Land must be used for agriculture

Municipalities throughout B.C. have tended to look upon agricultural lands simply as a source of taxation and as a land-bank.

Dear Editor:

I’m going to take a lot of these concepts from a book written by Dr. E. F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful – Economics as if People Mattered.

So far, municipalities throughout B.C. have tended to look upon agricultural lands simply as a source of taxation and as a land-bank for development, as a quarry for exploitation if you will, much like a gravel pit is used for extraction.

Those of us involved in the agriculture “industry” have a much deeper understanding of what it means to be part of our towns and cities, of our province and of our country.

Besides having a deep affection for the soil, and for the food it produces, we have four goals (or tasks) that we need to fulfill – health, beauty, permanence, and productivity:

o To keep man in touch with living nature, of which he is and remains a highly vulnerable part;

o To humanize and ennoble man’s wider habitat;

o To bring forth the foodstuffs and other materials which are needed for a becoming life for others, and;

o To provide ourselves and those that depend on us with a living income.

We cannot achieve these goals through tourism, sightseeing or other leisure-time activities.

We need to keep people on the land, with their hands in the soil, having the gratification of producing a product that they can use for their own fortification as well as others.

If we decimate our agricultural land reserves we will die.

We cannot depend on food supplies coming from afar forever.

“Instead of searching for means to accelerate the drift out of agriculture, we should be searching for policies to reconstruct rural culture, to open the land for the gainful occupation to larger numbers of people, whether it be on a full-time or a part-time basis, and to orientate all our actions on the lands towards the ideals of health, beauty, permanence and sustainability.”

Frank Martens