The Community Farms Program Feasibility Study provides a general overview of some of the opportunities and barriers faced by community farms in BC.
Specifically, this study looks at:
- securing land for food production;
- enabling affordable access to land for farmers; and,
- long-term leasing for food production.
Overall, community farms and the Community Farms Program (CFP) are operating in a challenging, but not insurmountable landscape. The BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (MAL), the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), and local governments all have potential roles in supporting the development and operation of community farms.
This study found that no significant legislation directly stands in the way of community farm development; however individual community farms face region-specific challenges in becoming established. It is the goal of the CFP to help community farms navigate these opportunities and barriers.
The Land Conservancy of BC and Farm Folk/City Folk acknowledge that MAL has a challenging job balancing support and regulation of a wide range of agricultural operations from small local farms to large-scale industrial operations. Activities such as streamlining regulations and working with local governments to support agriculture benefit the farming community as a whole, including existing operations, new farmers, and emerging community farms.
Communication and cooperation with local governments, MAL, and the ALC will be necessary to the success of the CFP. There are several community-style farms in BC already experienced in sustainable farming, sharing land and cooperative living. They demonstrate the feasibility and opportunity for further development of community farms in British Columbia.
We encourage use of this information, and request that The Land Conservancy of British Columbia be credited.
The Community Farms Program is administered by FarmFolk/CityFolk Society, founded in collaboration with The Land Conservancy of British Columbia. The goal of the Community Farms Program is to actively secure farmland for present and future food production. We bring together landowners, farmers, local communities, and resources to develop and support community farm models in BC. For more information, please contact us.
Community Farms Program Feasibility Study (pdf, 695 kb)