Community Farmers in BC

Building Local Food Systems for Sustainable Communities

Community Farms Survey Report

March 2009

This Community Farms Program report emerges from a collaborative effort between FarmFolk CityFolk (FFCF), The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC), and Simon Fraser University (SFU).

A survey of existing community farms was conducted in spring 2008 by Dr. Hannah Wittman (SFU) with the participation of FFCF and TLC program staff.

More than 20 BC farms have been identified by FFCF and TLC as leaders in sustainable organic farming practices, cooperative farm management, and commitment to farmland protection.

This study was undertaken to identify key operational strategies practiced by existing farms that operate within a Community Farm framework in BC, and to identify challenges for the implementation of new and existing community farms.

In the report, Dr. Wittman concludes that community support for agricultural land protection, increased opportunities for agricultural education and apprenticeship, and clear but flexible tenure and governance models for farm business operation are essential for building the capacity of community farms in BC.

She recommends further research, evaluation, and sharing of experiences on how to best build and assess community capacity for farm development. And because there is no one replicable model for community farms, research focused on further exploration of these diverse models of agricultural cooperation will help evaluate how each example works in diverse situations.

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