Welcoming Remarks Director Darrell Mussatto

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2 Welcoming Remarks Director Darrell Mussatto Today s focus is on what Metro Vancouver and municipal governments can do to strengthen the local food economy The ideas discussed today will be used to develop an Action Plan for implementing the Regional Food System Strategy

3 Welcoming Remarks Agriculture is important to the social and economic landscape of our region Over 2,800 farms in Metro Vancouver: from small to medium-large commercial operations in the ALR to small urban farms in commercial districts One in 8 jobs in region is associated with agri-food industry

4 Regional Food System Strategy Director Harold Steves This is a critical time for politicians, at every level, to grapple with the challenges & opportunities for making our food systems more sustainable & resilient Protecting farmland is important once farmland is developed it is likely lost forever Goal of the ALR is preserve options for growing food into the future

5 Regional Food System Strategy Recent developments Local farmers were more vocal about the need to do things different Caught in the middle of operating in a high cost region while global markets drive prices down Disappearance of large food processing facilities in the region, limiting markets for smaller operations The public has become more interested & concerned about food issues

6 Regional Food System Strategy Responding to this situation, Metro Vancouver took a leadership role in developing the Regional Food System Strategy. Development of the Strategy was based on extensive consultation, research and examination of best practices We heard that food is an integral part of the economic, social and environmental fabric of the region and the variety of local foods contributes to region s quality of life.

7 Regional Food System Strategy In February 2011 the Metro Vancouver Board adopted the Regional Food System Strategy Since then, Metro Vancouver has Protected farm land through an agricultural land designation in the Regional Growth Strategy Collaborated with Ministry of Agriculture on actions to promote agricultural viability Introduced an organics ban, effective 2015, that will close the loop on food waste turning food into compost on a large scale

8 Regional Food System Strategy Municipalities are grappling with food and agriculture too Richmond & Township of Langley have developed Agricultural Viability Strategies Surrey, Delta, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have Agricultural Plans Vancouver has a Local Food Strategy City of North Vancouver is developing a Food Charter And there are other important initiatives across the region

9 Regional Food System Strategy Building the local food economy will involve Improving the financial viability of commercial farms operating in close proximity to urban development as well as the small entrepreneurs growing food in urban areas Expanding value added operations in the local food supply chain Increasing local demand for local food

10 Regional Food System Strategy Food is a complex and multi-jurisdictional issue Metro Vancouver is a relatively minor player in the regional food system But we can potentially leverage change is we are engaged with the right partners and focused on a few strategic priorities

11 Growing the Local Food Economy Panel The Golden Horseshoe Food & Farming Alliance: Michael Wolfson, City of Toronto Economic Development Farmers Markets: Elizabeth Quinn, BC Association of Farmers Markets Invest North Fraser: Sandy Blue, District of Maple Ridge Strategic Economic Initiatives

12 Growing the Local Food Economy When it comes to growing the local food economy, the most important action local governments can take is: What follows are the top 2 ideas from the 8 table discussions as voted by the participants around the table

13 Top two ideas from each table Municipalities and ALC should hold to the Official Community Plans (OCPs) when it comes to exemption applications Challenge: municipalities compete with each other yet strengths vary therefore capitalize on different strengths (use regional perspective food is regional) Formalize government collaboration (to avoid duplication/maximize effect) Grow process, distribute here Western Canada frame Regional brand Relationship building Set the stage and provide infrastructure support (consider ways to support in all aspects of supply chain)

14 Top two ideas from each table Review regulations including policies and bylaws to ensure the success of/encouraging local farmers New business models Innovation in farm waste mgmt Value added or processing for offsite use Find ways to incent young farmers and to support them, ie scholarships Investing in infrastructure Places to set up farmers markets Place to allow more than just direct marketing, for processing and clustering

15 Top two ideas from each table Local Tax Disincentives to removing farmland: ie Surrey if you take 1 acre out of ALR, then you need to put back 2 acres of land in Surrey of equal or better land quality Agricultural Economic Impact Assessments Facilitate food waste management (small to medium operations; easy permitting) Local governments should have food/agricultural programs & staff Long-term permanent structures eg Bellingham model Ontario Govt Funds, GSF, to sole source (hire full time staff)

16 Top two ideas from each table Put local food in OCP Need municipal liaison or contact person that will link with local food producers, groups and other stakeholders and will help to guide process Problem is limited understanding at local level of food issues/system Strategy for incorporating agri-food into OCPs and other local government plans (i.e., waste) Centralized cities density to support farmers markets Urban farms: operations within city boundaries special needs (limited space Distribution at community centres for Community Supported Agriculture parking, processing, washing facilities

17 Building and responding to the demand for local foods Panel Talk about Local food campaign: Julie Olmstead, Communications, Overwaitea Food Group Commercial farm stands: Alf Krause, Krause Berry Farm New urban farms: Zsuzsi Fodor, Vancouver Urban Farming Society

18 Building and responding to the demand for local foods When it comes to building the demand for local foods, what are the most important actions for local governments? What follows are the top 2 ideas from the 8 table discussions as voted by the participants around the table

19 Top two ideas from each table Urban farm and commercial farms need support from the city zoning, policy, & integration into Official Community Plan (OCPs) + densify neighbourhoods (include farmers in the discussion) Support events and campaigns We Local, next great food contest & Take of a bite of Oregon Awareness building/education of local foods Children Partnerships with community/school groups Community gardens Cultural shift: promote cost effectiveness of healthy living Identify champions that can move things forward

20 Top two ideas from each table Policy and regulation to reduce barriers; to enable through land use; to support and grow community programs e.g. canning, preservation and storage; accessing/growing municipal grants programs Local food portal on municipal website Municipalities to produce/facilitate how to buy local guide : change habits, cooking style, education, etc Local food purchasing contracts (ie U of T) Pull municipal governments together Reprioritize federal focus to basic rights: Food and Water and then put policies together to support that Encourage connections between healthy eating & healthy people As well as public amenity benefits of agriculture

21 Top two ideas from each table Get local councils to work more closely with school boards to expand/coordinate school programs Bring food to the community: pocket markets, community centres, schools, recreation centres, chef demonstrations Zoning and tax incentives to encourage local food production and sales Education on what is grown and when processed in your areas Mandate or allow a % in purchasing contracts for local foods Encourage infrastructure : agri food hubs and innovation centres

22 Top two ideas from each table Raising profile of agriculture in the region Agri-tourism promotion Circle tours Governments can t make the change but they can help to facilitate it, i.e., through a strategy for supporting local food and agriculture in cities

23 Lunch People who love to eat are always the best people. Julia Child

24 Creating the conditions to better serve the local food system Panel Embracing innovative technologies: Co-gen & Greenhouses: Linda Delli Santi, BC Greenhouse Growers Association How to get agriculture air emissions approval: Ray Robb, Regulation and Enforcement, Metro Vancouver Challenges for adding value: Alistair Johnston, BC Food Processors Association Managing Land use: Bert van Dalfsen, Strengthening Farming Program, Ministry of Agriculture

25 Creating the conditions to better serve the local food system When it comes to creating the conditions that would better serve the local food system, what are the most important actions for local governments? What follows are the top 2 ideas from the 8 table discussions as voted by the participants around the table

26 Top two ideas from each table Formation of information clearing body, i.e. Regional BC Food Systems or Regional Agriculture Committee Establish citizenry group to report to council food system focus bringing in different stakeholders/perspectives - flows into committee cycle Remove redundant regulations and not over regulate allow flexibility, address layers and be coordinated/consistent MV to conduct feasibility studies farmlands (regional level looking at needs) Build primary and tertiary jobs through food hubs, incubator farms and innovation centres & research (who would fund regional/provincial industry?) Could be duplicated in many municipalities like farmers markets.

27 Top two ideas from each table Bring back home economics & diet/nutrition into school curriculum Ag in classroom every year: teach how to shop/buy & bring back value of food Ministry of Agriculture should educate local politicians on value of agriculture land in order to reduce development pressure. Need to demonstrate value of retaining agricultural land: $ benefit of leaving land in the ALR - and against the interest of politicians to approve development Provide public assurance that municipalities are considering community s best/health interests, e.g. regulation for food waste processing

28 Top two ideas from each table Policies that allow access to land for food activities (including production, consumption) Support local food production Support regional hubs for some services (not all hubs do the same thing) Location specific signage telling the public what is being grown/produced Raise awareness to 98% of population (define what we need to tell the public what is the message? ) Finding ways for regulations to not be onerous: streamlining? Reduce processing time?

29 Top two ideas from each table Waive taxes for first few years of food processing business. One stop page; FAQ for small businesses looking to get started Local governments can ensure agriculture is in conversations about economic development Engage people in the conversation about ALR

30 Next Steps: 1. Develop Draft Action Plan for consideration by Metro Vancouver s Regional Planning & Agriculture Committee Refinement/revision 2. Further community input and comment from partners Develop final draft 3. Metro Vancouver Board adopts Action Plan Partners begin implementation

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