Cherries are not the problem

I have to respectfully disagree with Holly Baxter’s letter on the impact of cherry orchards on local food security published July 5. While I agree food security in our area is a concern, cherries are not the issue.

One of the biggest threats to Canadian food security is the loss of farm land to development. Once paved, it’s almost impossible to reclaim land for agriculture down the road.

And the pressure from developers, often aided by many municipalities in B.C., to develop farm land seems relentless.

Locally, we have also lost much land due to the historic subdivision of land into tiny 10-acre or less lots. These tiny plots of land are not commercially viable for most forms of agriculture.

Most farmers will say that their primarily objective is to generate a profit.

Good ones will also worry about preserving the land for future generations. Farming is tough in the Okanagan.

Summer temperatures are rising. In the dry years, we all call for farmers to reduce irrigation.

Out of control residential development in rural areas is leading to conflict as residents beside farm operations realize that farming is noisy, dusty, smelly and disruptive in ways that their real estate agent never mentioned. We should congratulate agricultural entrepreneurs aiming at the luxury cherry market.

They’re creating jobs, helping to grow Canadian exports and keeping farm land in operation rather than trying to sell it for development.

And when the price of Okanagan grown spuds exceeds that for cherries, I’m sure they’ll switch to spuds in a heartbeat.

Ritchie Leslie

Vernon