Ag plan grows up in West Kootenay
The Nelson Daily staff
The seeds of an agricultural plan have been sown for the region, with an eye towards improving the quantity and quality of agricultural production in the West Kootenay.
The Regional District of Central Kootenay is creating an Area Agricultural Plan, conducting a planning process to research, develop policy alternatives and create some concrete projects — and the process begins this month.
Nelson-based food activist and consultant Abra Brynne and a group consisting of Kristin Aasen, Jeremy Lack, Bill Wells and Russell Precious were chosen, along with a steering committee comprised of several RDCK directors, farmers and other food players to help guide the project.
In developing the plan, the process will involve consultation with the farming community, with the non-farming community, and with organizations and agencies involved with or impacted by farming.
Research into the historical, current and projected food production capability of the region will be done, followed by an analysis of the factors which constrain agricultural production in the RDCK.
“These factors include market access, climate, water availability and quality, regulation and development pressures,” said Brynne.
The plan will include recommendations for the regional district, industry and in the realm of education and advocacy.
The Area Agricultural Plan also includes a food security component, assessing agriculture not only from the perspective of what makes a farm viable, but also from the perspective of what do RDCK residents need to eat and how much of it can be produced and sourced here.
More and more people understand the real challenges of feeding a growing world population while addressing the combined impact of energy depletion, climate change and economic uncertainty.
Once upon a time the West Kootenay region was pretty much self reliant — now it imports more than 90 per cent of its food.
There will be town hall meetings held throughout the region this month and there will be an ongoing opportunity to fill out surveys on line.
You can take the survey at www.agplan.ca and watch for meeting scheduled for the area.
“It is our commitment to have a draft document ready for sharing early in the spring,” said Brynne,
You can reach Brynne at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-352-5342.
The project is funded in part by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. through programs it delivers on behalf of Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada and the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. The RDCK is supplying matched funds and administrative and technical support.