Dear Chefs' Table Society of British Columbia Members,
A mere 5% of British Columbia land falls within the protection of the Agriculture Land Reserve (ALR). The foresight of our legislation to create the ALR over 40 years ago is now in jeopardy with bill 24. We need to be accountable for decisions we make today not only for sustainability of the present but also what we leave in the future. Chefs and Restauranteurs have worked hard over the past 40 years to support our farms for not only the food they produce but also the culture they bring to our industry. Growing local food is not a thing of the past it is our present and our future, never has the demand been higher for locally sourced nutritious food.
Bill 24 proposes to divide the Agriculture land reserve into 2 zones, the changes being put forward are in zone 2 which contains 90% of the protected land. This will essentially open the door to remove 90% of the mere 5% of B.C.'s ALR.
The ALR was created to protect a very valuable asset by ensuring land-planning decisions for agricultural land were not made for political or short-term reasons. The decision makers at the Agricultural Land Commission are currently independent and free of an outside agenda. Bill 24 changes that, greatly weakening the independence of the Commission by allowing the government to easily appoint decision-makers who may not prioritize the protection of agricultural land. Bill 24 also makes it much easier for agricultural land to be removed from the ALR by adding new open-ended and undefined categories such as “economic” or “social” reasons that allow land to be removed.
Chefs and the restaurant industry need to be aware of the type of changes being proposed.
The members of the Legislative Assembly and our Premiere need to be aware of how we feel about our farmland and our future food source. For more information, visit the BC Food Systems Network at http://bcfsn.org/
We ask all members to speak out about this threat to food security before it is too late! Take a ‘selfie’ and post on twitter or facebook with the hashtag #chefs4ALR
President of The Chefs Table of British Columbia
Chef owner of The PearTree Restaurant
Bocuse dor Canada 2007
4 time Olympic gold medalist Culinary Team Canada 2008
Inducted into the British Columbia Restaurant hall of fame 2008