February 19, 2014 - 9:21 AM
KAMLOOPS — Backyard beekeepers and chicken farmers rejoice! The city is finally moving forward with a committee geared towards figuring out what urban agriculture should look like in our city.
Residents, staff and council have discussed the idea of urban agriculture casually for quite a while but this week representatives will officially be named to the Urban Agriculture and Food Systems Advisory Committee and then the real work on creating a sustainable and reasonable plan for urban food will begin.
During the consultation phase of the Agriculture Area Plan it became clear there was a need for a separate plan to deal specifically with urban agriculture, project planner Maren Luciani says.
The intent of the urban agricultural committee is to not just deal with backyard produce, but the commercial aspect of food produced in Kamloops. The two-year process that was the Agriculture Area Plan included 24 roadshow presentations in the community. One of the things they heard a lot about was 'value added opportunities' in the food sector such as cold storage and distribution.
“We've heard there's a real gap in the community,” Luciani told council back in October at a budget workshop.
Gleaning, community gardens and dealing with waste are things council would like the committee to look at, as are backyard pollinators. A group came before council back in November asking for urban beekeeping to be looked at and council agreed to have staff look into it separately, though it will likely overlap with work set to be done on the urban agricultural plan as well.
At a December meeting Coun. Pat Wallace says while she hopes a survey of eggs available within the region is part of what the committee will look at she hopes a recommendation for having backyard chickens in the city doesn't come forward.
The city called for four volunteers to sit on the committee and Anne Grube has been chosen as the representative from the Farmers' Market Society, Hermandeep Hothi as a food distribution, processing and retail sector representative and Frank Blom and Deanna Hurtsfield as public representatives. Staff will help advise the committee on technical components and current regulations.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014