Thoughts on living in a land of plenty

Guest comment from Kathleen Busch of Woodwynn Farms

What does it mean to be a Land of Plenty?

I love going for a drive along West Saanich Road through Central Saanich. The scenic drive where I can pick up fruit, vegetables, flowers and eggs from honesty stalls along the road, where I occasionally get stopped behind a slow moving truck or tractor, where I can pull over and look at farm animals with my daughter and enjoy the simplicity, quiet and serenity.

Last year on one such trip I stopped in at Woodwynn Farms. They had a farm market running and we played with some piglets and bought produce grown by men who were formerly homeless and who are now housed and learning about farming. We heard about the vision for the farm and were encouraged and inspired. But then we heard about the issues with rezoning, with neighbours and Central Saanich council denying farm worker housing on one per cent of the 193 acre farm.

Central Saanich’s motto is the Land of Plenty, but yet the community has little low income housing, no food banks and few service agencies. I find this fascinating. I’m not sure about you, but to me it’s disturbing. How can a community call itself the land of plenty, but not offer adequate support, care or help to those in need?

As I took a further look into this idyllic setting that is billed as a farming community, I realized that outside of Michells and Sluggets, some daffodils and a few wineries, this community does very little to feed people. This land of plenty is really not that plentiful, at least in terms of food.

I then realized behind many of these lovely honesty road stands were giant houses on the water or large acreages that sold a small amount of produce as a tax break or to give account to the Agriculture Land Commission for having a mansion on ALR land. So, I stand up and ask, what does it mean to be a land of plenty?

Central Saanich denies farm worker housing to Vantreights and to Woodwynn – people who want to farm the land – but yet allows 22,000 square foot homes to be built on ALR land for a single family and gives tax breaks to the wealthy for their roadside farm stands for the six dozen eggs they sell a week.  Perhaps the land of plenty is really about the people who have plenty and keeping out those who have not.

“In true community we will not choose our companions. For our choices are so often limited by self-serving motives. …

“Instead our companions will be given to us by grace.

“Often they will be persons who will upset our settled view of self and the world.

“In fact, we might define true community as that place

“Where the person you least want to live with lives. …” – Parker Palmer, 1977, as quoted in Practicing Peace: A Devotional Walk Through the Quaker Tradition

Perhaps, Central Saanich council, you can re-look at your community plan, look and see if it is true community you are trying to build because a true community includes all people.

Kathleen Busch is the director of community development at Woodwynn Farms.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Six months to Francophone Games, 600 volunteers needed

Online applications open on Jan. 14

Tech consortium invests $25 million into four University of Victoria research projects

Investments come with goal of developing, implement technologies created by Canadians

Organizers seek input for long-awaited Oaklands community garden

Oswald Park Community Garden Design Workshop coming up on Jan. 19

Improperly transporting a pet in the back of the truck can cost up to $368

Police recommend keeping all animals inside the passenger portion of the vehicle

Mass-timber project in Esquimalt switches from condos to rentals

Corvette Landing will now offer rental units in the area

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

Most Read