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LETTER: Potato commercials seen in new light

The P.E.I. Potato Board says the Island needs more scientific data on the potential impacts of high-capacity wells on local watersheds.
Islanders, are we willing to agree “that where we come from, it takes an Island to grow a good quality potato”?, asks the letter writer. - RF Stock

“What does it take to grow a good quality potato? It takes an Island.” Remember those potato industry commercials filled with beautiful Island scenery, potato fields and hard-working potato farmers portraying the image of wholesome farming practices that “have respect for the environment”? I certainly am remembering the commercials now that Environment Minister Stephen Myers has announced the long-awaited Water Act will finally be implemented. And, the King government will permit farmers to circumvent the deep water well moratorium through holding ponds. These holding ponds don’t just collect snow and rain water as members of the public are often given to believe. They pump water from wells 24/7. I now see the commercials in a whole new way. The potato processing industry is taking an Island to grow potatoes, but not always to the benefit of our environment, Islanders, or farmers. It takes large acreages of land that have apparently suffered greatly from less-than-friendly environmental farming practices. It has taken water, although the industry likes to pretend otherwise. And now, with the government’s blessing, it will take even more at no charge to the users and likely with little oversight or accountability. So Islanders, are we willing to just sit back and agree “that where we come from, it takes an Island to grow a good quality potato”? Or are we going to start demanding that our elected government, and the minister of Environment, work for all Islanders to protect our land, water and environment in a process that would ensure a good quality potato can be grown in a sustainable manner. The time is now to hold both government and the big players in the industry accountable. Environmental time is running out for the Island.

Yanira Greener,



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