Farms have a role here

Agriculture is one of the top four economic sectors in North Saanich.

Re:  Boutique farming at best (Feb. 15). Agriculture is one of the top four economic sectors in North Saanich. From the 2012 Economic Development Strategy for Agriculture commissioned by our council: “North Saanich has one of the highest concentrations of farm income of any municipality on Vancouver Island, and the highest average annual gross farm receipts per farm of any municipality on the Island. Central Saanich has the second highest farm income of municipalities on the Island, making the Peninsula a major centre for agri-food production.

“There are 135 farm operations in the [North Saanich] District tax rolls. They accounted for 5114 weeks of paid labour in 2005.”

The fact there are only a handful of large farms in North Saanich points to an opportunity to expand our thinking in terms of our concept of farming.

It’s quite possible to achieve an annual income of $30,000 or more per acre from mixed farming (and far more in a greenhouse operation). This type of model (small acreage and value-added food-production) is what we need to embrace in North Saanich, for our own food security, and as a response to the high price of land in this area.

To compare farming in North Saanich to that in Manitoba, is like asking why developers are unable to provide housing in North Saanich at the same cost as a similar house in Manitoba.

Bernadette Greene

North Saanich