A legislature committee is requesting submissions regarding soil health and carbon sequestration as part of a consultation designed to inform the province’s agritech and regenerative agriculture strategy.
The Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fish and Food is accepting written submissions through November 17. Public meetings will be scheduled for November.
“Committee members are interested in hearing about opportunities to increase carbon content in agricultural soils, support BC’s agritech sector, and encourage the use of made-in-BC innovations,” said committee chair and Port Moody-Coquitlam MLA Rick Glumac. Deputy chair is Delta South MLA Ian Paton, also Opposition critic for agriculture.
The committee has held four meeting since being convened in February. The most recent, on June 12, received several submissions from representatives of government, industry and academia, including the BC Agriculture Council, Farm Folk/City Folk (a member of the Farmers for Climate Solutions initiative, with which the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food has aligned its interests) and Sean Smukler, a soil scientist with the UBC Centre for Sustainable Food Systems.
Several of the presenters contributed to the final report of the agriculture minister’s advisory group on regenerative agriculture and agritech, which the province received in May and included 10 recommendations accompanied by detailed actions to ramp up the sustainability of BC’s agricultural sector in the next 12 to 18 months.
The top recommendations included a producer-centric approach to identifying best practices; establishing and communicating baselines of soil health and determining realistic goals for improvement; developing demonstration projects and extension services to support the best practices for local contexts; and leveraging established government initiatives like the Environmental Farm Plan and Beneficial Management Practices programs to encourage the expanded adoption of sustainable agricultural practices.
The nine-member committee was formed at the direction of Premier David Eby in February. The committee is set to report back to the legislature by the end of February 2024.
The committee originally included 10 members, but was reduced to nine with the resignation of Green Party member and Saanich North and the Islands MLA Adam Olsen.