BY KIRK STARRATT
Friends of Agriculture in Nova Scotia (FANS) - a coalition of farmers, public policy advocates, ecologists and other concerned citizens - is challenging all political parties involved in the current provincial election to address food security as a top priority.
FANS spokesperson Linda Best says the group is calling on all provincial politicians to describe how their programs address the need for a safe, secure and sustainable local food supply for present and future generations of Nova Scotians.
Nova Scotia currently imports about 90 per cent of its food requirements. Best said, in the short term, our food supply is vulnerable to contingencies such as interruptions in transportation, peak oil constraints, fluctuations in supply due to weather, labour or political conflicts as well as the financial crisis that is slowing commerce.
She says there is no way of ensuring the quality and safety of imported foods that come from jurisdictions that have less stringent standards. “In the longer term,” Best said, “the global supply chain is unsustainable and irresponsible from the perspective of combating climate change, protecting the health of citizens and avoiding the potential for widespread food insecurity due to changing political and economic conditions.”
She said ensuring a vital and secure food supply for Nova Scotians requires continued availability of agricultural land, a dynamic farming community empowered to develop farming methods responsive to changing climate conditions and based on sustainability principles, infrastructure for processing and marketing locally grown food, and pricing policies that ensure a fair return for farmers.
FANS members believe that provincial government leadership is essential to harness the knowledge, skills and talents of all Nova Scotians to collaboratively develop food policy that will ensure all citizens have ready access to safe, wholesome, locally produced food.
BY KIRK STARRATT