WATCH: The City of Victoria’s proposal called “Growing in the City” would allow backyard gardeners to sell excess produce at a stand or to neighbours. Monica Martinez reports.
Farming is hard work, but it’s a labour of love for Heather Parker who’s been running her urban farm City Harvest Co-op for almost 10 years.
She sells directly to restaurants, customers and at farmer’s markets contributing to the local food movement and encouraging people to grow their own produce.
“The more you do it yourself, the more you appreciate how much work it is and after a little while you are happy to go to the farmer’s market and have us have done it for you,” she said.
Parker is supportive of the City of Victoria’s efforts to promote urban agriculture.
The proposal called “Growing in the City” would allow farm stands in Victoria giving backyard gardeners or urban farms the right to sell raw, unprocessed foods on-site.
Victoria city councillor Jeremy Loveday said you can’t get more local than buying fruits and vegetables from your neighbours.
“It could be extra apples off your tree, or maybe it’s kale you grew in your garden, or maybe honey from your beehives. sold in a little farm stand in front of your yard,” he said.
“As we move forward, food security is a bigger and bigger concern. Right now we don’t grow a lot of food in the city so this is a chance for us to build concrete steps forward to allow people to grow food and help enhance our local food systems.”
But urban farmers are taking issue with one specific point in the proposal, a clause making urban farming subservient to development, essentially removing protections around the land.
Right now, there is no specific language around urban farming and development.
“I think that’s what we would most like to see, is rather than any kind of blanket policy, leaving it without policy so we can examine each case on its own merits,” said Parker.
Loveday said he doesn’t support that specific change to the Official Community Plan either. Council will hear people’s opinions Thursday night in a public hearing before voting on the issue.