Brett Smyth’s letter (Most farmland not used to grow food, PNR Jan. 26) brings to mind an eye opening comparison between farmers.
Our local community has benefitted for many years from an enormous amount of quality food produced by Brett and his family on less than two acres. A plethora of fresh fruits and veggies in season, dried fruits, dried veggies, juices, and jams throughout the off seasons and a friendly face where many discussions of local nature take place. What we need is a cost benefit analysis of intensive gardening methods with farm-gate marketing compared to the large model Vantreights are trying to manage.
Weighing into the Vantreight saga one must remember it was a dysfunctional relationship between two brothers and a buyout package that forced the so called need for development. There’s always been plenty of land for both boys to farm. Instead, we’ve watched land use policies ignored, a community divided and what about farming?
Vantreight Farm could play a key role in revitalizing the industry on the Peninsula by providing infrastructure and even a training site for new farmers with value added businesses. They already have the coolers, the greenhouses, the composting facility. The houses that are needed, are for the workers. They’ve raised the sentiments of the people and forced the hand of the district with no assurances that covering the hill with homes will equate to a viable farm operation because even Central Saanich council doesn’t know if this development will get them sufficiently out of debt.
I think we do need to find new ways and means to support farmers but this process has been all backwards.