While the provincial budget has yet to be receive approval in the legislature, the province is wasting no time in rolling out announcements related to its spending plans.
This week saw Premier David Eby and agriculture minister Pam Alexis join with social development minister Sheila Malcolmson and industry representatives in Vancouver to announce more than $200 million in food security measures.
The funding includes $49 million from Malcolmsonâs ministry to support food banks as part of $160 million in food security initiatives announced February 28. An undisclosed amount will come from the agriculture ministryâs budget to support ânew and enhanced programs to strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain and expand local food production from producers to processors and from packers to retailers.â
The funding includes support for agricultural producers to invest in projects that help them become more resilient to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events.
âWe havenât seen the details of whatâs in the dollars, but we hope there will be more connection of BC products being brought into the schools and helping support and feed the kids,â said Ray Van Marrewyk, a director of the BC Agriculture Council and greenhouse vegetable grower in Delta, who also called out the need to keep the food supply resilient in the face of more variable weather patterns.
When the heat dome hit in 2021, quality of produce from his greenhouse was impacted for weeks beyond the initial event.
âIt affects farmers every day when we have to deal with those challenges,â he says. âWe hope that some of the funding will be there to help us deal with changing our business and preparing our business for those events so that we can continue to provide local, healthy food for British Columbians.â