Since the devastating floods in the Fraser Valley, the market has been an island surrounded by flooded roads. The area around it is under an emergency order. The past week’s events have made the vulnerabilities in B.C.’s food system glaringly obvious – weaknesses that exist not just in B.C., but across the country, and given the urgent warnings about climate change, Canada’s food system is only going to become even more vulnerable. “As the world changes, said Evan Fraser, director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, “the system has to change.”
Experts point to other alternative farming models as resilient too: moving agriculture indoors into greenhouses, building vertical farms, and regenerative farming practices aimed at creating healthier soil, but it is the job of governments to incentivize such models, Professor Fraser said.
“That’s not on farmers,” he said. “The market does not reward them for doing that. The policy structure does not reward them for doing that.”
In a statement, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said Ottawa has pledged more than half a billion dollars in new programs focused on sustainable farming, including $200-million to help farmers adopt practices aimed at improving soil health and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
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