September 23, 2019

B.C.’s Food Security Task Force has been hard at work hearing from local residents, businesses, and industry organizations about ways the B.C. government can support and grow the agritech and agriculture sector in B.C. Since our launch in mid-July, we have met with several stakeholders and held study tours in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Comox Valley.

I want to thank the more than 200 people who have submitted feedback through our engagement page on the B.C. government website. Due to the interest in our topic, we have extended the online engagement period to October 15, 2019. Some of the things we have heard during the engagement process to date:

  • B.C. has many natural advantages when it comes to agriculture and is well-positioned to provide food globally as the impacts of climate change increase
  • Agri-tech is not just about supporting large scale corporate farming. It’s also about technologies that support local, independent farmers to ensure they remain viable
  • It is difficult to hire employees who are trained in modern agriculture practices. Other jurisdictions, like California and the Netherlands, have more advanced and cohesive training and education systems
  • Consumer preferences (e.g., meat and dairy) are changing and B.C. needs to ensure our agricultural sector is prepared to address this shift in demand

The Task Force has a busy fall ahead as we prepare to meet the ambitious timeline set out by the B.C. government. We will have visits to the Peace River and Cariboo district to engage with local stakeholders, as well as visits to the University of Guelph and the Protein Supercluster in Saskatoon to learn about cutting-edge research on agri-tech in Canada. We’ll also be organizing a webinar to provide opportunities to engage digitally for those we can’t meet in person.

I want to thank everyone who has engaged with us to date and encourage those who care about this issue to submit your ideas and feedback to us. I will provide another update later this fall.

Peter Dillon, Chair, Food Security Task Force