Grand Forks and Boundary Regional Agricultural Society proposes food charter to city

The Grand Forks and Boundary Regional Agricultural Society (GFBRAS) is looking to protect the quality of the food.

Vice-president Sheila Dobie (right) and the Grand Forks and Boundary Regional Agricultural Society proposed a food charter to Grand Forks city council on April 2.

Vice-president Sheila Dobie (right) and the Grand Forks and Boundary Regional Agricultural Society proposed a food charter to Grand Forks city council on April 2.

With some worried about genetically modified food, the Grand Forks and Boundary Regional Agricultural Society (GFBRAS) is looking to protect the quality of the food.

To that end, GFBRAS has proposed a food charter and was looking for Grand Forks city council to consider adopting it at the April 2 regular meeting.

GFBRAS was looking for the city to support its commitment to food security and a number of values in the charter, including:

The ability of everyone in the region to have access to safe and nutritious food regardless of economic status, or other factors beyond their control.

All residents having access to information and skills to get the proper nutrition.

A local and regional food production system that would supply nutritious food to the residents of the region, sustainably.

The society said that committing to food security strengthens the local food sectors growth and development, and that in turn would strengthen the local economy.

To promote food security, GFBRAS would encourage council to work with local residents, agencies and businesses and other levels of government to achieve the following goals:

Championing the right of all residents to safe and nutritious food by developing policies that support secure, dignified and ongoing access to an abundance of food produced locally.

Championing the importance of local seed and food production to federal, provincial and regional government partners.

Supporting agriculture through initiatives that highlight the importance of local farmers by working towards an economy that values food producers and the land they manage.

Advocacy for the protection of local producers from genetically engineered crops, which GFBRAS says would threaten purity of genetic seeds and the economic value of the local organic industry while exposing farmers to legal challenges.

Recognize the value of water and advocate for responsible use.

Adopt policies that promote and help residents produce their own properties or elsewhere.

Encourage use of the local community garden to increase food self reliance, improve health, contribute to a cleaner environment and enhance community development.

Consider applications for city-owned land to be leased for food production.

Support events that highlight the region’s diverse foodshed.

Foster a civic culture that inspires locals and city departments to support local food producers and food programs by adopting food purchasing practices for city-sponsored events that serve as a model of health, social and environmental responsibility.

Support and encourage the continued separation of organic materials form the waste system.

“We (GFBRAS) are feeling pleased and encouraged that the City of Grand Forks will continue to work with us on the issues outlined in the charter,” said Sheila Dobie, GFBRAS vice-president. “Especially that they’re interested in looking at implementation models of what this could look like in the future for the city and we’re looking forward to working with them on those ideas.”

She said that the society thought that it would be a good way to encourage the city to make a value statement around agriculture and food issues.

“It’s a great way for us to initiate a working relationship with them,” Dobie said.