Chilliwack was well-represented this week in Victoria as two local farmers were front and centre at the provincial government’s proclamation of B.C. Agriculture Day.
Sharmain Bennie is a hatching egg producer from Chilliwack who was with Premier John Horgan and Agriculture Minister Lana Popham for the official proclamation on Nov. 7.
“As a young farmer, it was really encouraging to see how committed our government is to the sustainability of agriculture,” Bennie told The Progress Thursday. “They essentially committed an entire day to celebrate farmers and ranchers in our province, and to hear about our successes and challenges.
“As British Columbians, we are incredibly blessed to have access to the same fresh food products grown locally right here in our province, regardless of where we choose to shop. As farmers, we understand that building trust is a long term, generational journey that requires transparency and continuous improvements. And we are committed to that journey.”
|Chilliwack farmer and BC Agriculture Council chair Stan Vander Waal.<|
Along with Bennie, Horgan and Popham was B.C. Agriculture Council (BCAC) chair Stan Vander Waal who is also president-owner of Rainbow Greenhouses in Chilliwack.
“BC Agriculture Council and the government have an important role to play in supporting our agri-food system,” Vander Waal said in a press release. “By proactively working together, we can achieve mutually beneficial policies, regulations and programs that support the sustainability and growth of B.C.’s land and water based industries.”
BCAC is the only provincewide general farm organization representing the farmers and ranchers of British Columbia. BCAC serves nearly 30 commodity associations who in turn generate 96 per cent of the farm gate sales in B.C.
Popham said her NDP government is “planting the seeds of a stronger agriculture sector by revitalizing the Agricultural Land Reserve.” Popham said she is also restoring the Buy BC marketing program.
“The hard work of B.C. farmers puts food on our tables and brings jobs to our communities,” Horgan said. “We’re encouraging people to Buy B.C. food first because when people Buy B.C. they are supporting their neighbours and boosting our economy.”
Sixty-three thousand British Columbians work in B.C.’s agriculture, seafood and food and beverage processing sectors, which generates more than $14 billion a year.