OUR VIEW: Small farms have potential

Productive farms on very little land are possible — and at least one Saanich Peninsula farm is proving it.

Productive farms on very little land are possible — and at least one Saanich Peninsula farm is proving it.

Rachel Fisher of Three Oaks Farm is working hard to ensure her farm is a big contributor to the financial success of Saanich Organics, a company that brings several local farms together to supply organic produce to the community. Hers is a two-acre, two-person operation that shows big gains can be made from relatively small spaces.

One of the arguments people made in support of the Future Growth Area plans in Central Saanich this month was the idea that small farms such as this are not viable. And if that’s the case, they argued, why not earmark land for potential commercial and residential development?

Fisher’s example, however, backs up the District council’s recent decision to drop the Future Growth Areas concept — helping retain land north and south of Keating X Road for agricultural purposes, now and into the immediate future.

Saanich Organics has a distinctly local flavour and contributes around $350,000 each year to the local economy.

That’s nothing to sneeze at — especially since that economic contribution is coming from only four or five farms.

Their production stays right here on the Island, supplying markets, grocery stores, as well as restaurants on the Peninsula and in Greater Victoria.

It is no longer an anomaly to go to a store and find local produce of excellent quality — no mealy lettuce or shrunken carrots here. Local farms, big and small, are stepping up their efforts to be a part of the local food production scene and making sure they can compete with all the pretty produce out there. It’s also easier now, more than ever, to source that produce. The sheer volume being produced on Peninsula farms helps ensure that we can maintain a local diet. Supply is continuing to rise to meet demand.

While more industrial and residential development is sure to be needed in the coming decades, it’s good to know that farm production on small plots of land won’t get picked over.

 

— Peninsula News Review editorial