Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Saskatchewan Agriculture: Is it time to take a different approach?

Green Party of Saskatchewan
November 2, 2011

With farms getting bigger and bigger, taking more and more people out of the rural areas and into the cities, it is time to really do something to encourage people to remain or to return to the small towns and to the rural areas.

The industrial agriculture approach is killing the social fabric of Saskachewan. The major cities are growing at unprecedented rates but the small towns, not affected by oil or potash, are dying.

Industrial agriculture involves far too many toxic chemicals to the tune of over 100,000,000 litres every year in our province according to 2006 figures, Statistics Canada. Compound this with hundreds of thousands of tonnes of fertilizers, these practices are contaminating the ground water, lakes, rivers and the air we breathe. Pesticide residues are found in our grains even to the scale of rejection of certain products by overseas customers. Chemicals and disease are killing too many beneficial insects, including bees, which could cost us billions of dollars in the next few years.

A Green Party government would:
  • Assist farmers financially to move through the three-year transition period necessary to change from conventional to organic farming
  • Set up a provincial system to help organize small producers to market their goods, also expandng the existing farmers markets. We will make sure the labeling of food includes the presence of GMO (genetically modified organisms) where applicable
  • discourage large industrial agriculture, encourage small farms to be viable which would ensure that more money stays in the province and not to large corporate companies
  • work with farmers/producers to grow and process more of our own fruit and vegetables like cabbage, root crops, apples, etc all proven to be possible in Saskatchewan
  • A Green Party government would ensure that policies and practicies in the agricultre sector would reverse the rural depopulation trends that have been taking place for the past 50 years.
What are we leaving our children? What we are experiencing is not all healthy growth, but corporate growth. Let us continue to be a "have province" by examining exactly what we have and determining whether or not it is sustainable or is it just short term opportunity.

The average Canadian farmer is 58 years old. Who will grow our food in the future? Hopefully our children will, not some corporate farm from another country

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