Food & Agriculture
The five island communities of South Pender, North Pender, Mayne, Galiano and Saturna all have agricultural and food growing of varying capacity and scale. All have a range of common interests, issues and goals for their agricultural land base.
These island communities make up the Southern Gulf Islands Electoral Area within the Capital Regional District and each island community is a member of the Islands Trust. The Southern Gulf Islands Economic Development Commission was constituted as a Commission under the Capital Regional District tasked with facilitating economic opportunities that would benefit the Southern Gulf Islands as a region. A Food and Agriculture Strategy for this region became an identified project under the Commission. Funding provided by the Capital Regional District (Federal Gas Tax funds), the Ministry of Agriculture (in-kind services for the land use inventories and the water demand models) and the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC was secured to develop this food and agriculture strategy, which includes Agricultural Land Use Inventories and Agricultural Water Demand Models for the Southern Gulf Islands. The Southern Gulf Islands Food and Agriculture Strategy Steering Committee was identified as the representative organization to guide and facilitate the development of the SGI regional strategy. It is also to ensure that the strategy development is responsive to community needs at the local and regional levels.
Identified desired outcomes for this process include:
A sustainable and viable local agriculture and food economy;
Local community engagement that continues beyond the completion of the planning process;
Ownership of the outcomes of the process by the food and agriculture community to ensure the successful implementation of the recommendations;
A clear plan for moving forward that responds to the unique needs and situation of each island while providing a collective framework and approach for the archipelago; and,
The establishment of a supported food and agriculture vision for the Southern Gulf Islands.
The firm, Masselink Environmental Design has been awarded the contract to complete this work.
Agricultural Land Use Inventories for the five SGI islands plus identified smaller islands within the Southern Gulf Islands Electoral Area.
Agricultural Water Demand Models for the five SGI islands and identified smaller islands.
A food and agriculture Strategy for the Southern Gulf Islands Electoral Area with particular attention to the largest most populated islands.
SGI Food and Agriculture Strategy
The field requirements for the Agricultural Land Use inventories (ALUI’s) and Agricultural Water Demand Model (AWDM) have been completed and are available for review at www.growingislands.com. The Food and Agriculture Strategy will include a foundational Situation Analysis for the SGIEA that would include historical background on agriculture in the region, biophysical characteristics, an agricultural profile of each island among other factors. This component provides a basis for the food and agriculture strategy. This analysis has been completed and will be posted on the growingislands.com website by the end of October 2016.
The development and implementation of a communication and engagement plan in concert with the Southern Gulf Islands Area Food and Agriculture Strategy Steering Committee was developed through the creation of the growingisland.com website. This site has been used to provide for unrestrained access and sharing of information associated with the planning process. It is designed to be interactive to engage and involve the island communities and food and agriculture sectors. It has provided for opportunities to share the findings and outcomes of the process with the broader community and public. This website will likely remain an active tool after the completion of the Strategy process and during the implementation of the recommendations and actions.
The other key foundational document was completed in early October 2016, the Market Opportunities Assessment is view into the capacity and feasibility of a sustainable and robust SGI agricultural sector. This assessment will be available on the growingislands.com website by the end of October 2016.
The draft of the SGI Food and Agriculture Strategy is now out for review (soon to be available on growingislands.com ) and is the culmination of over a year of community meetings, SGI Food and Agriculture Steering Committee meetings, and the background document research. The draft Strategy includes SGI-wide recommendations as well as those which would resonate within the participating island communities. Each community had workshops on creating locally derived recommendations felt important to their agricultural future. A key finding was that many of these specific recommendations were common among all the communities. The final strategy recommendations reflect these commonalities. The strategy also includes an implementation plan or next steps which identify actions to be considered to continue the implementation of the Strategy’s key recommendations. This will include action recommendations with corresponding funding requirements and sources, responsibilities, priorities and timing.
The final SGI Food and Agriculture Strategy will be submitted for approval in the fall 2016.