By ABEY SCAGLIONE
Local abattoirs help the environment by providing local food and decreasing our demand on fossil fuels. We cannot meet our climate goals without local food and in order to keep Salt Spring animal agriculture viable we need a local processing facility.
Local abattoirs save farmers time and money on transportation costs, which very well could be the deciding factor in whether a farm is able to produce food for their community. We need local farmers and specifically those producing meat, one of the most nutrient-dense foods there is and necessary for the long-term health of our population, both for the food itself and because well-managed animals enrich the soil and enhance biodiversity.
The need to support local agriculture is of utmost importance. We may never need a police officer or firefighter in our entire lives but we need a farmer three times a day to provide the meals we eat. We must take steps to support farmers and supporting local abattoirs is a very important step.
Local abattoirs provide resilience in our food system and are a vital resource that warrants the financial support offered to other community services such as the theatre and pool. While we applaud arts and culture in our community, we cannot survive without food and water.
At this time the Salt Spring Abattoir does not receive tax funding and therefore I am urging the community to support this community-run not-for-profit organization with a $30/year membership e-transferred to firstname.lastname@example.org (please include your full name and email in the comments box). While the abattoir is always looking for volunteers, you are not under any obligation as a member. All that membership requires is your financial support of $30 per year.
The Salt Spring Abattoir faces rising costs that they don’t want to transfer to the already struggling farmers. Staffing continues to also be an issue, not only in finding qualified staff but due to the issue of finding affordable housing on the island.
While the abattoir society continues to explore long-term funding opportunities through provincial, federal and local government, if just 10 per cent of our community population got a membership, that would mean approximately $33,000 in funding that would allow the abattoir to take full advantage of the valuable infrastructure already in place in order to support local farmers who provide food security for our community.
We must keep animal agriculture viable on Salt Spring Island and in order to do this we must have a local processing facility.
The writer is part of the family that operates Ruckle Heritage Farm.