BC’s Education Brownout

The BC Liberals maintain that education gets more money every year, and that teachers are misrepresenting the situation by asking for more funding. However, a close analysis shows that current funding fails to meet the true cost of sustaining public schools, resulting in a structural funding shortfall. Read the full story in The Tyee

New Westminster, First City in Canada to Adopt a Living Wage Policy

The City of New Westminister has become the first municipality in Canada to adopt a living wage policy. A living wage is calculated as the income two working parents would need in order to support a family of four with adequate food and shelter, and adequate funds to participate in their community. In Metro Vancouver, a living wage is calculated as $16.74/hour. View New Westminister City Councillor Jamie McEvoy’s presentation here.

Federal Liberals Focus on Food Policy

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has proposed a national food policy that aims at encouraging Canadians to eat better, while boosting the agricultural sector. The policy would include funding to help low-income children eat healthy foods and improvements to food inspection standards for imported foods. Read the full story in The Globe and Mail.

Vancouver Launches Curbside Composting

The City of Vancouver chose Earth Day to launch its new curbside composting program. As of today residents can pitch fruit and vegetable food scraps in their yard waste bins. In 2011 the program will expand and allow for the composting of meat, dairy and bread products. Read the full story in the Vancouver Observer.

Vancouver Board to Lay Off Dozens of Staff, Close School, Drop 10 Days

The Vancouver School Board says it’s getting ready to lay off dozens of staff, close at least one school, and shorten the school year by 10 days, citing an $18.1-million deficit it blames on the provincial government. Provincial funding for schools has failed to keep pace with rising labor costs and mandated energy -efficiency retrofits for buildings. Read the full story in The Globe and Mail.

Community Gardens Taking Root

The City of Richmond has finalized a 3-year agreement with the Richmond Food Security Society, providing the group with a $15,000 grant to maintain the city’s four commuity gardens. The region has recently seen a surge in the popularity of community gardening, city farms, and food security. Read the full story in The Vancouver Sun.

Vancouver council approves backyard chicken plan

Vancouver City Council adds its name to the list of over 300 North American cities that have amended their by-laws to allow for backyard chickens. The enthusiasm for backyard chickens stem from issues of sustainability, food security, and consumption of locally grown food. Read the full story in CTV News.

Urban Farms Herald Green City ‘Revolution’

As urban populations grow at a rapid rate, communities around the world are turning to city agriculture to produce cheap, locally grown produce. City farms provide nutritional benefits and bring communities together. China, Japan and Cuba have successfully run city farms for decades, and the idea is growing popular in the U.K., Africa and North America. Read the full story in CNN World.

Dawson Creek Joins Forces with Shell Canada to Recycle Sewage

Dawson Creek will soon begin construction on a new wastewater treatment plant that will enhance the quality of 400,00 cubic metres of sewage per day so that it is useable by the oil and gas industry. The cleaner wastewater can then be use by the oil and gas industry, thereby reducing water use and transportation costs. Shell Canada agreed to pay for the construction. Read the full story in The Globe and Mail.