Saanich takes action on agriculture and food security
September 19, 2018
For immediate release
Saanich, BC – The District of Saanich will provide a coordinated approach to support agriculture and improve food security over the next 10 to 15 years through its Agriculture and Food Security Plan, which was adopted by Council September 17.
“The Agriculture and Food Security Plan is the culmination of a two year process involving significant input from experts and the community,” said Councillor Dean Murdock. “I’m proud that Saanich is moving forward with the vision of becoming a leader in advancing food security and enhancing agriculture in our region through an action-focused plan.”
The draft plan is organized around seven themes that convey challenges facing agriculture and food security in Saanich:
- Provide a foundation to take action on agriculture and food security.
- Connect gaps in the local food systems to improve food self-sufficiency.
- Strengthen awareness of the local food system.
- Improve the interconnection between food production and the environment.
- Manage land use to protect and support farmland.
- Support multi-generational farmers and emerging farmers.
- Expand opportunities for urban agriculture.
Each theme contains several objectives that will generate actions where Saanich can take a lead or supporting role. The implementation strategy of the plan sets up phased priorities for action. As part of their approval of the Plan, Council has allocated funding to support implementation. The highest priority community issues will be the focus of action in the first two years and include:
- Develop a policy for farmworker housing;
- Support the CRD in efforts to establish a regional food and farmland trust;
- Update the Saanich Climate Adaption Plan and Climate Action Plan to expand actions that enhance the resiliency of the local food system;
- Explore opportunities to enhance business licence bylaw requirements to support the protection of agriculture lands;
- Investigate the issue of non-farm use on agriculture lands and develop options to address the protection of farmland; and
- Update the approved plant list for boulevard planting to allow edible landscaping and pollinator habitat on boulevards.
Saanich staff gathered input from a variety of sources to develop the plan, including a project task force, farmers, residents and stakeholder groups. Saanich held public and virtual open houses, pop-up events, workshops and three surveys for residents and stakeholders to provide input on the plan.
- Almost 20 per cent of Saanich land is protected as Agriculture Land Reserve (ALR), but not all farms in Saanich are located within the ALR.
- 21 per cent of Saanich land is farmed and 68 percent of farms are under 10 acres in size
- 380 farm operators are located in Saanich with farm sales comprised of:
- 60 per cent directly to consumers
- 52 per cent farm gate sales, stands or u-pick
- 8 per cent farmers’ markets
- 6 community gardens are currently located in the District of Saanich
- 6 per cent of households in Greater Victoria are considered “food insecure”
Read the Agriculture and Food Security Plan at saanich.ca/food.
Manager of Community Planning