Opinion: NFU in NB wants Local Food Security Act passed

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Will the NB government uphold campaign promise for local food strategy?

 The National Farmers Union in New Brunswick is calling on the Gallant government to uphold their campaign promise for “Developing a local food and beverages strategy to assist local growers and producers in developing their products and getting them to market […]” by passing Bill 11, Local Food Security Act at second reading on Thursday, April 30.

For farmers, legislation promoting and protecting the industry is essential for its growth. For New Brunswick, rural employment is essential to the survival of our province. For all New Brunswickers, having reliable access to healthy foods grown with some of the highest food safety standards in the world is key to our health and well-being.

Moving New Brunswick forward requires more than cutting a budget.  Promoting our local food economy will create employment, will allow small businesses to start, expand and thrive, which will result in increased industry and higher GDP, and more income and business taxes. In March 2015, NB’s average unemployment rate was 10.1%, with Northeast at an unemployment rate of 20.3%. To save our rural communities, agriculture is one effective solution to stimulate rural employment.

During last week’s (April 20) debate on this bill, Minister Rick Doucet called for Bill 11 to be defeated, as “the research must sprecede the legislation.”  This bill calls for the establishment of an Advisory Council as well as a local food assessment. The strategy and targets are to be put in place based on the findings of the assessment.

The NFU-NB is calling on all New Brunswickers, united by our common need for food, to stand up and ask the government to support the Local Food Security Act. You can join us on Thursday, April 30 at 2:30 in the NB Legislature for the final debate and vote. You can sign our online petition Support NB’s Local Food Security Act at change.org.  You can also call or email your MLA this week to express your desire to have year-round access to NB grown and processed foods.

 

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