Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP and NDP agriculture critic Alistair MacGregor has introduced legislation to create a national soil health strategy for Canada.
With the increasing impacts of climate change and global food insecurity, he professes a national strategy will help to maintain, enhance and rebuild the capacity of soils to produce food and fuel for years to come.
“Healthy soils are the foundation of sustainable food production, enhanced biodiversity and cleaner air and water for present and future generations,” noted MacGregor. “Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast depend on our ability to produce good food to keep themselves, their families and the environment healthy. Our soil plays in a crucial role in supporting agricultural productivity and in meeting global challenges, including food security and climate change.”
MacGregor’s bill encourages farmers and other land users with research, education, training and knowledge transfer in best practices and will also establish an office of a national soil health advocate. The bill also requires the Agriculture Minister to consult with representatives of provincial governments, Indigenous governments and stakeholders in the agriculture and agri-food industry.
“Farmers are on the front line of the fight against climate change – few feel the impacts of our ever-changing weather systems more than they do,” added MacGregor. “This bill is about ensuring they have the tools they need to keep doing their jobs to the best of their ability. When we support our farmers and food producers, Canadians see the benefits in healthy food and a safer, greener environment.”
Stakeholders from across the country are supporting the NDP bill.
“Healthy soil is the foundation of farming and food,” said Karen Ross, director of Farmers for Climate Solutions. “Climate change makes it imperative that we turn our attention to strategies that increase the resilience of our farms and reduce emissions in our sector. Practices that enhance soil health and measuring impacts to understand how we can keep improving are fundamental to the future of farming in Canada.”
“Canada’s soil is a precious and fragile resource that provides many benefits to all Canadians,” said Kier Miller, chair of the Soil Conservation Council of Canada. “Healthy soil cleans our air and water, creating habitat that supports biodiversity, and helps mitigate climate change. Congratulations to MP MacGregor for his leadership on this.”