As a local farmer and president of the Powell River and District Agricultural Association, I was very disappointed with Janet May’s article “Farmers split on common goal,” April 9.
In my opinion the article should have included interviews and opinions from the two groups—local farmers and small markets—that could be adversely affected if Society for the Advancement of Local Sustainable Agriculture (SALSA) and Full Circle Farm (FCF) were successful in moving forward.
Should SALSA/FCF go forward, farmers could very well be imposed with further regulations and restrictions at a time when there is little, if any, profit for them. Additionally, feed prices would barely drop (if at all) with bulk buying. Transportation costs determine the costs of our animal feed. As such, having a one-stop-shop farm and supply store will unlikely lower prices of feed.
The retail outlet of the FCF will have a definite impact on the small producers who sell at local markets including the Open Air Farmers’ Market, Kelly Creek Farmers’ Market and the Winter Market. These markets could potentially shut down—a devastating loss to a community that values small, local business.
To the best of my knowledge, the SALSA facility will be built using grants and donations; FCF will rent the facilities and grounds from SALSA. While they may have the overhead of rent, they will not have the overhead of a mortgage, taxes, purchase of equipment, land, et cetera. SALSA may be a non-profit society with the intention of providing educational services but FCF will be a retail store.
If FCF and SALSA go forward there will likely be a large cost to the community. Along with more regulation, small farms may lose business and consumers will ultimately have fewer choices. In the article, Paul Schachter said, “We want to produce organic food using good methodology and the lowest cost, but not at the expense of undermining local farmers.” Whatever SALSA and FCF’s intentions are, I strongly believe local farmers and businesses will ultimately be affected and possibly undermined.
Creekside Farm, Valley Road