April 26, 2022 By BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food
The B.C. Land Matching Program (BCLMP) delivered by Young Agrarians has achieved more than 200 matches between farmers and landholders.
“Congratulations to all the farmers and landholders who are a part of this amazing milestone for the B.C. Land Matching Program, and thank you for providing fresh, nutritious food for our communities,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food in April. “Through this program, we are building resilient local food systems by putting more land back into production while also reducing barriers for new and young farmers so we can ensure a bright future for farming in B.C.”
Local farmer Sarah Wilson is the operator of Pendleton Farm in the Comox Valley, B.C., a rotational vegetable market garden on 0.6 hectares (1.5 acres) of farmland in Merville in the Comox Valley. She was supported by a BCLMP land matcher to help develop her lease agreement with the landholders. Pendleton Farm’s produce is available through a community-supported agriculture program where people can buy fresh produce from the farm, at the on-site farm stand or the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market, and is also featured at local restaurants.
“As a new farmer starting a business, I didn’t have access to capital for purchasing land and I was lucky to connect with the landholders I now lease the property Pendleton Farm is on,” Wilson said. “Young Agrarians and the B.C. Land Matching Program provided us with professional knowledge and support as we negotiated the lease, and both the property owners and I were made much more comfortable by having these resources, which help people get off to the right start when navigating all the hurdles of farming.”
The BCLMP is delivered by Young Agrarians and offers personalized and regionally based support and services from the program’s five land matchers.
“Affordable access to land is the number one barrier that new and young farmers need to overcome today to start farms,” said Sara Dent, executive director, Young Agrarians. “We are thrilled to see the positive impact the BCLMP is having to support farmers to get on land and grow food. With an aging farming population and the number of farms declining annually, it is important that we invest now to ensure the next generation of farmers have the best chance possible to grow resilient future food systems for our communities.”
The BCLMP is part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food’s Grow BC initiative that supports young farmers and food producers seeking a career in agriculture. It addresses major challenges for new farmers, such as gaining access to land. The program is part of the Province’s New Entrants Agricultural Strategy, which looks to increase the number of new and young farmers working in B.C.’s agriculture sector.
The B.C. government is investing $390,000 into the BCLMP for 2022-23, for a total of approximately $1.8 million since 2018.
The total number of matches (203) made on approximately 3,686 hectares (9,108 acres) in regions throughout B.C. include:
- Metro Vancouver/Fraser Valley: 51 matches on 71 hectares (175 acres)
- Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands: 59 matches on 54 hectares (133 acres)
- Okanagan-Thompson: 53 matches on 1,782 hectares (4,403 acres)
- Columbia Basin: 20 matches on 35 hectares (86 acres)
- Central and northern B.C.: 20 matches on 1,744 hectares (4,309 acres)
Matches range in size from less than 0.4 hectares to thousands of hectares of farmland.
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