LOCAL PEOPLE , LOCAL FOOD
Cold storage is needed to keep Canadian vegetables and fruit
MYRTLE MACDONALD, B.SC., U OF ALBERTA, M.SC.A, MCGILL U., AUTHOR—VOICE FILE PHOTO
mall mixed farmers who produce or formerly produced vegetables and fruit, are in great financial need. To make ends meet, many young people and their parents have had to take a second job or college studies for a new career. This is because Safeway, Walmart, Superstore, IGA, Cosco and Superstore sell fruit and vegetables grown in Mexico, California, and Washington State for less than they can be grown in BC.
Canadian Supply Management skill has greatly benefited dairy and poultry farmers. That approach plus skilled “Buy Local” marketing support would make it possible for small mixed farmers to thrive again.
There are two major reasons why large grocery stores sell imported fruit and vegetables:
1). They cost less than locally grown;
2). They are available 12 months a year.
To overcome this oppressive monopoly and to enable fruit and vegetable farmers to make a living in Canada, the following robust supports are urgently needed:
1). Cold storage facilities, refrigerated rail cars for local and across Canada sales, and small refrigerated trucks for local pick ups and deliveries.
2). Tomatoes, lettuce, herbs and strawberries, etc. can be grown all year in green houses.
3). In our Fraser Valley climate, more than one or two crops per year are possible, out of doors.
4). Okanagan fruit should be made available in local grocery stores all year round.
5). Fraser Vale Frozen Foods had a factory right in Chilliwack on Yale Road.
6). It was getting hard to find enough fruit and vegetable pickers, probably due to poor pay. Now there are better labor laws and mechanical harvesting machines.
When I lived in Montreal before 1968 to 1974, I bought and enjoyed Fraser Vale vegetables and fruit. Inter-provincial sales should again be given a boost.
In 1988 Fraser Vale sold out to Pillsbury who brought in Rogers flour from Armstrong, BC. They partnered with a Japanese company who milled grain from Saskatchewan and ship it by rail across the border at Huntingdon to all parts of the USA.
My father’s brother lived on Williams Street on a large peach and berries orchard. In 1961 my dad bought half. His two varieties of peaches were the most luscious I have ever eaten. The city bought their orchards, which extended up to Chilliwack Senior Secondary School. Rotary Street and pool and many homes were built.
Quickly, ALR land is now being used for large lawns by commuters. Those dairy cattle and chickens that are kept indoors, could do as well on marginal land.
At one time, Chilliwack was Cherry Capital. On Airport Road a few years ago there was a thriving kiwi orchard. Not having access to a marketing program it same to an end.
I very much want a small farmer or someone who grew up on a mixed small farm and loves that life style, to become a Chilliwack Municipal Councilor. Please spread these goals and nominate someone. Yesterday I met a government employee who agrees and grew up on a farm, his father a veterinarian.
Politicians and Agronomists: please rescue local farmers who have no means to refrigerate-freeze-market fruit and vegetables in local grocery stores, let alone across Canada and around the world. They give up, grow cedar hedging and get another career.
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