Consider selling Sandown land to individual farmers

Government should stay out of farming business by selling Sandown land in North Saanich to real farmers

Re: Sandown is the business of government (Opinion, Jan. 27)

Coun. Celia Stock’s assessment that “the Sandown lands proposal is the business of government” is a creative approach to sugar-coating the subject.

If the aim is to increase local food production and the proposal is not about “socialist experiments,” (huh?) or “state farming,” then give your head a shake. Whoever might “farm” the land has to approach it as a business.

Having a social agenda is fine – providing for others is what farmers do – but at the end of the day the farmer has to realize some sort of financial reward and workers should expect at least a minimum wage.

If this is not happening, then all this proposal would do is to continue to undermine the local agriculture industry.

Local food costs considerably more to produce than imported food. Subsidizing farmers is not the answer; the answer lies in the consumers’ willingness to walk the walk and pay the farmer at least a close approximation of what his or her produce, meats, or eggs are worth.

Why do you think those holding viable agricultural land are not using it, or leasing it to others who might want to farm it for food production?

If there are so many residents in North Saanich and beyond truly interested in local food security and sustainability, and what the future might hold for the Sandown lands, then band together and purchase the land and farm it as a co-operative. I am not kidding.

Thanks to the due diligence of some, now would be a good time to buy the land, seeing as its assessed value has trended downward from the original estimate. One thousand committed people would have to pony up only $3,500 each to purchase the property outright and fulfill the Agricultural Land Commission’s requirements.

You take the risks, you put your money where your mouth is and farmers such as myself will know the ground is level for all of us.

And business will be business.

Brett Smyth

North Saanich