I remember the voices of dissent when the government created the Agricultural Land Reserve. Yet how lucky we are today that we can be having a discussion about keeping land in the reserve.
At the rate farm land was being eaten up for development, it might not exist at this time when we are finally seeing food security as an imminent issue.
The fruit industry once fed the Okanagan Valley with its jobs in orchards, packing plants, canneries, co-ops, box factories, irrigation and the research station among others.
The lake, the mountains and fresh fruit in the fruit stands drew tourists by the score.
Agriculture and its related industries created a viable livelihood for families.
Somehow, selling off the land, creating huge developments and making mega bucks became all-consuming.
Grocery stores brought in food from all over the world and we shipped more of our winter food from tropical lands.
We no longer needed to have our hands in the soil.
We have dammed and diverted rivers and dried up aquifers to water deserts.
We have paved over paradises all over the world.
We have become richer even as we have watched the third world’s struggles to survive.
We have felt relieved and somehow immune.
Now we are aware that it is not a sustainable way to live and many of us are relearning how to garden and preserve what we grow.
The need for good agricultural land is becoming ever more apparent.
We have an opportunity to create a sustainable future for ourselves and our children, but only if we continue to reserve that land for farming.
Thanks to those people who have organized the Stop the Swap and Save the Summerland ALR movement.
The website, the rally, the attendance at the council meeting, Coun. Peter Waterman’s researched report on housing availability and all the letters to editors and people who have spoken out on the issue have been really encouraging.
I am sincerely hopeful that the council will hear the groundswell of support for the ALR and will look to other means to develop and recreate Summerland as a wonderful place to grow up and live.