The latest session of the PEI Legislature began in mid-June with the traditional Throne Speech, read by the Honourable Antoinette Perry, Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island. The new minority PC government highlighted several areas they plan to address which will be of interest to our farmers, fishers, students, and advocates for poverty reduction and environmental issues. They include:

  • support a new Bioscience Skills and Training Initiative involving partnership between bioscience business, Holland College, University of Prince Edward Island, and Government
  • work with farming, fishing, and tourism industries to foster innovation and global prosperity
  • uphold the spirit and intent of the Lands Protection Act
  • consult on the establishment of a provincial Land Bank that helps keep land in appropriate use
  • complete and release the Water Act regulations within the next six months, seek further public engagement prior to full implementation
  • support the undertaking of independent local research to build knowledge and understanding of the current water resources
  • work with key industries such as agriculture and trucking to accelerate innovations that lower emissions
  • expand and further develop a long-term provincial school food program.

The full speech can be found online at the PEI government website.

John Bil’s book “Ship to Shore” has been shortlisted for the Taste Canada Awards in the category of Single-Subject Cookbook. The awards are being presented in Toronto on October 27, 2019. You can read our review of the book on our website and pick up your own copy in local bookstores.

Congratulations to Emily McKenna Ayles who was one of eight senior 4-H members from dairy clubs across Canada chosen to attend the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin from October 1 to 5, 2019. The eight youth were selected to represent the 4-H community in Canada at the largest dairy cow event in North America. These young dairy leaders will have the unique opportunity to engage and network with industry leaders, mentors, and employers who share the same passion for the dairy industry. They will further their knowledge, and broaden their perspectives through discussions with experts, as well as express their leadership and enthusiasm for the industry being showcased.

Congratulations also goes out to Jessica Reeves, recipient of the WI Woman in Agriculture Recognition Award. This recognition is for an Island woman making a major contribution to the PEI agriculture sector and is presented bi-annually by the PEI Women’s Institute.

Jessica Reeves is from Freetown, PEI, and as a teacher she has been instrumental bringing agricultural awareness to the education system and promoting local produce in her culinary classes. Reeves has also served on provincial and national organizations through both Atlantic and Canada Young Farmers’ programs known for celebrating excellence in Canadian Agriculture. She has received numerous awards and has been featured as a spokesperson for promotion of agriculture. She also sits on numerous other national committees, councils, and boards within the Agricultural Industry.

The federal government recently announced a national food policy. The Food Policy for Canada is an ambitious initiative; the product of consultation and collaboration with Canadians across the country. The Government of Canada heard from more than 45,000 Canadians, including food producers and processors, experts in environment, health and food security, Indigenous groups, non-government organizations, and community advocates.

The vision for the Food Policy for Canada developed through these consultations is: All people in Canada are able to access a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious, and culturally diverse food. Canada’s food system is resilient and innovative, sustains our environment, and supports our economy.

To realize this vision, the Government of Canada is investing $134 million through Budget 2019, which includes new initiatives to help achieve key objectives.
Also announced was the launch of a five-year, $50-million Local Food Infrastructure Fund, designed to support community-led projects that improve access to safe, healthy and culturally diverse food. Starting August 15, 2019, eligible organizations will be invited to submit an application through the first intake period for non-repayable funding of up to $25,000.

Other Food Policy of Canada initiatives include:

  • a new ‘Canada Brand’ and ‘Buy Canadian’ promotional campaigns that will aim to increase pride and consumer confidence in Canadian food;
  • support for community-led projects like greenhouses, community freezers, and skills training that address food challenges and food insecurity in Northern and isolated communities;
  • a challenge fund to support the most innovative food waste reduction ideas in food processing, grocery retail, and food service;
  • new funds to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency crack down on food fraud–the mislabeling and misrepresentation of food products–to protect consumers from deception and companies from unfair competition; and
  • to take the first steps to work alongside provinces and not-for-profit organizations towards the creation of a National School Food Program.

Despite the PEI’s government recent throne speech highlighting a provincial school food program, the pilot project that was set for this fall for nine schools has been put on hold.

The new government suggested that the timing of the election, coupled with logistical issues was to blame for the hold up. The project had been slated to start this fall, and bring fresh, local food to students’ plates. The concept had been tested in several schools last year and was eagerly anticipated by many parents, schools, and children alike.

Education minister Brad Trivers laid the blame with the former government’s choice to call the election in the spring, stating it impacted the program However, he did also state that the pilot project would have likely been delayed regardless, as the new government plans to evaluate it and many of the other programs that the former government were to implement.

Premier Dennis King confirmed that the PEI Liquor Control Commission’s Chief Executive Officer Andrew MacMillan is leaving his position to pursue an opportunity in the private sector.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Commission, making this a very difficult decision for me,” MacMillan said. “While the Premier has asked me to stay on as CEO, an exciting opportunity presented itself that I could not turn down. This is an opportunity that does not come along often. After much consideration, I believe this is the best decision for my family and career.”

Premier King praised MacMillan and his efforts as CEO. “Much has been accomplished during Andrew MacMillan’s tenure. The Commission has been well run, with a focus on social responsibility, innovation, and reform.”

Premier King announced James MacLeod, presently the Commission’s Director of Corporate Services, has been named acting Chief Executive Officer.

Islanders are invited to showcase the province and its primary industries by entering the annual Celebrate PEI Agriculture Photo Contest.

Photos can be submitted until July 19 in seven categories: Farmscapes; Commercial Fisheries and Aquaculture; Celebrating Farming Families; PEI’s Next Generation Farmers; Fresh from the Land; Animals of Agriculture; and the Wild Side.

Finalists will be showcased at the Celebrate PEI Agriculture Old Home Week event. A special People’s Choice category winner will be selected by popular vote during Old Home Week 2019. The winner will receive a grand prize valued at $500.

About Salty Staff

A diverse group of people, the Salty team works hard each month to bring you great stories about PEI's food and farming community.

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