Agriculture strategy meetings garner feedback

  • Dec. 20, 2010 2:00 p.m.

Attendance was a little light at some recent Agriculture Strategy meetings, said Misty Isles Economic Development Society executive director Travis Glasman, but it could have been a reflection of the holiday time period. He said five people attended in Port Clements and Masset and nine in Sandspit, but in Queen Charlotte 22 members of the public showed up and in Tlell there were 17. Mr. Glasman said the participants gave MIEDS a lot of positive feedback with most community interest aimed at backyard and community gardens. In Tlell, farming and commercial production were key interests. Key priorities also came out at the meetings and he says upcoming meetings (possibly an All-Islands style symposium) in February will highlight priorities and recommendations that came out of these meetings. Two more input meetings will be held in January in Skidegate and Old Massett as well. Already, Mr. Glasman has seen a theme from the input. He says education on all aspects of the food network on the islands is important – from the implications of future freight costs, to nutritional considerations for islanders choosing between fresh local produce or produce that has spent two weeks in transit. Eating with the seasons and teaching people how to start their own gardens are also important. He’d also like to compile more information on the future impacts of sea level changes and what that might mean for farmland. MIEDS received approximately $90,000 to complete the Agriculture Strategy, with funding from the Investment Agriculture Foundation, Coast Sustainability Trust, Northern Savings Credit Union. Reports included in the discussion document include ones recently prepared for MIEDS on soil amendments, food production, agroforestry and growing grain on the islands. The discussion document will continue to be available for comment and can be found on the MIEDS website at Mr. Glasman encourages people to comment by Jan. 7. After that time the comments will be compiled into a new document that will be reviewed by the public in February. He hopes to have a document by the end of March that will contain recommendations and an implementation plan with champions for each priority named, along with timelines. “This will not be just a list of priorities left on the bookshelf,” he said. The strategy will be brought to the communities and to the Council of the Haida Nation for ratification by the end of March.