Saanich broadening rules for farm markets

To compete with grocers, municipality looks to lift sales restrictions for farmers

Peruse the aisles of the Root Cellar Village Green Grocer and you’ll get the impression it’s not like any other grocery store in Saanich.

That’s because it’s zoned as a farm market, as opposed to a commercial property, and that zoning comes with restrictions on what the owners can sell.

“The old bylaw states we aren’t able to sell red meat and some ready-made stuff like a local provider’s hummus or sea salt,” said Adam Orser, owner of the Root Cellar.

Next week a public hearing will be held to discuss removing restrictions on the zoning, which could allow the two operating farm markets in Sannich – the Root Cellar and Galey Farms Market – to be more competitive businesses.

“They’re competing against grocery stores and they’re operating like a David and Goliath situation,” said Coun. Paul Gerrard, chair of the Healthy Saanich committee.

“They’re trying to compete against these large grocery stores and they’re not allowed to sell some of the products grocery stores can sell. We need to support our local farmers, otherwise they’re just going to go under.”

Currently the bylaw allows for the sale of seafood and poultry at farm markets, but non-dairy processed foods – from dips to honey – aren’t allowed on shelves.

The proposed amendment, if approved, would allow for the sale of locally raised beef, pork, lamb and bison, as well as non-dairy processed foods.

“I would far prefer to go up Oldfield Road and buy local berries, rather than buy them cheaper in the store and they’re imported,” Gerrard said.

Saanich’s official community plan includes a strong focus on food security and local agriculture. “It’s all right to say we’re going to support it, but if you don’t buy their products because you know you can buy it cheaper in a supermarket, then you can’t blame people for going out of business.”

Orser calls the proposed update a “welcome change.”

“It’ll definitely work to legitimize the things we’re doing within our business. We want to use Island producers for all of our meat products,” he said. “It allows us to remain competitive in those markets, as well as a local producer.”

The public hearing is July 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Saanich council chambers, 770 Vernon Ave.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Esquimalt café cooks up connections for all abilities

A Kinder Cup focuses on positivity, inclusivity and connection

Free bike exchange program available to Greater Victoria kids

The Re-Buy-Cycle Shop in Langford offers free bikes for young learners

Central Saanich sparks up new opening burning bylaw

New bylaw offers ‘balanced approach’ between status quo and tougher provincial regulations

Oak Bay father’s testimony at murder trial like plot of ‘bad low-budget movie:’ Crown

Crown alleged Andrew Berry’s ‘entire story of Christmas Day is a lie’

PHOTOS: Hundreds gather in downtown Victoria for Extinction Rebellion climate protest

The rally is the kickoff to the Global Climate Strike Week of Action

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Singh campaigns in Toronto, May in Winnipeg, as Liberal and Tory leaders pause

All parties expected to be back on the campaign trail Sunday

Possible Canadian cases of vaping illnesses being investigated: health officer

‘I think that will be really important to address the overall trend of youth vaping’

Area 51 events mostly peaceful; thousands in Nevada desert

Three more people were arrested Friday on the remote once-secret military base

B.C. First Nation signs agreement to return its land on Vancouver Island

The land on the east coast of Vancouver Island will be returned to the We Wai Kai Nation

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Most Read