File photo of Lush Valley’s farm gleaning program.

Comox Valley Food Policy Council proposes agricultural plan

Members of the Comox Valley Food Policy Council hope to develop an Agricultural Plan in order to support growers, build the local food economy and to increase access to healthy food.

The group – a collaboration between citizens and government officials — has asked the regional district to hire a consultant to complete the plan, estimated to cost about $70,000.

The council and partners would seek out other funding opportunities, or support the CVRD to find matching funds through the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, Real Estate Foundation or other funders.

“Once we have a good, solid plan, we have a better chance at leveraging funds,” Maurita Prato, council co-ordinator and executive director of Lush Valley, said at CVRD committee of the whole Jan. 14.

Area C director Edwin Grieve asked if the plan would include aquaculture, which he said “represents about a $40-million driver” in the Valley.

“It becomes a much larger project if it’s aquaculture as well,” said Spencer Serin, a CVFPC member who sits on the Comox Valley Economic Development Society board.

Area B director Arzeena Hamir said aquaculture is generally not part of agricultural plans because the federal government funds strategic planning for the aquaculture industry.

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