A healthy, place-based local food and agricultural economy is a matter of regional interest. Food and agriculture, as a fundamental human endeavor, is critical for the future health and wellbeing of our community. The cultivation and provision of healthy food and the long-term development and care of local farms and farmland - regardless of whether farmland is currently used to grow food - contributes to the development of a healthy culture and a liveable, resilient, secure and sustainable community. There is growing expectation and interest in more CRD involvement. Issues related to food and agriculture are predicted to increase and will continue to require a regional approach.
Regional districts, municipalities and electoral areas do not have a specific mandate over food and agriculture. However, the food and agriculture sector is impacted by CRD services such as water delivery, environmental protection and conservation, watershed education and drinking watershed protection and management, liquid and solid waste management (including rural septic programs), invasive species eradication / native plant restoration, and more recently, wildlife (deer, geese, beaver, bullfrog) management. The draft RFAS identifies how these services relate to food and agriculture and provides recommendations.
Food and agriculture are generally considered to be the sole responsibility of the Province and the Federal government. However, the Province and the Federal government have been unable to provide the level of attention and support required to see the integration and growth of a healthy, place-based local food and agricultural economy within a developing region like the CRD. There also appear to be gaps in the current responsibility framework in areas such as the management of wildlife within developed areas, locally focused economic development, and long-term agricultural land protection.