Delta agriculture is critical factor in provincial food security

SALUTE TO AGRICULTURE

As we work to navigate the realities of what it means to live and work in the era of COVID-19, families, businesses and industries are constantly looking to pivot and adjust in this ever-changing environment.

One of those concerns has been food security, knowing that the supply chain of the basic staples of everyday life are available for us. In Delta, we are fortunate to have such a rich farming tradition that sees over 50 per cent of all B.C.’s green beans and potatoes grown right here.

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From blueberries, bell peppers and tomatoes to ethically-raised dairy and beef from family farms, Delta is a suburban community setting an example for the province of a whole community ecosystem. Over the past number of months our member businesses have reported a significant increase in consumer interest and participation in home vegetable gardening or intentionally buying more often from farm markets.

To continue to promote the establishment and development of the agriculture technology (agritech) sector, the Delta Chamber of Commerce has been hard at work advocating for support from business organizations across the province. In May, the chamber put forward a policy resolution to the B.C. Chamber of Commerce virtual AGM that included recommendations on how the provincial government can ensure food security and a reliable local supply chain and consumer base for food and beverages in B.C. This resolution was adopted, and as a result is now part of the province-wide network’s advocacy agenda with government.

By promoting agritech, we are encouraging innovation to bridge the gap between our rich farming history and the next generation’s involvement in continuing the growth of the industry. We are encouraged there is bipartisan agreement to recognize the importance of supporting our farmers through innovation, education and policy development that will sustain and enhance our agricultural lands and maintain our efforts to mitigate climate change.

As new generations of farmers grow up in our community, the Delta Chamber of Commerce is excited about education programs, like the Delta Farm Roots Mini School and Project Pickle, which instill the value of locally grown and sustainable food in students. We support enhanced secondary and post-secondary training for youth and adults looking to move into the farming and agritech sectors.

From volunteer opportunities to research and development in technology solutions, Delta is on a path to ensure the next generation will continue the legacy of this vital industry.

Garry Shearer is the executive director of the Delta Chamber of Commerce.

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