Communities Supporting Farmland, Farming and Farmers
Published by The Land Conservancy of British Columbia April 2010
Many communities in BC are concerned about food sovereignty and farmland preservation. Communities are starting to look to farmland trusts as one means of providing permanent preservation for locally significant farms and ranches. These properties may be threatened by subdivision, development, or sold to non-farmers/ranchers.
The primary purpose of a farmland trust is the preservation of farmland and associated ecological and heritage values. They can also engage in other activities that help keep land in food production.
The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a province-wide zoning system, similar to zoning used by local governments, to protect agricultural land. As urban development pressures rise, there is drive to remove land from the Agricultural Land Reserve. The Agricultural Land Commission (who oversees the ALR) does not preserve agriculture land (land can be removed from the ALR) nor act directly to keep farmland in production, support farm succession, ensure affordable access to farmland or protect ecological integrity and heritage values. Farmland trusts have a role to play in farmland preservation through receiving land donations, agricultural covenants and other measures to support on-going, sustainable farming.
A Review of Farmland Trusts: Communities Support Farmland, Farming and Farmers summarizes and analyzes information from farmland trusts across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, in conjunction with other information sources, to support development of regional and provincial farmland trusts in British Columbia. There are eight sections to this report. Sections 1 and 2 describe farmland trusts and why they are important. Section 3 discusses structure and governance while Section 4 addresses strategic planning. Farmland Trust activities are covered in Section 5 and the question of financial sustainability is addressed in Section 6. Section 7 offers overall conclusions and recommendations, followed by Section 8 providing an annotated list of information sources. Sections 1 to 7 contain a set of conclusions specific to each topic.