Bio-region News

Bio-region News2 – Shushwap Agricultural Strategy

Rebecca and Herman are organic farmers in the North Okanagan. They both worked with conventional farmers and government staff to produce the 2014 Shuswap Agricultural Strategy. Although they are on separate farms, they made the effort to attend meetings to develop this important strategy report. How many people have read this great strategy?

The report has some key deficiencies, listed below. The report’s strengths point to some of the changes needed so that agri-food in Canada can thrive. The benefits for everyone are huge as nothing has a stronger economic multiplier effect than agri-food.

What is wrong with the 2014 Shuswap Agricultural Strategy?
#1 the lead organization that will follow up on all the recommendations does
not even exist, has no funding and no staff to do any work …
#2 all follow up work requires Government funding
#3 organic farming practices were referenced in the report as part of the
recommendations, e.g. #13 ecological farming practices; but were given a
Low Priority and were considered a Long Term goal

What was so right about the 2014 Shuswap Agricultural Strategy?

#1 organic farmers were working together with conventional farmers on shared
issues that provided a strong benefit to the wider community
#2 correctly identifying key infrastructure e.g. a shared food aggregation /
distribution facility; agriculture information services; as being
essential to the development of agri-food at the local level
#3 focus on the transfer of farming knowledge to younger generations through
schools, agricultural extension services and the development of a stable
farm labour pool

What progress has been made to follow up on these good recommendations ?
Have we moved closer to food security in the Thompson -Okanagan bioregion?