B.C. program matches new growers with farmland
August 2, 2023 By Government of British Columbia
More B.C. farmland is being put back into production, providing increased food security for British Columbians, with more than 11,300 acres leased by new and young farmers through the B.C. Land Matching Program (BCLMP).
“The next generation of B.C. farmers are going to play a pivotal role in the province’s food security,” said Pam Alexis, minister of agriculture and food, in a press release. “By helping to match them with affordable and productive farmland, we are supporting producers starting or growing their agricultural business while ensuring we have more fresh local food available to feed and nourish our communities.”
The program, delivered by the Young Agrarians resource network for farmers, has helped match 284 new farmers with land throughout B.C., with 54 matches made in the past year.
Farmers such as Jason Stashko and Krystyna Delahaye, who began their first farming venture in less-than-ideal soil, are now thriving at their Seed of Life Farm. The couple found it challenging to find affordable and suitable land in the Lower Mainland until they were matched through the BCLMP to two acres of fertile farmland in Surrey.
“When we sought to put down our farm roots, we were discouraged by the unavailability of land, rental costs and the various steps involved,” Delahaye said. “When we reached out to the BCLMP, we found help liaising with landholders, lease navigation and helpful advice all delivered with professional knowledge. They helped us begin our journey successfully and made us feel confident in starting Seed of Life Farm.”
Delahaye and Stashko are now successfully growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers at their farm. By supplying local restaurants, stores and farmers markets, they have fostered local partnerships and offer seasonal community-supported agriculture boxes.
The BCLMP offers one-on-one support through the program’s five land matchers who work to connect farmers with land throughout the province. The supports help new and established farmers start and expand their farm operations and create more regional and sustainable farmland. The result is economic development and greater food security for British Columbians.
“Access to land is the number-one barrier facing new farmers today,” said Sara Dent, executive director, Young Agrarians. “With today’s land prices, it is essential that new and established farmers can access affordable land to grow food for the future of our local food systems. We are glad to have the support of the province in this important work of strengthening B.C.’s food security.”
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