Sunday, June 14, 2015
Supporting FV Agriculture
MLA Martin tells us his top reasons for eating local
Released by the BC Government Caucus
n anticipation of a visit by Opposition MLAs to the University of the Fraser Valley this week, Chilliwack MLA John Martin prepared a Top 10 list of reasons why the agriculture industry is flourishing throughout British Columbia, and the Fraser Valley in particular.
“I know the NDP always likes to paint a picture of doom and gloom, but they need to look at the facts,” said Martin. “So I prepared a top ten list for those less familiar with the success that we are currently enjoying in agriculture, and point out the growing demand for delicious B.C. products,”
Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick declared this April that 2014 was a record year for the industry in British Columbia. B.C. agrifood exports grew 11% in 2014, reaching the highest total ever, just short of $3 billion.
The top three export markets for B.C. agriculture and seafood products in 2014 are the United States (up 12%), China (up 16%) and Japan (up 17%). B.C. also exported about $453 million to the rest of the world, resulting in total B.C. agrifood exports of $2.96 billion to 150 countries.
“If the Opposition really wants a taste of the Fraser Valley, they should come here on a Saturday instead and visit the Downtown Chilliwack Farmers Market,” Martin added. “I encourage everyone to buy local and support our farmers, like what we are doing through the B.C Buy Local Program, and investing $6 million to promote farmers and their products.”
Top Ten Reasons to Support Local Agriculture:
1) Local products taste good
The Fraser Valley is famous for producing some of the freshest and tastiest food in Canada. From dairy products, to poultry, to berries and even beer! Old Yale Brewing’s Sasquatch Stout was named the best beer of the year at the 2014 Canadian Brewing Awards.
2) Support Local Farmers
We depend on local farmers to produce the food we eat, so we can support our neighbours in the agricultural industry by choosing to buy local whenever we can. Building the local market for B.C. foods is a key commitment of government’s Agrifoods Strategy to lead the agrifoods sector growth into a $14-billion-a-year industry by 2017.
3) The Fraser Valley has a Centre of Excellence for Agriculture
The University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) plays an indispensable role in the agricultural economy here in our region and beyond. In April 2014 the B.C. government marked UFV’s 40th anniversary by opening the Agriculture Centre of Excellence right in the heart of the Fraser Valley to help future farmers become more productive and more competitive. The new centre is part of UFV’s Chilliwack campus at Canada Education Park. It includes a large demonstration barn and North America’s tallest greenhouse at 11.5 metres.
4) Protection of the ALR and fertile farmland
Currently 10% of the land inside the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) generates 85% of total farm sales in British Columbia, the government recognizes the importance of preserving the ALR as a vital resource.
5) Know Where Your Food Comes From
Local farmers go to a great deal of effort to making their products the best and the most healthy on the market. We also have some of the highest health standards in the world compared to many other jurisdictions. What better way to find out more about the food you eat than to talk to a farmer at your local market.
6) Local B.C. agricultural products are highly nutritious
We all want to be healthy and the best way to avoid highly processed food is to support local businesses in Chilliwack like The Farm Store at Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry, Hofstede’s Country Barn, and Smits & Co.w Farm Cheese.
7) Enjoy the season
It’s great to have seasonal foods available at local farmers markets but there are many agricultural producers in the Fraser Valley that operate all year round in the poultry and dairy industries. We depend on them for our food security in British Columbia. Another good way to enjoy the season are events such as the Chilliwack Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch, the Chilliwack Fair, and Yarrow Days.
8) Variety is the Spice of Life
Farmers in the Fraser Valley know that people love to have choices, especially when it comes to impressing your family and friends with new and innovative products. Farmers also supply locally owned and operated restaurants who use locally sourced products like Bozzini’s, Vita Bella Bistro, Bravo Restaurant & Lounge, and Little Beetle Bistro.
9) Connect with our rural heritage
If you have ever felt stressed-out trying to locate healthy foods in a crowded grocery store, it might feel a little more relaxing to take in the smells of fresh produce at a local farmers market instead.
10) Feel inspired by your food
Tired of the same old food on the menu? Why not try something that you have never tried before? Local vendors and farmers markets are great places to talk to people and discover tips and new recipes at places like the Downtown Chilliwack Farmers Market on Saturdays and The Eco Market on Wednesdays.
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