Forgoing pesticides for soil health on Bowen

For the past several months, a subcommittee of the Bowen Island FoodResilience Society (BIFS) has been meeting to discuss the possibility of a ban on the use of pesticides and herbicides for cosmetic purposes on Bowen Island. Vancouver and 39 other municipalities in B.C. have enacted such bans over the past several years and we at BIFS believe Bowen should join them. 

One of BIFS’ mandates is to promote the use of regenerative agriculture, which is all about restoring the health of soil which has been degraded by the overuse of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, and other modern agricultural methods. It is also possible to create healthy soil where there is none to begin with, using the permaculture technique of “lasagna beds.”

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It should come as no surprise that the use of pesticides and herbicides is detrimental to the microbial life in the soil, which is the very basis of a healthy food web. When that web is disturbed at its most fundamental level, the health of everything and everyone further up the food chain is affected. That includes us. 

One of our committee members, Dr. Bruce Lanphear, is a Health Sciences professor at Simon Fraser University (SFU). Lanphear’s research has shown links between children’s ill-health and pesticides (among other neurotoxins prevalent in the environment). Another member of the committee, Dr. Phil Gregory, is professor emeritus at University of British Columbia. Gregory has summarized the case for ban on cosmetic pesticides in the form of a beautiful poster which can be viewed on his website.  

As part of our ongoing research into the possibility of a cosmetic pesticides ban on Bowen Island, we put together a short survey to gauge fellow islanders’ interest in this topic and would love to have your input. To see Phil’s poster and/or take the survey, please email and we’ll send you the links. You can also visit the Bowen Island FoodResilience FaceBook page. The closing date for the survey is Aug. 20. 

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