The District of Saanich, B.C. has invited community members to provide feedback on the draft Saanich Agriculture and Food Security Plan. The plan provides a coordinated approach to support agriculture and improve food security in Saanich over the next 10 to 15 years, including sustainable water management objectives.
Public input gathered over the past year from a project task force, farmers, residents, and stakeholder groups has guided development of the draft plan.
“The draft Agriculture and Food Security Plan will serve as a crucial guiding document for Saanich’s food future. The draft plan sets out the components to enhance local food production and ensure all residents have access to affordable, healthy, local food to put on their dinner tables,” said Saanich Councillor Dean Murdock. “I look forward to people taking a look at the draft and letting us know if they feel this sets the right direction going forward.”
The draft plan is organized around seven themes that convey challenges facing agriculture and food security in Saanich:
- Provide a foundation to take action on agriculture and food security
- Connect gaps in the local food systems to improve food self-sufficiency
- Strengthen awareness of the local food system
- Improve the interconnection between food production and the environment
- Manage land use to protect and support farmland
- Support multi-generational farmers and emerging farmers
- Expand opportunities for urban agriculture
Under the fourth theme, the plan outlines action for water management arising from the concerns raised by stakeholders regarding stormwater management and irrigation needs, as well as the affordability of water in farming practices. Actions include:
- Stormwater retention on developed sites.
- Support and encouragement of development that retains vegetation and provides room for natural water retention and absorption.
- Support for integrated watershed management.
- Encouragement for rainwater harvesting.
The report also notes that in 2016, Saanich residents consumer 12.7 million cubuc metres of water, while farm use accounts for 1.6% of this use. More details on agricultural water management are available in the plan.
The public can review the draft plan and provide input through the following opportunities:
- Public open house from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30 at Cedar Hill Recreation Centre in the Gallery Café. The event will feature interactive displays, a survey and locally produced snacks.
- Pop-up events at local recreation centres. Find locations and times at saanich.ca/food.
- Online survey and virtual open house are available until Dec. 15 at saanich.ca/food.
Saanich staff will use feedback from the public to refine the plan before it’s presented to Council.