Locally grown veggies can be found at farm stands and farmer's markets across the Lower Mainland but farmers say they also need local processors to help them tap the Metro Vancouver market.

Strong appetite to defend farmland, buy local: poll

Survey of Metro residents part of push for food security

Metro Vancouverites strongly support the protection of farmland and say it’s important to buy locally grown food, according to a new poll.

Ninety-three per cent of those surveyed by Mustel Group for Metro Vancouver said it’s important to protect agricultural lands in the region, with two-thirds saying it’s very important.

They cited the need to be more self-sufficient in producing local food, as well as concerns about over-development, urban sprawl, environmental impacts, the need to support local farmers and jobs and the perception that locally grown food is safer or healthier.

A minority of dissenters argued food is better produced elsewhere in the province, land in the Lower Mainland should be developed and a balance must be found to support population growth.

Almost nine out of 10 of those surveyed said it’s at least somewhat important to buy locally grown or produced food, with 45 per cent listing it as very important.

Seventy-three per cent said it’s somewhat easy to find local food but only one in five said it’s very easy and a strong majority said improved labeling would help.

Avoiding increased reliance on imported food was a bigger concern to Vancouver residents, who also stressed their interest in organic food, while environmental impacts were more prominent for Burnaby and New Westminster residents.

Women were more likely then men to support farmland protection, as were immigrants from Europe versus those who come from other parts of the world.

The poll was commissioned to help Metro pursue its newly adopted Regional Food Systems Strategy, which aims to find new ways to assist farmers and   promote local agriculture and food processing.

“Farmers tell us if they don’t direct-market or go to the farmer’s market, it’s difficult for them to get their food processed or distributed to the consumers,” said Metro agriculture committee chair Harold Steves.

Among the planks of the multi-faceted plan is to press the provincial government to re-establish the Buy BC label to help shoppers find B.C.-grown food.

It also aims to protect farmland, find new growing areas such as rooftop gardens and encourage local residents to choose locally grown food.

Metro is also to prepare an inventory of all agricultural land in the region to determine which parcels aren’t actively farmed.

Land speculators sitting on farmland is a problem, according to the strategy, as is the proliferation of giant estate homes on agricultural land.

Underlying the strategy is the concern that as transportation fuel costs rise Metro Vancouverites will be increasingly vulnerable to higher prices and food supply disruptions because of their heavy reliance on international suppliers.

Just 48 per cent of fresh food consumed in B.C. is grown in the province, down sharply from 86 per cent when the Agricultural Land Commission was created in 1972.

Just Posted

Developers to unveil plan to transform Aldergrove mall into new town centre

Community to find out new Aldergrove Town Centre plan for dormant 10-acre lot in heart of downtown.

Tardi and team playoff bound in junior curling worlds tonight

Friday night Team Canada’s men’s team faces off against Norway, hoping to secure a spot in the finals

Injured nurse back in the saddle after horse riding accident

Keya Milaire has been recovering from an accident that occurred on May 24.

Langley’s Hong takes silver in Winter Games vault

The Langley athlete completed a tricky move in competition to clinch the podium.

Former Cloverdale church elder will be tried in Supreme Court on sexual assault charges

Preliminary inquiry for Brian Batke case set for February 2020

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Man sentenced to 7 years for smuggling drugs and shooting at border guards in Sumas

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford in 2013 after day-long manhunt

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Most Read