bother you if we could not feed ourselves solely on our own land in our
own country of Canada?
Would you like to see food that Canada is now growing and can grow naturally, is
not imported in the slightest bit, unless there is a shortage?
Does it bother you that government is now into controlling junk food?
Health Canada Exposed
Bill C-51 publication from Parliament's website
Stop Bill C-51
Canada be Trusted With the Police State Powers Sought For In Bill
Tony Clement fully supports enforcement actions causing the deaths
Have you noticed the Saskatoon Berry trees this year 2010 yet?
These spiked Saskatoon berries have a fungus disease called Saskatoon-Juniper
It is a fungus that can spread 1/2 mile. Disease problems are more
prevalent in years of greater than normal precipitation. Disease control
involves pruning, sanitation, and use of fungicide. Pruning tools must be
disinfected after every cut. All pruned material should be burned. Burn any
berries that fall on the ground and clean up any leaves and other debris under
More information about Saskatoon-Juniper Rust.
from the Okanagan 2010.
The Saskatoon Berry is a member of the apple family.
The most common species of saskatoon-juniper rust infects leaves and berries,
and can cause extensive damage. Infected fruit are unmarketable. Characteristic
symptoms include firm, yellow, spiky outgrowths. Another species of saskatoon-juniper
rust infects twigs and branches, causing swelling and distortion. The saskatoon-juniper
rust requires native junipers as alternative host plants.
click for larger photo
Councillors say fruit farmers deserve help
Kelowna Capital News - By Kathy Michaels -
February 24, 2011
Kelowna city councillors spoke out on behalf of agriculture this
week, as they signed off on a resolution that could eventually allow
them to lobby the province for more funding for farmers.
“If you look across the country, the government hasn’t supported
agriculture as part of our economy. Before the Olympics, the
province doubled the budget for tourism, but agriculture has been
stymied for years,” said Coun. Robert Hobson following the reading
of a resolution being sent to the Southern Interior Local Government
If it’s approved at the association-level, it will be forwarded to
the Union of B.C. Municipalities annual conference, where
local-level politicians lobby to impact provincial legislation, and
in this case ask the province to “increase financial support of
agriculture consistent with the national average.”
It’s the type of support, explained Hobson, that should eventually
“It’s an investment in a renewable resource like forestry,” he said.
“(The Ministry of Energy) got a boost a couple years ago, and now
it’s got lots of money, maybe funds can come from them.”
Couns. Charlie Hodge and Graeme James also threw their support
behind the industry also, referring to it as the back-bone of the
“Funding is ridiculously low,” said Hodge. “This is the future, it’s
where food comes from and it’s what made this province what it is.”
In recent years, provincial agriculture budgets have dwindled by
$2.5 million in expenditures, which is a fact that doesn’t indicate
But Joe Sardinha, president of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association,
said council’s support is much appreciated, as his peers are facing
“It’s a disaster out there —this is the third year of poor returns,”
he said, explaining that’s left more farmers making the decision to
shut down portions of their orchard to reduce costs.
As is, the expectation is that orchardists will bring in 12.5 cents
a pound, for apples—a half-cent rise from last year’s returns —and
further financial failures will only make things worse.
“The other thing that’s going to have an impact on production and
fruit is growers ability to support financing and credit for the
coming year's crop,” he said.
“Growers by and large did a good job of finding credit in years
past, but when you have two years in a row of similar concerns, it
may be a different situation altogether.”
Cuts to supplies, like fertilizers, or services, such as pruning
crews, are the first to go, but the worst is the fact Sardinha
believes many will cut their safeguards.
“I don’t know if they’ll have the money to go out an get hail
insurance,” he said. “It’s that tight out there.”
Looking at ways to regulate the market may be the best bet to
ensuring agriculture has a future, he explained, noting that despite
its weakened standing, agriculture is one of the financial backbones
of the Okanagan.
“We generate $200 million of economic activity in a year, and you
can’t replace that overnight,” he said.
Coun. Andre Blanleil pointed out that while he’s not against the
idea of further industry support, it’s important to remember that
funding isn’t limitless.
“Where is this money coming from?” he said. “Do we ask them to cut
other things, or raise taxes?…I realize these are great motherhood
issues, but at the end of the day, who is going to pay the bill?”
Sharing your harvest online
by Castanet Staff - Story: 58033 - Nov 6, 2010
An online classifieds system is providing a central hub for those
interested and involved in food and agriculture in the Okanagan.
FarmFolkCityFolk is expanding their number of Shared Harvest sites
to include the Okanagan, providing free online classifieds for
locally produced food and agricultural products.
The first Shared Harvest site was launched for for Metro Vancouver
in September of this year and shows an array of ads including wanted
ads for bees and garden space, available ads for locally grown kiwi
fruit, and a food event calendar.
FarmFolkCityFolk is working towards a network of Shared Harvest
sites across BC to support the trade of food and agricultural
products within and between regions.
The addition of the Okanagan and Victoria brings the Shared Harvest
network to a total of three sites with the location for a fourth to
be determined by a BC-wide competition.
Shared Harvest, Okanagan will allow farmers, processors, grocers,
restaurants, distributors and the general public to post and browse
ads for free.
The ads provide an up-to-date, season by season snap-shot of which
local foods and agricultural products are available and in demand.
For businesses the site provides increased access to selling and
buying opportunities for the public it means more local food for
Shared Harvest Okanagan will also support food rescue efforts by
providing a venue to direct leftover, quality food away from
Grocers, hotels, restaurants and even backyard gardeners with “too
much of a good thing” can post food donations and those registered
charities and societies involved in feeding those most in need, can
post want ads.
Shared Harvest Okanagan website
Recognize fruit and vegetable label numbers.
If it is a 4-digit number, the food is conventionally produced.
If it is a 5-digit number beginning with an 8, it is GM. However, do
not trust that GE foods will have a PLU identifying it as such,
because PLU labeling is optional.
If it is a 5-digit number beginning with a 9, it is organic.
The future of food is genetically altered
Castanet.net - by Rachael Kimola - Story: 56168 -
Aug 8, 2010
You could be eating gene-altered food every day and not know it.
A Kelowna nutritionist has formed a group to help educate the public
about a matter that affects every Canadian, that is the amount of
genetically altered food we consume every day.
Heidi Osterman is the president and founder of the
Foundation (TFF), and her aim is to let people know what
they are eating.
“There are five major food crops currently in commercial production
that have been genetically manipulated: canola, corn, soy, sugar
beet and cottonseed. All are used to make vegetable oil, soy and
corn by-products and are used in most processed foods and grown for
animal feed. Without our knowledge--we are consuming products
containing GMOs. We should demand that GMO content in food be
identified so that we can decide whether to eat GMO-containing foods
or not. Such products should not be forced upon us without our
knowledge,” says Osterman.
She says some 70% of boxed foods at
supermarkets have GMOs.
“There is no labelling required for it, so people can't easily make
an informed decision not to eat them. Part of the focus of TFF is to
gather signatures in support of Bill C-4747, which will be voted on
by Parliament in September. It will require a moratorium on GMOs
until more study and independent research can be done.”
Osterman says the only testing currently being done on GMOs is by
the companies which create them.
“That's a little like allowing Charles Manson to perform his own
psychiatric exam. The government just takes their word that the food
is safe and there are no long term effects. We need independent
studies, studies on how eating GMOs can affect humans over the long
run. Right now, there are a few animal studies, done in other
countries, which shows the health effects on third generation
rodents (three generations eating only GMOs). The rodents have been
shown to have developed fertility issues, cancerous lesions, in some
cases, even hair in their mouths. Can we really expect results to be
different for humans?”
She says even a small tipping point can help put pressure on the
companies and government to change their approach to GMOs.
“Even a change of 10% at the supermarket level can have a huge
impact. If people refuse to buy GMOs, policy will be changed.”
Osterman says the first step is for people to inform themselves
about the issue.
“There is info on our website, as well as a free movie called 'The
Future of Food,' which is fantastic. We also set up an info booth at
farmer's markets across the Okanagan. Once people have the info, we
encourage them to sign our petition and write a letter to their MP.”
She says they are working on making the petition sign-able through
the TFF website, but for now, it can also be signed at Nature's Fare
markets in Kamloops and Kelowna.
B.C. unable to monitor fish health
By JES ABEITA, Vancouver Sun August 5, 2010
With Ottawa preparing to take over the job, fish farms stop
cooperating with province
The B.C. Ministry of Agriculture is no longer able to audit
information on fish health and sea lice provided by B.C. salmon
farms.Photograph by: Bill Keay, Vancouver SunThe B.C. Ministry of
Agriculture is no longer able to audit information on fish health
and sea lice provided by B.C. salmon farms.
In April, the farms stopped providing the ministry with samples of
fish tissue and carcasses, which the ministry normally uses to
double-check information provided by the farms.
Industry representatives said they took the action in preparation
for the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ takeover of fish
farm regulation from the province in December.
They said they’re still collecting the samples, but believe the
information should be audited by an independent, private company
during the transition to ensure it is done consistently.
However, nobody is doing such audits at the moment: The fish
farmers’ association is still reviewing proposals from companies
that want the job.
Patrick Vert, a spokesman for the agriculture ministry, said until
the federal government takes over, “there is surveillance taking
place but there is no data from carcasses or live fish,” to track
disease or lice.
Colleen Dane of the BC Salmon Farmers Association said farms have
not changed their testing procedures, even though samples no longer
go to the ministry.
“Fish health technicians collect samples from dead fish collected on
the site,” about once a week and test to find the cause of death,
she said. The monitoring also includes checking live fish, selected
at random, for sea lice. The information is put into a database and
shared with the ministry.
Farmer’s association executive director Mary Ellen Walling said that
since the ministry was “winding down” its aquaculture department in
preparation for the transition to federal oversight, the industry
decided third-party auditing was the best way to safeguard the
integrity of the information the farms are collecting.
David Lane, executive director of the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental
Foundation, called the lack of audits on the salmon farms’ data a
“ridiculous notion.” He added: “This is a long-standing program that
the provincial government has done to audit the numbers that are
collected by the salmon farming companies —for them to just drop
that and stop complying means there is no government oversight.”
Walling said the farms are still in compliance with management plans
and ministry staff still visit the farms to check for compliance.
But Lane said compliance with the management plans is irrelevant
without samples being submitted to provincial authorities for
“I hope the DFO is looking very closely at this and realizing
voluntary measures don’t work,” Lane said.
“This is just as if restaurant owners were doing their own food
inspections and sending it off to the restaurant owners’ association
with no government inspectors coming in to take a look at things.”
Trevor Swerdfager, director general of aquaculture management for
the DFO, said the federal regulations will leave “no room for
The proposed federal regulation would give the minister the
authority “to require, not suggest or encourage or cajole, but to
simply require as a condition of licence that sort of information be
provided to us,” Swerdfager said.
The proposed regulations can be veiwed online at
jabeita "at" vancouversun.com
Day’s words one thing, gov’t policy another
Kelowna Capital News - July 27, 2010
To the editor:
I recently read (MP Okanagan-Coquihalla) Stockwell Day discussing
freedom of choice, that buying local should be done by choice, not
forced by law).
He states: “Anytime we bring in laws that limit our choices as
consumers, it leads to decreased quality and increased prices.”
Very true. Does he remember bill C51? This bill was designed to take
away the consumers’ choice by combining pharmaceutical drugs and
natural health products into one category called “therapeutic
All of these drugs would then become regulated.
It targets freedom to manufacture, freedom of resource, and the
personal health care choices. Why?
In a nutshell, larger profits and control by large pharmaceutical
This bill would also prepare Canada for the ongoing UN codex efforts
to regulate food and drugs worldwide according to the corporate
model endorsed by the World Trade Organization—just one reason why
Mr. Day’s government also defeated bill C517 to make labeling of
genetically modified foods mandatory. So as Canadians, we do not
have the choice to decide if we want to eat these foods which have
been documented in mainstream medical journals as having “
disastrous side effects.”
Then there is bill C52 which he endorses. This bill would remove
fundamental safeguards on property and privacy rights.
Mr. Day’s words speak of freedom of choice but his governments
actions are completely different.
Governments chip in fruit funding
Vernon Morning Star - July 03, 2010
Federal and provincial governments plan to invest $5 million to
support the tree fruit industry.
morning star file photo
Federal and provincial governments have
teamed up to invest $5 million in support of the tree fruit
This funding aims to deliver results for farmers by helping to
develop new marketing opportunities, infrastructure, and further
improve orchard pest management.
“Canada’s Economic Action Plan is putting farmers first, by helping
to increase production and sales, and creating more opportunities
for farmers to get their product to market,” said Stockwell Day,
President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific
Gateway, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.
“This investment will allow the tree fruit industry to find new
technologies that will help them stay ahead of the curve in the
The province announced $2 million in funding, and the federal
government will provide an investment of $3 million more.
This combined funding will be used for new environmentally friendly
packing and storage infrastructure, marketing opportunities that
raise the profile of fresh and processed apples, and to build on
work accomplished by the sterile insect release program in the
Okanagan and Kootenay regions.
“This is a significant investment that will give tree fruit growers
in this province the innovative edge they need to strongly promote
B.C. grown fruit and compete with producers in other regions,” said
Minister of Agriculture and Lands Steve Thomson.
“In our discussions, the industry identified some areas, such as
marketing and infrastructure, where they wanted to focus efforts and
make further improvements.”
Canada’s Economic Action Plan continues to help farmers with its
focus on strengthening the economy and creating jobs.
“Everyone benefits from a healthy and prosperous fruit industry,”
said B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association president Joe Sardinha.
“There are approximately 800 orchard operators in B.C., and together
they generate $900 million in economic activity that creates jobs
and delivers high quality products to markets in B.C. and around the
The federal funding investment is made through the AgriFlexibility
Fund, a five-year, $500-million fund created to help reduce costs of
production and improve environmental sustainability for the sector;
promote value-chain innovation and sectoral adaptation; and respond
to emerging opportunities and market challenges for the sector.
The governments of Canada and B.C. also offer a suite of jointly
funded Business Risk Management programs under Growing Forward.
AgriInvest, AgriStability and AgriInsurance (crop insurance) work
together to provide farmers with support against farm income and
production losses beyond their control.
For more information on this program go to
|'Made in Canada'
rules under review
CBC News - May 22, 2010
consumer groups are urging the government not to alter its new
"product of Canada" and "made in Canada" food labelling rules as
Ottawa considers exempting some ingredients.
Two years ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced new rules for
labelling. Products had to contain 98 per cent Canadian ingredients
to be considered a "product of Canada."
But food processors across Canada have complained that it's almost
impossible to comply.
For example, Chapman's Ice Cream, located in Markdale, Ont., has
Canadian employees, uses packaging made in Canada and milk from
But company president Penny Chapman still can't put a "product of
Canada" label on her wares because she uses some imported
"You cannot in Canada buy [domestic] cocoa beans to make chocolate,
we got refined sugar, we don't have [Canadian-grown] pineapple," she
said. "It's just plain old stupid."
Dave Shambrock of the Canadian Council of Food Processor said
Chapman is not alone in her frustrations with the regulations.
"More and more companies have simply taken the "product of Canada"
designation off their label," he said.
In response to those concerns, the federal government is reviewing
the regulations and floating the idea of exempting sugar, salt and
vinegar from the rules.
Bruce Cran is with the Consumers Association of Canada, which
originally lobbied for the 98 per cent standard, and said the
government is caving in to food processors.
"It was quite obvious that [food processors] had a preference for
cane sugar bought from Third World countries over anything that
might be produced in Canada. We do produce sweeteners in Canada but
they're expensive and that's why we want a made-in-Canada label."
Chapman said using homegrown sugar along with Canadian milk would
price her ice cream out of the market.
The government's review should be completed by the end of June.
Meat rule changes slammed
Vernon Morning Star - By Richard Rolke - April 27,
Local politicians believe new meat processing rules ignore the North
The provincial government has introduced two new categories of
licences to B.C.’s meat inspection regulations.
“It’s a positive move for up north but it doesn’t easily accommodate
our needs,” said Buffy Baumbrough, a Vernon city councillor who has
been fighting the regulations since they were created.
One of the new licences (Class D) will permit
geographically-restricted sales in nine designated areas while the
other licence (Class E) allows for the on-farm slaughter of a small
number of animals annually for direct sales to local consumers in
rural communities that cannot support a fully licensed facility.
The North Okanagan is not one of the nine designated areas for Class
D licences, and North Okanagan Regional District director Rick
Fairbairn believes Class E will be too restrictive.
“I don’t see it helping our problem,” he said.
“It won’t give a break to small-scale producers for farm-gate sales.
There’s a general discontent from the farming community on what’s
Baumbrough says Class E training isn’t available yet, and believes
the process to get such a licence could be too bureaucratic for
“It’s not even clear if they can get a Class E licence here,” he
said, adding that the North Okanagan should be one of the Class D
distinct areas in B.C.
“I want the application of the regulations provincewide.”
Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, supports the new licence
“Local farmers and ranchers asked me to encourage government to take
a second look at how the regulations were impacting them,” he said
in a release.
“With their help, we were able to find a good solution that balances
health protection with freedom to operate their businesses
City Hall abuzz about bees
Kelowna Capital News - By Jennifer Smith - March
There will be no bumbling around when it comes time to pollinating
Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd has decided honey bees will soon hold
a special place of esteem in Kelowna’s heart.
This year, when the Mayor’s Environmental Expo is held, it will also
be used to celebrate the city’s new Day of the Honeybee, as
proclaimed by the mayor.
International Day of the Honeybee began in 2009 and is celebrated
May 29, the day after the expo.
Coun. Michele Rule said the buzz about our bees came to the
attention of the Central Okanagan Healthy Food Council after she
heard about the movement on Facebook.
“Honey bees are our hardest working bees,” she said, noting they’re
critical for food production and to maintain the flowers that
support biodiversity in our ecosystem.
Honey bees are our domestic bees and they are dying at “alarming”
rates in every country where they are,” according to Shane Ekdahl,
who started the Facebook site in their honour.
There is no clear answer as to why bee populations are dying off,
although disease and climate change are listed among the suspect
jsmith "at" kelownacapnews.com
Poverty analysis calls for more responsive actions
Dr. Paul Hasselback speaks about the costs of poverty as Lenetta
Thordarson, Bob Kay and Shelley Cook look on at a press conference
marking the release of the Central Okanagan Poverty Report Card.
Jennifer Smith/Capital News
Kelowna Capital News - By Jennifer Smith -
Published: April 30, 2009
Some 1,765 Central Okanagan residents are quite literally living in
the poor house.
They’re being forced into substandard living conditions because
proper housing is too costly and there is not enough available to
those living on modest to low incomes, according to a new poverty
Thursday morning, the Poverty and Homelessness Action Team released
its Central Okanagan Poverty Report Card, revealing the area has
serious challenges in every area—health care, to child care, income
levels, housing, nutrition—when it comes to reducing poverty levels.
Research done to compile the report reveals the average rent for a
three-bedroom apartment requires a gross annual income of $42,500 in
this valley; a two bedroom, $38,500; and a one bedroom $32,000 to
keep housing costs below 30 per cent of one’s income—the target set
by the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation as affordable for
“The working poor have been the foundation that has made the economy
thrive and benefit others, yet they are going homeless as they grow
old or without their own place to live in as young adults,” one
respondent told researchers working on the affordability survey
PHATCO used to produce the report card.
Getting government and policy makers to listen to this message has
not been easy.
Poverty is not on the agenda of the Interior Health Authority,
according to medical health officer Dr. Paul Hasselback, who told
those gathered for the release of the report that poverty could be
targeted as easily as any other major health concern.
“We seem to worry about our long-term care beds, and that’s a good
thing. We seem to be worried about how long we wait in emergency
room departments. We seem to be worried about how long we wait for
elective surgeries, surgeries that are necessary, but not urgent.
If we were
able to take poverty and put it right up there (with these other
concerns), you would see so much savings to the health care system.”
And it is certainly the poor who suffer when times get tough.
Whether you are talking swine flu, or a tuberculosis outbreak among
street-oriented people in the Central Okanagan, vulnerable
populations tend to bear the brunt of crisis, even in natural
disasters, said Hasselback.
“We need to revisit how important it is to ensure that all members
of our society have the same opportunity for health and wellbeing
and opportunity for socially being successful,” he said.
This could mean raising the minimum wage, building universal child
care systems or attacking the nutritional needs of a community,
according to recommendations in the report card. No matter what
issue the community tackles first, it’s likely to save society
plenty of money in the long run.
On average, it costs $35,000 to provide someone living on the street
with social housing, versus $55,000 in annual costs to provide for
the need that person creates on the street through policing and
paying 48 per cent more to do nothing,” said Shelley
Cook, executive director of the John Howard Society and a PHATCO
One small step communities can take is to include a community food
charter in their bylaws, according to Lenetta Thordarson, with the
Kelowna Community Food Bank.
The City of Kelowna is writing the food charter and its suggestions
right into its Official Community Plan, which is currently under
“It will create more independence for people. If we had a food
charter that makes healthy nutritious food accessible to people then
we would have fewer people relying on the food bank,” Thordarson
“People could do more rooftop gardening, we could reduce the impacts
of the health care system and make the healthy food the smart choice
and the easier choice for people.”
The Food Bank’s Plant a Row, Grow a Row program, for example,
brought in 20,000 pounds of food last year from gardens where
residents just added one row to their own produce section to help
the food bank out.
In March 2009, the food bank served 2,565 people or $212,570 worth
of groceries, so those extra pounds of food are needed.
A copy of the report is available on the PHATCO website at
Food supply system is under stress
By Judie Steeves - Kelowna Capital News -
Published: February 24, 2009
Our food system is in danger of imminent collapse because it’s not
sustainable, according to Herb Barbolet from the Centre for
Sustainable Community Development at Simon Fraser University.
He was speaking to delegates at the three-day Building Sustainable
Communities conference in Kelowna Tuesday, and warned at the outset
his talk would be depressing.
The local food system is not supported by either government or
corporations, and there are no linkages to make it a vital, vibrant
entity, he said.
The industrial food system relies on the success of sales of
highly-processed foods such as those found in the centre aisles of
the supermarket, he noted. It’s the only way the big corporations
can make money.
Traditionally, all our food systems have been entirely organic. “We
didn’t need Monsanto or biotechnology,” he said.
He called it “arrogant” for multi-national corporations to think
they’re going to feed everyone with an unproven technology like
genetic modification of seeds.
Now, he said, we have to change how we think and behave about food,
in order to bring our food systems back from the brink.
“We’ll pay only 10 per cent of our disposable income on food, but
we’re still prepared to spend more on oil, or on health care,” he
The solution is to take back power; to fight the corporations, he
advocated. People have to be educated about their own power; about
the real economics; about money that stays in the community.
He suggested bartering; using the underground economy instead of
supporting the multi-nationals.
When enough people revolt, government will pay attention. “We need
to take power to the people.”
Barbolet questioned why we have to certify and label organic food
when the huge corporations can sell “poison” in the guise of food.
“By building community, we don’t have to go in that direction,” he
Barbolet is one of the founders of Farm Folk, City Folk, an
organization that links farmers with city dwellers in the Vancouver
He recalled his involvement in a cooperative in Vancouver in the
1970s where he brought fresh produce from his farm in the Fraser
Valley, and said residents bypassed the boxes of fresh for the
packaged-in-plastic produce from the store around the corner.
“There was a disconnect between people in the city and the source of
their food,” he said.
Nadine de la Salle, a food system planner with HB Lanarc Consultants
advocated what she called agricultural urbanism, re-thinking our
relationship with land, food and community.
Instead of a hard edge between farming and new development, she
recommended an integrated edge, with recreational or wildlife
corridors between the two.
Within new developments adjacent to farmland, there should be market
squares where the neighbourhood farmers can sell their produce and
meet their neighbours.
The conference continues today and Thursday at the Grand Hotel.
jsteeves [at] kelownacapnews.com
Pesticides are safe if used properly says scientist
By Jennifer Smith - Kelowna Capital News -
Published: January 31, 2009
Anything can kill you, it’s the dose that counts, according to Keith
Solomon, a toxicologist with the University of Guelph who spoke at
the Environmental Plant Management Associations’ conference Friday
about using pesticides.
On Thursday, during the conference, another speaker, a pesticide
advocate, challenged the industry to sue those who disagree with
using the products.
By Friday afternoon, the troops were rallying behind the cause with
conference conveners encouraging industry professionals not to have
a knee-jerk reaction to reports in media that speak out in favour of
Kelowna’s cosmetic pesticide ban—particularly if they quote the UBCO
English professor (or his wife) who are leading the rally against
For his part, Solomon encouraged his audience to use the products
judiciously, as simply any other tool in its arsenal, and tried to
provide some facts for the fight.
“It’s very difficult for the public, for politicians, to
differentiate between the potential for harm and risk,” he said.
Pound enough sugar, salt or egg white into a body and eventually you
will kill a person, he said. It’s the same principle with the
Provided people follow the safety guidelines and use the products
sparingly, they offer far more benefits than potential for harm, he
In Kenya, 70 per cent of the population is involved in food
production, whereas only two per cent of North Americans are, said
Solomon, noting that those who criticize these products tend to be
the ones who benefited the most from their existence.
“In Africa, they’re trying to get more pesticides,” he said.
As someone who tests the products prior to them reaching the market
he said it’s generally the user, not the product, that causes
In North America, pesticides are directly responsible for only
hundreds of poisonings versus thousands in the developing world
where those spraying the products tend not to have the same
protective gear and safety standards available to them.
As for Canadian pesticide bans, like the one instituted in Ontario,
Solomon encouraged his audience to question the fine print, as it
were, pointing to some obvious flaws in the logic.
In that case, some very toxic insecticides, like pyrethrins, are
fully permitted if they are used for health or safety reasons—like
killing a wasps’ nest.
Solomon suggested the testing is thorough and so-called cancer
epidemics, linked to the products are unrealistic when one considers
that the statistics, don’t reflect an increase in cancers in Canada
at all—at least if age and the population increase are factored into
Pesticides offer a $3 to $4 return on the dollar investment for
growers—not much if they are not used sparingly, he said.
“Sometimes you just need that exact socket wrench for that exact
size nut and there’s no other tool in the tool box that will do,” he
jsmith [at] kelownacapnews.com
Sue anti-pesticide policitians: consultant
By Judie Steeves - Kelowna Capital News -
Published: January 29, 2009
The pesticide application
industry should sue municipalities, councillors and environmental
activists who advocate for, and pass, bylaws restricting the use of
pesticides—particularly when such actions are based on fraudulent
information, says an Ontario pesticide proponent.
“Sue council members who say the products you use are detrimental to
the environment or public health,” Jeffery Lowes told members of the
Integrated and Environmental Plant Management Association meeting in
Kelowna council’s new pesticide regulation bylaw is now in effect,
but it isn’t a full ban on the use of pesticides, only on the use of
them for cosmetic purposes—except by trained applicators, noted John
Vos, general manager for citizen’s services.
Lowes, a consulting investigator who is leading the fight against
pesticide bans in Ontario, told delegates there isn’t anything
concrete to support activists’ claims that pesticides cause harm to
the environment or public health.
“2,4-D is probably the safest product you have access to,” he told
the landscapers and pesticide applicators.
Most of the bylaws won’t stand up in court, he said. The turfgrass
industry is planning to sue in Ontario, he added.
He also claimed there are no economic benefits to a ban on pesticide
use, but Vos feels Kelowna’s bylaw likely would be of benefit to
trained applicators, because it prevents the untrained from applying
He said he doesn’t think Kelowna’s bylaw is in jeopardy.
Kelowna Coun. Robert Hobson agreed, noting council has the power to
regulate pesticides. The new bylaw was the result of interest from
the public, and it will be enforced by complaints from the public.
The regional district had already made the decision not to use
pesticides in its public parks, and council received letters from
doctors and from Interior Health supporting the new restrictions.
Even the industry is trying to reduce the amount of pesticides that
are applied, by using such alternatives as Integrated Pest
Management or IPM principles, he noted.
As a farmer, he said pesticides are one of the most expensive costs
of growing, so orchardists are not hesitant to use such alternatives
as the Sterile Insect Release program to reduce their use.
He said he voted in favour of it because of a desire to have less
pesticide use in the community, and also because of a “concern about
the way people apply them,” he said.
jsteeves [at] kelownacapnews.com
Armstrong grows food initiatives
Vernon Morning Star - Community - Published:
January 27, 2009
A new Armstrong group is calling on anyone who has an interest in
The Armstrong Community Food Initiatives Group (CFIG) is holding its
first meeting today to begin discussions on how to improve access to
locally grown food.
“It’s really to pique the interest of anyone with an interest in the
group,” said Armstrong city councillor Shirley Fowler, who will be
working with the group.
Once members and a direction are sorted, the CFIG’s first order of
business will be creating and carrying out plans for a community
The meeting runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at city hall.
Ottawa takes action
June 04, 2008 - Vernon Morning Star
Canadians have some of the lowest food prices in the world, with 10
per cent of total household expenses going to food and non-alcoholic
Europeans spend over 20 per cent and most developing countries spend
almost all their family income on food.
Many international factors affect food prices, including rising oil
prices and transportation costs, lower stocks of grain and increased
demand from emerging economies such as China and India.
Raw ingredients such as wheat represent a small fraction of retail
food costs but do have some impact on consumer prices.
For example, during the 2007/2008 crop year to date, the cost of
wheat in a standard 20 ounce loaf of bread was 16 cents.
The cost during the last crop year was 10 cents per loaf.
Our government is committed to working with farmers to do what they
do best: grow food.
We are working with Canadian farmers, processors and retailers as
they produce, market and sell quality food for Canada and the world.
Biofuels benefit the environment and Canadian farm families by
providing a market in their own neighbourhoods where they can sell
their crops for fair prices rather than watching shipping costs
erode their profits.
This government’s goal of five per cent renewable content in
gasoline, and two per cent renewable content in diesel is a balanced
and achievable approach. This is based on consultation with the
sector in order to effectively introduce renewable fuels as a strong
and viable option to Canadians.
By meeting Canada’s biofuel goals, we will make a real difference
for our environment and future generations by taking the equivalent
of almost one million cars off the road
Internationally we are standing up for people facing hunger as the
second largest contributor to the United Nations World Food Program.
We are delivering real help for people around the world facing
hunger with another $50 million a year in food aid.
Our government will be reducing taxes by $200 billion over the next
five years to make certain Canadians are able to keep as much of
their hard earned money to meet cost-of-living increases.
Bill C-51 blues
Vernon Morning Star - May 30, 2008 - Letters
If one wishes to mount a bandwagon for a cause, consider this. The
federal government is at this very moment (it has already passed
first reading) trying to push ahead Bill C-51 which will effectively
place a stranglehold on the health food industry. The large
pharmaceuticals are attempting to take control of natural health
products, because, as they exist today, there is no profit for big
business in the sale of said products. And, the health food industry
is gaining a lot of attention and more and more folk are paying heed
to that attention.
We all know that big business drives big government, so beware
folks, that the daily vitamin you take at breakfast may soon become
a prescription drug, if big pharma has its way.
And do you know what else? The drug companies present the largest,
most powerful and wealthiest lobby group, and spend billions every
year, in their attempts to influence the medical profession and
They were successful in some European countries and Australia and
will be here, too, if you don't kick up a fuss and write or e-mail
or phone your MP, Colin Mayes (who is totally in favour of said
bill), and your MLA Tom Christensen.
Most health food stores have petitions which you can sign and get on
board. Please do it and do it now. It is critical.
We sent an e-mail to Colin Mayes. The time for action is now, make
no mistake. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
The proposed statute Bill C-51 is a repressive, punitive piece of
legislation. It must not be allowed to be passed.
It is obvious that the pharmaceuticals, the most wealthy group of
lobbysits to assail any government, are behind this extremely
restrictive proposed policy.
It must not happen. Incumbent elected members must realize that it
is not the drug companies but the electorate that is responsible for
their place on Parliament Hill. Money talks but the constituent
votes. Listen to your constituency. please.
My wife and I reside in Enderby and use a number of natural health
products and practitioners to our benefit. Values are changing.
Change is good. Bill C-51 is not.
Ed and Claudette Murdoch
OCP proposals draw debate
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - May 23,
Specific segments of Vernon’s proposed new official community plan
are undergoing scrutiny.
About 20 people attended an open house Tuesday to consider draft
policy sections that deal with sustainability, heritage, agriculture
and a youth friendly city.
“We are trying to conduct as much consultation as possible and these
(policy) sections were ready to go,” said Kim Flick, manager of
planning and building services.
Much of the focus of the open house revolved around heritage issues.
“There was a lot of talk about the value of heritage properties to
the community and the challenges of property owners to keep them
up,” said Flick.
Currently, city staff is proposing annual grants to the owners of
heritage homes to deal with maintenance.
There is also a proposal to expand commercial uses in heritage
buildings. But Flick admits that while such businesses can make
having a heritage property more viable, such activities can have a
negative impact on neighbours.
“We are trying to find the right path,” she said.
In terms of agriculture, city staff are proposing no net loss of
farm land because of development.
“If you remove one acre of land, 1.5 acres of land must be found
within the Agricultural Land Reserve in the North Okanagan,” said
“We want residents to have access to local food production.”
However, some participants questioned the impact farms have on
residential areas — primarily through the application of pesticides.
“Protecting agricultural land is one thing, but we need to know what
is put on them,” said Krystine McInnes, with the Greater Vernon
Chamber of Commerce.
One of the other policy sections deals with youth, covering a broad
range from 10 to 29 years of age.
“Everyone says Vernon is a great place to raise a family but it can
be a tricky place for youth to be,” said Flick.
Among the youth-related issues the policy looks are at employment,
educational opportunities and housing.
“They need housing options so they don’t have to live with their
parents,” said Flick.
The draft official community plan will be presented to council for
consideration June 9, and then public hearings will be held.
“There will be additional opportunities to provide input,” said
It’s anticipated that the new OCP will be adopted in August.
Bill C-51 targeted
May 21, 2008 - Vernon Morning Star - Letters
As a mother and a Canadian citizen I am appalled by the lack of
attention the media has been giving to Bill C-51.
On the heels of Bill C-517, which was passed and negates our
right to know when foods we buy have been genetically engineered,
Bill C-51 is looming as the next work of legislation to quietly pass
despite its potential to quash many democratic rights and freedoms.
Bill C-51 proposes to make natural health products safer for the
public; however, it really does nothing to make people safer. In his
recent article Colin Mayes said that “they (Natural Health
Products - NHPs) are not regulated as drugs,” but that is not true.
They are specifically excluded from being ‘foods’ therefore they
must be regulated as drugs.
I agree that there should be reasonable scientific evidence to
support claims and that there needs to be proper labeling; however,
Bill C-51 will put great power in the hands of unelected
government officials who then may confiscate natural health products
and herbal remedies without a warrant or a reason.
This kind of action puts many people who rely on NHPs to stay
healthy, fit and even sane at risk.
This bill has been fast-tracked through Parliament without much
public input and now faces its third and final reading in the near
future. If it is passed this bill has the potential to put all
small vitamin and supplement manufacturers out of business, leaving
pharma big wigs and only the largest of vitamin companies to survive.
If it is passed it could make my act of administering tried and true
herbal remedies to my children at home illegal and that is something
I simply cannot accept.
It’s not supply and demand
May 21, 2008 - Vernon Morning Star - Letters
The recent sharp rise in the cost of gas and oil products as well as
wheat, rice, and other food products on the market reveals a
surprising matrix of financial problems. One thing that it is
not – it is not based on the “supply and demand” formula of the free
There are several different perspectives one can look at the problem
- Oil and war – The war in Iraq is more about control of oil
and regional control for military reasons than it is about the
actual supply of oil. Most of American oil comes from
Mexico, Venezuela, Canada and Africa. The actual cost of
oil is determined more by its evaluation with the American
dollar, the world's reserve currency. American demand for
oil has actually decreased 1.9% over this time last year.
and inflation – While many Canadians seem to take pride in a
stronger Canadian dollar, they do not recognize that while it is
at parity with the U.S. dollar, that same U.S. dollar has
declined significantly compared to other currencies.
Simply put it now costs more American dollars to pay for oil
than it did before. This inflationary pressure is caused by a
weakening American economy that is significantly based on debt
with trillions of dollars of debt owned by foreigners.
Oil and ethanol
– This is a double-edged problem. As oil prices rise,
alternate sources become more sought after. As global
warming continues again alternate sources become more sought
after. Unfortunately one of the main alternate sources,
corn, is bought and sold as a commodity rather than a foodstuff
and commodities buyers on the stock markets are pushing the
price very high.
ethanol - At the same time, the highly subsidized American
agricultural sector has increasingly grown more corn for
ethanol, reducing the amount of corn for use for human and
cattle consumption, and reducing the area of cropland for wheat.
Both of these factors increase the price of various food items.
Higher oil prices also have an affect on fertilizers,
transportation, and storage costs for all food products.
– Fully related to all this is global warming. The concern for
alternate energy sources to cut down on global warming also
looks to ethanol production to help. Unfortunately, the
production of corn requires more energy inputs (e.g. fertilizer,
machinery) than it will eventually produce as a fuel. Even if
all American cropland were used for ethanol, there would still
not be enough to fuel the demands for gasoline. And global
warming would continue apace regardless.
Oil as a
commodity – As a result of the dropping American dollar,
investors are looking for good places to put their money. Oil
has always been a good commodity to buy, but while demand is
dropping in the U.S., and resources have not yet gone into
decline (although we are considered to be close to or at peak
oil about now), the price has still increased dramatically due
to commodity speculation.
Food as a
commodity – Our current increase in food prices is also a result
of commodity speculation as investors try to find the best
return on their dollars. There is not, at the moment, a
shortage of food. There is a shortage of equitable
distribution aggravated by the commodity purchasers. This
applies to the basics that everyone needs: corn, wheat, rice as
the three main global staple crops.
The underlying problem then with rising food prices is the
speculative money fleeing from the American dollar, looking for
someplace to reap further profits regardless of the consequences.
Obviously there are other factors involved as mentioned above, but
it is an artificial market creating the higher prices and not the
so-called neutral laws of the market as “supply and demand” are
considered to be by economists.
Haiti which used to supply all its own rice needs, now must import
almost all of it due to U.S. subsidized rice flooding the market
under free trade agreements. The same applies to Mexican
farmers and their encounters with subsidized American corn. Be
prepared then for our own ongoing fast rising prices and reading
about food riots in countries where market reforms have devastated
native agricultural production.
Drawbridge not needed to be sustainable
April 09, 2008 - Kelowna Capital News
To the editor:
This letter is in response to a recent letter by John Zeger
The people of Kelowna will hear this word many times between now and
the civic election in November and it probably means something
slightly different to each person. To me sustainability means
building for the future in a conscientious, planned manner while
preserving the unique features of our city and region and leaving
behind something better; a better Kelowna for my children who were
of being able to supply all of our food needs from our own region
our agriculture cannot and never has supplied all of our needs.
Regional self sufficiency in regards to food production is laudable
but the truth is there are not enough farmers for this to happen.
On an encouraging note, more people are demanding and purchasing
locally grown produce and meats. As past president and current
vice-president of the Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market, I can
safely say that regional agriculture is growing in strength due to
awareness amongst the buying public.
I also attended the UBCO sponsored forum When Urban Meets Rural:
Planning for Sustainability in the Okanagan and prior to that the
Fresh Outlook Foundation’s workshop in Sustainable Community. The
main points from both of these sessions were the need to build green
buildings, to support higher density in downtown areas and to infill
existing urban areas.
I did not hear any one of the presenters say we have to curtail
What I did hear was that growth has to be managed better and we have
to plan and build now for the future. We can build green buildings.
Many developers here in Kelowna are now building green and we must
push city council to issue permits to those developers offering well
designed, green buildings in a higher density downtown area. This
reduces pressure on the our rural, agricultural areas and preserves
them for future use.
As a farmer and a member of the City of Kelowna’s Agricultural
Advisory Committee I know full well that agricultural land must be
preserved. Our committee does due diligence in this regard and these
lands are being well protected.
That said, it does not mean all development must grind to a halt
while we bury our heads in the sand and hope that no more people
move to Kelowna. We must be prepared for our future.
And yes, John, I am running for Kelowna city council in November
Province puts food on back burner
By Judie Steeves - Kelowna Capital News - March 12,
Despite all the hoopla over a new B.C. Agricultural Plan last month,
the provincial budget allotment for agriculture doesn’t show much of
an increase to support the promises.
NDP agriculture critic Corky Evans pointed out that even under the
Social Credit government (prior to 1991) there were 720 full-time
equivalent staff in the agriculture ministry, while there’s only 312
in the budget recently tabled by the Liberal government.
He claims there was one mention of agriculture in the budget speech
and it had to do with making fuel from agricultural products.
“There was no mention of making food from agricultural land,” he
Evans will be in the Okanagan this week for the annual B.C.
AgriTourism Alliance conference in Vernon. He’ll be speaking at the
Prestige Inn Sat., Mar. 15 at 10 a.m. and returns to talk to Kelowna
consumers and farmers April 10 or 11.
Evans referred to a resolution approved by B.C. Fruit Growers’
Association members at their annual meeting earlier this year,
calling on the province to “recognize the importance and potential
of this diverse industry and its contribution to the GDP,
environment and well-being of residents, and immediately increase
funding to the agriculture ministry in line with the average of all
other provincial governments at 16.4 per cent of agricultural GDP
and use these funds to help increase the productivity and efficiency
of our diverse agricultural sectors.”
That resolution pointed out that B.C. has the most diverse
agriculture and restrictive land use legislation of any Canadian
province, yet receives the smallest provincial government
contribution, at 3.3 per cent of agricultural GDP.
Evans said he will be touring the rural areas of B.C. this spring to
ask farmers and consumers whether we are committed to farming and
food production in B.C. or not; and if we are, “What would it take
to make farming pay and to make new farmers want to do the work and
afford to get started?”
BCFGA president Joe Sardinha agrees that there doesn’t appear to be
much of an increase in money for agriculture in the provincial
budget, including for some of the measures promised in the
agriculture plan. Even though there is some federal money coming to
B.C., he said B.C. is not even matching those funds with new
provincial funds as most other provinces are.
“How do we make agriculture more of a priority in government?” he
“There’s nothing wrong with farmers making a living,” he added
before warning, “Without agriculture in Canada the cost of food
would really skyrocket.
“It’s on the backs of producers that we pay so little for our food,”
People spend a far smaller percentage of their income on food today
than they did 50 years ago, he pointed out.
Climate change and fuel costs could lead to an agricultural
revolution as the cost of shipping food products around the world
goes through the roof, he said.
“We need to sustain agriculture here for future generations. We put
our country at risk by not supporting agriculture,” he warned.
GST on groceries? What
is the difference if you eat at home or on the road ... you need to eat to
GST on Sandwiches ... come on!! Not everyone eats out for
enjoyment, but rather some eat out because of necessity. If they want to
G.S.T. everything, they should just do it ... then it will be less confusing and
then maybe the G.S.T. could come down a few more % points.
Never doubt the ability of a small group of concerned
citizens to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.
If you have comments, ideas, solutions, concerns or complaints regarding
any level of your local, B.C., or Canada government, please make a comment by filling out the form below and/or comment directly to the
Regional District of Central Okanagan
Government of B.C.
Government of Canada
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