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Metro residents value farmland – study

December 2, 2009  ByMarg Land


December 1, 2009,
Vancouver, B.C. – A new study released recently finds that members of the
public across Metro Vancouver place a high dollar value on the multiple
benefits local farmland offers.



December 1, 2009,
Vancouver, B.C. – A new study released recently finds that members of the
public across Metro Vancouver place a high dollar value on the multiple
benefits local farmland offers.

An Estimate of the
Public Amenity Benefits and Ecological Goods Provided by Farmland in Metro
Vancouver
found that residents across the region identified local food, green
space and wildlife habitat as the top three benefits of farmland. The study was
conducted for the Fraser Basin Council by agrologist Mark Robbins in
collaboration with the Public Policy Program of Simon Fraser University.

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Metro Vancouver
residents were surveyed to find out what they would pay if invited to preserve
1,000 acres of local farmland. Across all households in the region, the public
value worked out to $58,000 per acre each year, as much as ten times the land’s
annual market value for food production.

Support for the study
was provided by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. (IAF), the Real
Estate Foundation of B.C.
and the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.

“It is important to
consider the sizable benefits Metro Vancouver farmlands provide,” says Stephen
Mullock, Real Estate Foundation chair. “This research will inform sustainable
land use decision making and advance the conversation about how our communities
use and conserve land.”

The findings reinforce a
2008 Ipsos Reid public opinion poll commissioned by IAF. Among British
Columbians with at least a little knowledge of the Agricultural Land Reserve
and the policy of preserving farmland, the vast majority (95 per cent) say they
support the preservation of farm land. According to IAF chair, Stuart Wilson,
the study is significant because it puts a dollar value on these public values
in Metro Vancouver for the first time.

“Improving public
knowledge and support for agriculture is one of our top priorities and the
reason we funded this study,” said Wilson. “It gives land use planners and
policymakers another tool to use when making decisions about farmland in the
Lower Mainland.”

The full report is
available on the website of the Fraser Basin Council.


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