Backyard farming fight has high stakes countrywide
Our values have to be decided by the public
By Derek Spalding,
Nanaimo Daily news
November 26, 2010
The shutdown of a rural farm on residential property in Lantzville has sent ripples through the urban farming network across the country.
Bylaw officers ordered Dirk Becker and Nicole Shaw to stop growing food on their Fernmar Road farm because it violated home-business regulations that do not include agriculture. Lantzville politicians say they want to grant Becker and Shaw a temporary-use permit while they consult the community about zoning regulations and urban farming.
Local food production advocates from across Canada will be watching this saga play out as it could set a precedent for the sustainability movement that has taken hold in communities in nearly every province. Health experts say there is little to no risk involved with growing food in backyards for public consumption, but many municipal bylaws do not include agriculture in residential zoning. As more people grow food close to home, there may be a need to change the outdated regulations, say leaders in the urban farming community.