FREDERICTON - Today, mayoral candidate Matthew Hayes launched his official platform release in front of the Sunset U-Pick on Community Gardens and Local Food to an audience of residents and media figures. He wants to foster a healthy community that participates in urban agriculture.
“Local agriculture has a multitude of benefits,” Hayes says. “Local food growers provide business opportunities that can make Fredericton a more self-sustainable city.”
The city needs to facilitate this by protecting the lands that can be used for urban agriculture.
“The Sunset U-Pick was zoned for residential development, but local residents prevented it. They shouldn’t have to defend against this kind of thing.”
Hayes’ plan addresses issues such as the red tape involved in establishing a community garden.
“Local food could be a source of revenue, but at the moment it’s a cost to the city. We have lands that are being underused, but that require maintenance,” says Hayes. “As mayor, I would work with community groups to eliminate the barriers facing local agriculture.”
The audience was enthusiastic about Hayes’ plan, including local resident Shelley Pronk. “Why are we paying people to mow these lands when residents are begging for community farmland? There is land within the city that we could use for our own benefit.”