City council shows its hunger for Richmond Food Charter

Non-binding set of principles aims to conserve and ameliorate farmland

Richmond councillors have unanimously endorsed a non-binding set of principles to guide the city in strengthening its local food production.

“It’s a no brainer. Everyone should support this,” said Coun. Ken Johnston at a council meeting Monday evening.

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The Richmond Food Charter was created by a number of organizations but put forth to council by the Richmond Food Security Society (RFSS).

“Food charters address the food system holistically from production through processing, consumption and waste, and guide for policy planning, and program development,” noted RFSS executive director Anita Georgy, in a letter to council.

By endorsing the charter, council has vowed to “preserve and strengthen land and water resources that support food production” in Richmond. It will also “foster a culture that values and supports farmers and farm work.”

Johnston acknowledged the importance of local food production to buffer consumers from volatile international food prices, especially from California and Mexico.

“I called this the winter of the $8 cauliflower,” he quipped.

Coun. Harold Steves said the charter can help guide regional food system planning. He added that he hopes it can create a road map for diversifying food production, as Richmond has been shifting to monoculture farming, such as big dairy and berry farms.

The full Food Charter and report can be found here.

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