Phillips Farmland Fundraiser
With all the food you can get in our supermarkets, you wouldn’t know B.C. faces a food security crisis. However, the majority of what we eat is imported. In 1970, B.C. farmers grew 86% of the fruits and vegetables we consume. Today, through a combination of growing population and farmland developed for housing and industrial uses, it is just 43%.
Given our predicament, one would think our food security is assured by B.C.’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). Not so. Applications for ALR exclusions are growing all over — Delta, Maple Ridge, Richmond, Sooke, etc. Compliant bureaucrats and politicians are granting them.
The Madrona Farm in Saanich is potentially in such a situation. Its owners want to sell the land. Even though it is in the ALR, there is no obligation for owners to farm ALR land. In fact, a clever ploy by developers is to sit on the land for a few years — even dump fill on the fields — and then claim the land should be excluded from the ALR because it hasn’t been productive. (The Madrona farm produced 128,000 lbs. of food last year.) If you look at a satellite image of the area, you can see the farm is surrounded by residential development.
The newly-formed Friends of Madrona Society (FoMF) has entered into an agreement with The Land Conservancy of B.C. (TLC) to purchase the Madrona Farm to keep it as productive agricultural land. To help the FoMF raise $1.4 million, Phillips Brewing will be releasing a Blackberry Wheat Beer in September that is made with 150 gallons of berries picked and juiced on the farm. Partial proceeds of the beer’s sales will go to the FoMF.
According to Matt Phillips, “the farmers who currently rent the farm are producing tons of local produce, contributing to the cool gastronomical scene that is developing here, something we are very supportive of.” Now, by enjoying Phillips beer, you can also contribute to our food security.