A new policy has been proposed by the B.C. First party which focuses on local food production and self sufficiency.

The proposed policy, released Sunday, is titled the B.C. First Agriculture and Land Policy. The policy focuses on increasing consumer’s ability to purchase locally produced foods, while also decreasing mass food production.

The policy will include a variety of guidelines, including allowing meat to be butchered and processed locally and to enhance local farming and meat production through the consumption of naturally grown products.

The proposal also stresses the importance of establishing a panel to investigate food production, importing and the use of genetically modified foods (GM foods). The party also outlines how it wants to encourage the preservation of farm lands.

The party considers it important to increase the production, distribution and consumption of locally grown agricultural products and hopes to increase the current rates from 50 to 85 per cent within the next 15 years.

B.C. First spokesperson Chris Delaney says the policy is designed to stimulate and enhance more natural food production methods and increase the diversity and amounts of food produced in the province.

B.C. First Agricultural Advisor Arthur Hadland, who currently farms in the Baldonnel area in the North Peace, says the province is uniquely positioned to achieve agricultural self sufficiency in a short period of time.

Hadland says that province has some of the best farmlands in the world. He says the key to success is ensuring practices which sustain farmlands and support a diversity of products are encouraged.

Delaney also expresses concerns regarding genetically modified foods. He says that the use of GM foods will need to be investigated and legislations may need to be introduced, to protect the health of British Columbians and the provincial agriculture industry.