(Citizen file)

(Citizen file)

Editorial: We must grow our ability to feed ourselves

The equipment needed for farming can be specialized and expensive.

One of the deterrents for people who want to get into farming is the cost.

Land, of course, is the biggest expense and stumbling block, but not far behind can come equipment.

The equipment needed for farming can be specialized and expensive.

Maybe you only need to use it once a year, but when you need it, you need it. But since you only need it once a year, wouldn’t it make sense to be able to share the wealth, so to speak, with fellow farmers, so everyone could benefit?

We were excited to hear that North Cowichan council has given a grant-in-aid to Cowichan Green Community to set up a “lending library” of farm equipment in this very vein.

Not everyone on council supported the plan, with some arguing that farmers in the past hadn’t had the benefit of such a thing and had still built farms themselves. Which is true, of course, but wouldn’t they have liked it if they had had the opportunity of checking equipment out of the library? Shouldn’t we want something better for the future than what our forebearers had in the past?

We need to encourage farming at every turn. Food is, after all, literally the stuff of life. And right now we import a huge percentage of what we put on our plates, in spite of the fact that we have the geography to grow a great deal more of it than we do.

If we cannot feed ourselves we are hostage to those who do.

Not only that, but we put ourselves at the mercy of their problems, such as drought and wildfires (California).

Consider the current vanilla shortage and envision it on a vast scale with a variety of products much more integral to our everyday nourishment. It’s not as much the stuff of a disaster movie rather than a real possibility as we might like to think. Again, consider the years-long drought in California, from whom we import a great deal of our produce, and the rising cost of food.

Think of this as a step towards self-sufficiency, but on a macro scale.