Jump to content

      









Photo

The Agricultural Land Reserver (alr), Food Security - And Similar Topics


  • Please log in to reply
222 replies to this topic

#1 VicHockeyFan

VicHockeyFan
  • Member
  • 45,113 posts

Posted 26 January 2010 - 03:54 PM

Anyone else think the madness over keeping the ALR and urban farms and making sure we have home-grown food etc. is bunk?

This area grows something like <3% of our food. If for some reason, the whole world was suddenly at war tomorrow, and all supply chains everywhere were cut off, that 3% would not go very far. So why do we obsess over it? Why do we feel a need to have farms nearby, when other places grow it MUCH more efficiently?

I mean if someone told us today, that effective June 30th, we'd need to be on our own for food, I honestly think we'd figure out a way to grow our own food. Maybe we'd have to tend our gardens for an hour a day, and miss one episode of CSI each day.

Really, in the 200 years we have been here, there has never been any threat to our food supply. Why do we feel more need to prepare for that eventuality now than we did 25 years ago?

Here is an alarmist article right here:

http://www.canada.co...6e-5f31a2eda914

B.C. farmers produce only 48 per cent of the meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables that we consume, according to a report prepared by the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture. The report, titled B.C.'s Food Self-Reliance, says that the area of farmland with access to irrigation in B.C. would have to increase by nearly 50 per cent by 2025 to provide a healthy diet for all British Columbians.


Now, I can almost assure you, if we could not get food from anywhere else but BC, suddenly we would produce 100 per cent of the meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables that we consume. We would A) change our diet and eat more of the lesser-priced food, thus increasing demand for it, raising its price and encouraging more production, for example on land that was formerly seen as "unproductive" to produce it at the former price/demand. B) that kind of goes along with A, we'd simply spend more of our take-home pay on food. to balance, we'd take one less trip to the movie theatre a month, we'd set our thermostats two degrees cooler in our homes, we'd have one less vehicle per household, and we'd be just fine. On top of it all, with higher food prices, companies would try hard to find other ways to grow and import food.

#2 sebberry

sebberry

    Resident Housekeeper

  • Moderator
  • 16,628 posts
  • LocationVictoria

Posted 26 January 2010 - 04:55 PM

We may change if we needed to, but such change would be impossible without the land that we have now.

If we took all the ALR land and built houses on it, then were told that we needed to grow our own food in 6 months we'd be screwed. The land is precious and that's what the fuss is about.

Victoria current weather by neighbourhood: Victoria school-based weather station network

Victoria webcams: Big Wave Dave Webcams

 


#3 VicHockeyFan

VicHockeyFan
  • Member
  • 45,113 posts

Posted 26 January 2010 - 05:54 PM

If we took all the ALR land and built houses on it, then were told that we needed to grow our own food in 6 months we'd be screwed. The land is precious and that's what the fuss is about.


We'd need a population of over 5 billion to have a house on every bit of land in BC. And they'd still have a front and back yard to grow food in.

We can grow crops on almost all the land in BC. NO, we can not grow it at costs anything competitive with what we can for food shipped in from California and Chile for, but we could grow crops on every piece of land. Heck, if we are willing to pay the price for the energy, we could grow year-round in greenhouses.

#4 sebberry

sebberry

    Resident Housekeeper

  • Moderator
  • 16,628 posts
  • LocationVictoria

Posted 26 January 2010 - 06:06 PM

We'd need a population of over 5 billion to have a house on every bit of land in BC. And they'd still have a front and back yard to grow food in.

We can grow crops on almost all the land in BC. NO, we can not grow it at costs anything competitive with what we can for food shipped in from California and Chile for, but we could grow crops on every piece of land. Heck, if we are willing to pay the price for the energy, we could grow year-round in greenhouses.


Worldwide population is approaching 7 billion, or do you mean 5 billion in BC? :confused:

Much of the rugged terrain in BC is not farmable. The areas that are farmable are valuable and tend to be near populated areas. This makes the land very tempting to developers. Just because we don't have x billion people in BC doesn't mean a developer wouldn't eat up that land in a heartbeat.

Victoria current weather by neighbourhood: Victoria school-based weather station network

Victoria webcams: Big Wave Dave Webcams

 


#5 jklymak

jklymak
  • Member
  • 3,514 posts

Posted 26 January 2010 - 06:10 PM

I personally think that the ALR's use is that it prevents sprawl, which is not a good thing for so many reasons other than "food security". So if you want, we can call it a urban containment boundary.

That being said, its a heck of a lot easier to build a house on crappy land than to farm it year after year. So I think you (VHF) have your argument a bit backwards - we can develop the nice flat lands and fluvial plains once all the other crappy, craggy, steep sloped, or boggy land has been built on. Why would you want to waste energy and resources farming poor land and build cities atop of good land?

#6 VicHockeyFan

VicHockeyFan
  • Member
  • 45,113 posts

Posted 26 January 2010 - 06:14 PM

Worldwide population is approaching 7 billion, or do you mean 5 billion in BC? :confused:

Much of the rugged terrain in BC is not farmable. The areas that are farmable are valuable and tend to be near populated areas. This makes the land very tempting to developers. Just because we don't have x billion people in BC doesn't mean a developer wouldn't eat up that land in a heartbeat.


I'm saying we could fit 5B people in 1B SFD's with front and back yards in BC.

EVERY piece of terrain in BC is farmable if we control the climate with greenhouses etc., and bring in topsoil from other parts of BC. You say it's not farmable - you mean it is not economically feasible right now to farm it when we can buy California strawberries.

#7 VicHockeyFan

VicHockeyFan
  • Member
  • 45,113 posts

Posted 26 January 2010 - 06:17 PM

I personally think that the ALR's use is that it prevents sprawl, which is not a good thing for so many reasons other than "food security". So if you want, we can call it a urban containment boundary.

That being said, its a heck of a lot easier to build a house on crappy land than to farm it year after year. So I think you (VHF) have your argument a bit backwards - we can develop the nice flat lands and fluvial plains once all the other crappy, craggy, steep sloped, or boggy land has been built on. Why would you want to waste energy and resources farming poor land and build cities atop of good land?


Because even this "good land" is not good enough to produce the food we are willing to pay for. California's land is. And until California has to feed 20x the number of people it does now, why should we feel unsecure about our food supply?

Of all the people that have sounded the alarm about our food security, I have not heard one cite an example from anywhere else in the developed world where there has been a food supply issue. Ever. I mean, we have a banana-supply issue here right now, but we solve it by paying a high enough price to ship it in. And with the price being where it is, we eat less of it than if we could all grow it in our backyards every day. On the other hand, we have a zucchinni surplus here.

It's a bit like all the people that worry about sending bulk water to the US. Trust me, if they get so short on water that they absolutely need ours, we'd be willing to build de-salination plants for our own water supply and rake in the profits we make from selling our fresh water to them. The economics say it'll never come to that though, economics balances things out.

#8 phx

phx
  • Member
  • 1,365 posts

Posted 26 January 2010 - 07:02 PM

it is not economically feasible right now to farm it when we can buy California strawberries.


I must say, this is not a good example to support your point. California strawberries have as much flavour as styrofoam.

#9 piltdownman

piltdownman
  • Member
  • 539 posts

Posted 26 January 2010 - 07:47 PM

I personally think that the ALR's use is that it prevents sprawl, which is not a good thing for so many reasons other than "food security". So if you want, we can call it a urban containment boundary.


That can backfire though. The City of Boulder comes to mind. In the 1970's they designated large areas to the south and east of the city as parks. The goal was to reduce sprawl; however what happened is new subdivisions just popped up on the other side of the greenbelt park, and people just drive through 5km of parks everyday to get into the city.

#10 Bernard

Bernard
  • Member
  • 3,929 posts
  • LocationVictoria BC

Posted 27 January 2010 - 08:30 AM

As it stands, BC has more than 4.7 million hectares of land in the ALR. This is almost the exact same amount as in 1974 when the ALR was created.

The ALR in BC is an area bigger than Switzerland and almost as large as Nova Scotia. We have a lot of farm land in BC but most of it is not used much. BC could produce the enough food to feed more than 15,000,000 people. If there was ever a need to produce our food here in BC, we could easily do it and then some.

The amount of farm land in the CRD and Metro Vancouver is only a tiny amount of the farm land in BC. Most of the best farm land in BC is not used at all - the Lillooet Lytton area has the best growing conditions in Canada and some of the best soils but it produces very little food. Most people think of farm land only terms of the stuff here on the south coast. It really amounts to very little in the overall picture.

There is also a lot of land in BC that could be farmed that has not been classified as ALR.

#11 North Shore

North Shore
  • Member
  • 1,388 posts

Posted 27 January 2010 - 12:13 PM

^Nice! In an appeal to authority, you link to your own blog!...
Say, what's that mountain goat doing up here in the mist?

#12 Chris J

Chris J
  • Member
  • 215 posts

Posted 27 January 2010 - 12:40 PM

One of the issues here is the unsustainability of the global food transport system. Even now, in this golden age of transportation, it is highly problematic. It creates waste, pollution, high energy demand, and increased costs associated with the public upkeep of the transport infrastructure.

Protecting what little farmland we have close to home is about protecting ourselves against the eventuality of a change this global transportation system.

It may not seem like a priority now, because it looks like worldwide import/export is something that will be a part of our civilization forever. But it's as shortsighted as assuming your car will never need to be fixed, or your kids won't need braces or that nothing will ever happen that would make you want to have a savings account, or a fire extinguisher in the house.

I for one think I would rather rely on local farms than huge corporate farms in California. I don't think it's a stretch to say we live in an unpredictable world right now, and the stability of these systems are not guarenteed.
B the Media @ B Channel News
Local Comprehensive Coverage

http://bchannelnews.tv

#13 VicHockeyFan

VicHockeyFan
  • Member
  • 45,113 posts

Posted 27 January 2010 - 01:19 PM

One of the issues here is the unsustainability of the global food transport system. Even now, in this golden age of transportation, it is highly problematic. It creates waste, pollution, high energy demand, and increased costs associated with the public upkeep of the transport infrastructure.

Protecting what little farmland we have close to home is about protecting ourselves against the eventuality of a change this global transportation system.

It may not seem like a priority now, because it looks like worldwide import/export is something that will be a part of our civilization forever. But it's as shortsighted as assuming your car will never need to be fixed, or your kids won't need braces or that nothing will ever happen that would make you want to have a savings account, or a fire extinguisher in the house.

I for one think I would rather rely on local farms than huge corporate farms in California. I don't think it's a stretch to say we live in an unpredictable world right now, and the stability of these systems are not guarenteed.


The protection against the worldwide collapse of these systems (that has never happened in the history of the industrialized world) is to have MONEY as a back-up. Money always finds a way to make things work.

I'd rather have my own money, than pay government to protect local farmland for an eventuality that I can never see coming.

One of the issues here is the unsustainability of the global food transport system. Even now, in this golden age of transportation, it is highly problematic. It creates waste, pollution, high energy demand, and increased costs associated with the public upkeep of the transport infrastructure.


It sure does all of those things. And it works just perfectly too, and I don't see anything "unsustainable" about it, unless governments muck into the economics of it.

In my lifetime alone, I could have saved hundereds, if not thousands of dollars personally if there was not government involvement in the economics of our dairy products in terms of quotas and import restrictions.

#14 G-Man

G-Man

    Senior Case Officer

  • Moderator
  • 11,634 posts

Posted 27 January 2010 - 02:03 PM

^ I don't think you deep down believe all of that to be true.

Historical Collapses of food systems - Just because it hasn't happened here (it has) doesn't mean it hasn't happened. We have seen numerous failures that have led to starvation in Russia, China, Africa, Central America. And it has happened here to during the 1930's and during the wars which led to massive food rationing and a move to having more home gardens.

The "perfect" system

While it is perhaps from a purely economic perspective a perfect system, most are aware that this model does not take into account all the externalities that end up costing money, such as fishery devastation, loss of drinking water, and the health impacts on the regular population from the food ingested.

Let alone the impacts to the natural environment. Anyways while I don't see an end of the world coming I do think that companies should start adding the whole cost of food to the price.

#15 Chris J

Chris J
  • Member
  • 215 posts

Posted 27 January 2010 - 02:09 PM

One of the reasons its unsustainable is that it is dependent on cheap oil; a finite and non-renewable resource.

So I guess it depends what you are willing to support in terms of fueling that system. The demand for fuel has led to projects like the tarsands and various oil and gas pipelines that not only cause great harm to surrounding and downstream communities, but also effects us all in terms of the impact that these industries have on the climate.

Green fuels displace food crops, and are not sustainable, so we can't make that switchover.

Money will protect those who have it. As oil prices rise, so will food prices. We may still be able to import all this food, but less and less people will have access to it.

I think another aspect of this debate was touched on earlier. Assuming we do need to import less food and produce more locally, do we do so in places like Langford farmland, or can it be done in yards and other places currently not in food production? I think we need a variety of options, from front yards to Langford ALR.
B the Media @ B Channel News
Local Comprehensive Coverage

http://bchannelnews.tv

#16 VicHockeyFan

VicHockeyFan
  • Member
  • 45,113 posts

Posted 27 January 2010 - 02:12 PM

^^ I'm all in favour of paying the whole cost. I'm the guy that wants to pay 5-10x what we do for water today. But if you are going to apply the whole cost to lettuce from the interior, you had also better apply it to your bananas from Ecuador. I know it is cheaper to grow many things here, than in the south, but we pay dearly for the extra cost of regulations, labour standards and worker safety, minimum wages etc. that they do not pay in the producing countries.

^^ If oil prices rise, there will be more advantage to farm here. I'm all in favour of rising oil prices, although I think we are a long way from running out of it. But rising prices means more conservation, so it's win-win.

#17 Chris J

Chris J
  • Member
  • 215 posts

Posted 27 January 2010 - 02:19 PM

^^ ... we pay dearly for the extra cost of regulations, labour standards and worker safety, minimum wages etc. that they do not pay in the producing countries.

I'm also not comfortable importing food from places that can't pay a decent wage for their labour or provide safe working conditions. Granted, the costs associated with ensuring these things may be high, but are no reason to contribute to the exploitation of foreign labour.
B the Media @ B Channel News
Local Comprehensive Coverage

http://bchannelnews.tv

#18 VicHockeyFan

VicHockeyFan
  • Member
  • 45,113 posts

Posted 27 January 2010 - 02:19 PM

I'm tired of everyone throwing out the "it's not sutainable" argument for doing something against the forces of pure economics. God damn it, if it's not sustainable, it'll fail. Then we'll do it differently. If it's so freakin' unsustainable, then we ought to sit back and watch it fail. We need not take any action against it - if it is unsustainable the way it's being done now, it follows that into the future, that will not be the way. Why tamper with it pre-emptively? Why not let market forces and the private sector identify what is being done unsustainably, and allow them to innovate to create new ways?

#19 VicHockeyFan

VicHockeyFan
  • Member
  • 45,113 posts

Posted 27 January 2010 - 02:22 PM

I'm also not comfortable importing food from places that can't pay a decent wage for their labour or provide safe working conditions. Granted, the costs associated with ensuring these things may be high, but are no reason to contribute to the exploitation of foreign labour.


The general public may also feel this way, but when it comes to voting with their wallets, they so very rarely feel it at that point. I mean, I go to the food store and choose between celery that comes from Lord knows where, and some organic stuff that costs 50% more. Now, in my mind, they look the same, likely taste the same. Why this organic company is not right there with a nice shelf display extolling it's virtues is beyond me. If they could sell 15% more of their stuff, a very informative shelf display would be more than worth the price. But as a cunsumer, I just see labels that say CELERY and ORGANIC CELERY. Easy choice for me.

#20 Chris J

Chris J
  • Member
  • 215 posts

Posted 27 January 2010 - 02:23 PM

because there are serious impacts that would result. Because sustainability also refers to the environment. Which is to say we will know the food system has failed when all the fresh water is gone and poisoned, GG emmissions cause serious climate instability, and the poltical climate of the countries we exploit for our food erupt into war. I would rather head that future off at the pass then sit back and let it happen just so I could say I told you so. No thanks.
B the Media @ B Channel News
Local Comprehensive Coverage

http://bchannelnews.tv

You're not quite at the end of this discussion topic!

Use the page links at the lower-left to go to the next page to read additional posts.
 



0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users