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Help local farmers by buying grown in B.C. products

Here we are in the middle of July and we have had maybe one or two days in the twenties? My tomatoes look anemic and my basil is stunted.

Here we are in the middle of July and we have had maybe one or two days in the twenties? My tomatoes look anemic and my basil is stunted.

If tradition holds, a big highpressure system will soon build and bring some heat to my garden and maybe a decent salad to my table.

It has been an interesting 12 months on the weather scene around here.

Bringing food to tables was not an easy task last harvest. A foot of rain in a month made for the worst harvest season for many root crops in over 90 years.

It has been a decent spring thus far, a little wetter than usual, but it looks as though we are off to a good start on the potato and blueberry front here on the delta. Let's just hope that late summer and fall stays a little dryer this year.

This past Tuesday federal Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz, B.C. Agriculture Minister Don McRae and our very own Jack Bates, president of the Canadian Horticulture Association, gathered right here in South Delta to announce a farm aid agreement to help with the costs of last September's disaster.

Affected farmers here and on the island will receive $175 an acre to partially compensate for expenses relating to the off loading of rotten crops and the repairing of equipment etc.

I was talking to farmer and councillor Ian Paton and to farmer Peter Guichon at the event, and it was noted that in the case of potatoes, it costs approximately $3,500 an acre to prepare the land, plant the seed, fertilize and irrigate the crop and hopefully harvest it to get it to market.

The farming community was hoping for a larger package but is happy that at least something was negotiated.

"The local seed crop was wiped out last fall so this year I had to ship seed potatoes from back east. That was a fifty thousand dollar expense that was not in my bud-get," said Peter Guichon.

This business of farming is complex.

Far more complex than most of us know.

The average age of farmers in B.C. is around 56 years old and it is critical that we engage young potential farmers to work the land because somebody has to.

There has to be a concerted effort to introduce the business of farming, horticulture and agriculture in to the school curriculum.

Children need to better understand how food is grown and marketed in order to decide if an aspect of farming is within a career path choice as they grow older.

Former chair of the Delta School Board Kelly Guichon, also at the event, agrees.

"I think we really need to pay attention to how we introduce farming and agriculture to kids these days. The days of generational family farming are winding down and we need to do something about it."

This summer when the local produce is fresh and readily available at the supermarket and at the roadside, do your community a favour and buy grown in B.C. product whenever you can.