Island Pollinators  


There is a crisis right now on Vancouver Island: about 90% of the honey bees on the island disappeared last winter! We aren't sure why, but the provincial government is making the situation worse by failing to investigate what's happening and allowing people - for the first time in 22 years - to import honey bees from the mainland.

Kudos to Greg Horne for making this documentary! Watch it and you'll know why island bee-keepers swarmed the BC Legislature this fall...and why it is so important that we protect our precious island pollinators.

I also want to acknowledge the resolution adopted at the recent BC Honey Producers' Association AGM:

The BC Honey Producers' Association [shall] send a letter to the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands stating that we have lost confidence with the Apiculture Program and are seeking change, with more consultation, to enhance communication and increase the sustainability of beekeeping in British Columbia.

Please take a moment to support my efforts to persuade the Ministry of Agriculture to address this serious situation: click here.

Thank you,

Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South

Agriculture and health on critic's mind  


Reprinted from the Invermere Valley Echo

NDP Agriculture Critic Lana Popham
 speaking to students at 

DTSS in Invermere.
Darryl Crane/echo photo
By Darryl Crane

Published: November 16, 2010 1:00 PM

Students and residents of the Columbia Valley had a special visitor when MLA for Saanich South and NDP critic for Agriculture and Lands, Lana Popham came to the area.

Popham was elected MLA for Saanich South on May 12, 2009 and is a well-known environmental and community activist, businesswoman and organic farmer.

Popham was on her first visit to the area and took the time to learn more about concerns locals have in the agricultural industry.

“I have not had the opportunity to come into this area and see what is going on agriculturally. I am very committed to sustainability. This area is amazing for what it is doing. I tour many towns that have the vision but the action here takes my breath away,” Popham said.

Popham started her tour in Cranbrook before moving on to Kimberley where she met with some local ranchers.

She then came north to Invermere to visit farmers who are involved with aspects of agriculture that are close to the MLA’s heart.

“They are doing things in a similar setup to what I used to do and it made me want to get out there and help them because I missed it so much,” Popham said.

Popham said she has heard that some people feel that there are fewer new farmers but she is of the belief that people do want to become involved with the industry but they want to do it in a new style that is concerned about sustainability and local food.

“This is a teachable moment where consumers are begging for local food and we have people who want to produce it. The problem is that we do not have the provincial support in agriculture right now to make it easier to do that,” Popham said.

When looking at the future of agriculture in British Columbia Popham had some ideas on what could be done by the government to help.

“We had a great program up to eight years ago. It was a buy BC program. Farmers want our products to be marketed to us. They want to have labelling so we know where products are from. It was very successful.

"The Ministry of Agriculture is so ill-funded right now that there is no money for that but it is hard for me to understand why we would not invest in a program that is going to give some strength to our domestic economy,” Popham said.

Another idea that the MLA has involves looking at the way the food in B.C. is being distributed and the possibility of better using the rail-system to move food throughout the province.

As Popham continues to talk to people in B.C. about the issues surrounding agriculture in the province she is working on a document to highlight both the issues and ideas on how to make the industry more efficient.

While in Invermere Popham stopped in to talk to students at David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) and see some of the programs which involve food at the school.

“The greenhouse and the chefs' program were the attraction. Connecting kids to food is critical right now. We are seeing skyrocketing Type 2 diabetes in kids and that is related to what they are eating. We are feeding them sugar-laced, fat-ladened, highly processed food. That has to raise alarm bells,” Popham said. She added that she was very impressed with the chefs' program and the food that they are making.

She also passed on a great deal of credit to the teachers at DTSS who are responsible for helping students in their lives.

In the end Popham said she was grateful to have had the chance to visit the area and for all the hospitality shown to her during her trip.

Thank you Cranbrook, Kimberley and Invermere!  


Thank you Cranbrook, Kimberley and Invermere!

From food security to renewable energy - here are some pictures of amazing British Columbians doing the hard work to plan for the future! I was on agriculture tour of the area this week and was really impressed! Click to the right to see the photo album.

One of the highlights of the tour was learning about successful efforts to connect kids to healthy local food. There is a Chef's programme in Invermere bringing good food back into the school system. I was even treated to a lovely lunch with freshly harvested salad greens from the school greenhouse. Here is a recipe of the (delicious!) tofu burritos we had for lunch.

Don't knock it until you've tried it!

Tofu Burritos

Yield 12 Burritos

375 ml. Onions, finely diced
15 mL Canola oil
30 mL Garlic, minced
20 mL Chili powder or Chipotle puree
1 L Red or green peppers, finely diced
10 mL Paprika
30 mL Cumin, ground
10 ml Oregano leaves
500 ml Corn
2 pkg Extra firm tofu
150 mL Tomato Paste
30 mL low-sodium soy sauce
125 Chopped Black Olives
12 Whole wheat tortillas
Pepper to taste


Sauté the onions, garlic, and chili powder or chipotle paste in oil for three minutes.

Add peppers and continue cooking on medium heat until the onions are soft. Add the paprika, ground cumin, oregano leaves, corn and crumbled tofu and continue to sauté.

When the vegetables are tender, stir in the tomato paste, low-sodium soy sauce, olives and pepper to taste.

Place 250 ml of filling into the centre of each tortilla and form into a burrito. Place seam side down onto a parchment-lined hotel pan or baking dish.

Bake at 180 C, covered with foil for 20 minutes, or until heated through.

Recipe modified from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for a Crowd.

Weekend Reading!  



Two very interesting reports have recently been released - excellent weekend reading for everyone interested in agriculture, sustainability and food security!


"Every Bite Counts", by the CCPA:

And a draft strategy for a regional food system in Vancouver: