The last days of summer herald much more than the beginning of another school year. Here on the South Island, on the Saanich Peninsula and in parts of the West Shore and much of Metchosin, it’s time for farmers to harvest the late summer crops they have been nurturing since the first days of spring.
September also marks that time of the year when festivals like the Luxton Fall Fair, Metchosin Day and more take centre stage for a day or a weekend in their home communities.
While each one is unique, they all share a storied tradition of celebrating the rural elements that form the historical roots of their community. Many of the participants come from families that have made a living tending the soil for generations.
They provide the fruits, vegetables and proteins that constitute staples in our diet, and serve as a living testament to a way of life that grows more distant with each passing year.
We live in a region where much of the remaining land suitable for farming is being gobbled up to pave the way for development. While that flies in the face of what we have learned about the importance of food security and the need to preserve the land that nourishes us, the short-sighted pressure to maximize profits through the pursuit of concrete seems to take more precedence with each passing rezoning application.
That’s why it’s so important to support local farmers by not simply purchasing their crops, but by voicing your support for the protection of farmland at the municipal level.
Next time you go to your local farmers’ market or find yourself at one of the festivals that celebrate their work, take a moment to thank them for their efforts and devotion.
And if you attend one of the many fairs celebrating their historic culture, make sure you postpone the obligatory midway long enough to give your kids a sense of what’s involved in producing the food many of us assume just shows up in the grocery store.