posted by admin on Apr 26

By Edward Hill – Goldstream News Gazette
Published: April 21, 2011 11:00 AM
Updated: April 21, 2011 11:25 AM

Christina Willing opens the tall wire gate to what was once a community garden, now overgrown with broom and largely forgotten. She scowls at a sign that reads “Willing Park Closed.”

About 10 years ago the garden was abandoned, although the tall deer fencing and a broken down shed remains. But with homes and townhouses cropping up next door in Valley View Estates, Willing wants the community to get better use from the park that bears her family name.

“We already have a fenced in area for a garden. The rest is a natural area enjoyed by animals and birds,” says Willing, as she walks through a pasture that was once part of her family’s dairy farm.
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posted by admin on Sep 15

lands and farms are being taken over by housing subdivisions

This semi-rural area in a flood plain is subjected to heavy construction as houses are levelled, soil is scraped and farmers try to cope with the new reality.

There will only a chain link fence separating a herd of cattle from the new subdivision, with no buffer between city and country.

posted by admin on Aug 23

Dean Murdock
Saanich Councillor, and
Peninsula Agricultural Commission Liaison

Once again, our region is faced with the challenge of proposals to develop agricultural land for residential purposes. The market value of farm land as potential real estate is a tempting cash infusion for farmers struggling to maintain a profit.  But this is a short-term solution.  In the long run, it is no solution at all — and brings major consequences for future food production, land use, and our valued quality of life.

As our population grows, there is increased demand for development and pressure to break through our urban containment boundaries and encroach upon agricultural land. Many local governments in the province have done just that. But developing agricultural land to accommodate growth is killing the goose for its golden egg.  It compromises our food security and makes a mockery of our land-use plans (and the citizens’ input into them), while contributing to car-dependent sprawl.

Instead of paving our farmland for housing to generate real estate income, we should be looking for more ways to support our local farmers and their food production by keeping farming profitable. There are lots of options: creating “pocket markets” to sell local foods, encouraging local governments and businesses to bring in a “buy local” policy for events, and working with senior levels of government to create incentives for grocers to offer local food choices.

As we develop an Agricultural Action Plan, I welcome your ideas and suggestions on ways to support local farmers and encourage local food production.   Send me your ideas:

Buying local food doesn’t just support our farmers, it’s good for our health and environment too.  Local food is fresher and has a much smaller carbon footprint. Since it arrives fresh, it needs less (or no) preservatives.

Protecting and enhancing local food production starts with saving our agricultural land and maintaining our community’s urban containment boundaries. We have already planned, through public consultation, technical analysis, and council approvals, to concentrate future density in urban centres and to buffer farm lands from suburban intrusion.  It reflects our long-term commitment to a future that avoids further urban sprawl, reduces congestion and greenhouse gases, and ensures we have an abundant local food supply.

Let’s support our farmers and save our farmland.  Doing so will protect our quality of life, food security, our health, and our climate for now and future generations.

posted by admin on Aug 14

Manufacturing our local landscapes

Published: August 03, 2010 1:00 PM

A native black-cap bush used to grow beside the road just along from my place. It yielded tasty berries unlike anything you can buy.

To me the bush seemed such a treasure that in a dry August I carried buckets to water it. So I was shocked to see one summer morning that a neighbourhood-improver had tidied the road margin by leveling the ground and rooting out all vegetation, including my valued black-cap, for a couple of square metres.
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posted by Deb on May 31

Food tourism comes to Langford!

Langford is fortunate to be fairly close to the world-renowned destination for local food tourists – the Sooke Harbour House. A food tourist /journalist sought out the fine local food there, but also made a point of visiting a place in Langford where a foody feels at home.

In a newly published book, “The Locovore”,  Sarah Elton’s describes a generic cityscape when she, “took a wrong turn and ended up driving first through a commercial area lined with big-box American stores and then into a typical North American subdivision of single-family houses and two-car garages. The place was deserted. It felt like a Sunday night.”

Luckily, food tourism redeems this Victoria bedroom community as she describes how, “Finally after a few U-turns, I found my way to the [Smoken Bones] Cookshack. It must have been where everyone in Langford was eating that night, because there was only one spot left in the parking lot. Inside was like a bar during the Stanley Cup finals. …I picked up a rib and took a bite, It was absolutely delicious. … The meal was 100 percent local and unlike anything I’d ever eaten in a restaurant devoted to local food.”

She has glowing praise for Chef and owner, Ken [Hueston] because he “is committed to cooking with locally grown ingredients in a way that is accessible to everyone. …he believes that his restaurant epitomized a new local-food order in which food grown or raised nearby is the building block of all varieties of cuisines. And on Vancouver Island, chefs like Ken have led the way by enticing the public to eat regionally.”

This could be the first time Langford is mentioned in relation with the growing tourist trade in local food toursim. Too bad the author never wrote about what’s left of the very unique South Langford area where a couple of small productive farms and rural properties still exist, and where cows still graze on grass, chickens run free on the range and local food is growing. What an enticing and rare city scene would have been promoted to all the foodies out there.

This area is so far behind the development curve, that it is now on the front vanguard of a large growing trend to local food. But not for long – it has been disappearing and almost all of it is slated for development of suburbs in the race to be just another “typical North American subdivision of single-family houses and two-car garages”.

Reviewed by Deb Harper

UPDATE: Aug 17, 2011: Smoken Bones leaving Langford