Surrey-based vegetable farmer Roger Woo in a photo posted to The Farmhouse Bard website (thefarmhousebard.com).

Surrey’s ‘land matching’ farm pilot project grows region-wide

$25K in federal/provincial funding in 2018 for region’s ‘Craigslist for farming’ program

An agricultural “land matching” pilot project with roots in Surrey is growing in the rest of Metro Vancouver, too, thanks in part to investment from federal and provincial governments.

The goal of the project is to connect new farmers with those who have fertile land in the relatively expensive southwest corner of B.C.

Think Craigslist, for farming.

With $25,000 in joint funding for 2018, the government investment announced Friday (Jan. 5) “will help create opportunities for young and beginning farmers, leading to economic growth and helping to strengthen our middle class,” according to Lawrence MacAulay, federal minister of agriculture and agri-foods.

Regionally, the pilot program has been operating since the fall of 2016.

In Surrey last February, a website called farmableNOW.ca was launched by the City of Surrey and Young Agrarians as a “land-linking” portal focused on farming, with hopes of changing the city’s agricultural future for the better.

• READ MORE: Surrey launches ‘land-linking’ website focusing on farming, from February 2017

In addition to helping connect farmers with people who are leasing out agricultural land, the website also provides resources, including how to create a business plan, and connects newbies to companies that deal in things like equipment, fertilizer and seed.

“It’s a way to link people not just to land, but to link people to all of the pieces of the industry they will need,” Mike Bose, a fouth-generation Surrey farmer, explained at the time.

Friday’s funding announcement said the Metro Vancouver-wide project will be led by Young Agrarians in partnership with Farm Folk City Folk Society, in collaboration with Quebec’s L’ARTERRE.

“My mandate includes getting more young people farming, and making sure that they have the land to farm on through projects like the Metro Vancouver land-matching project is an essential first step,” stated Lana Popham, B.C.’s minister of agriculture.

“Part of why we established Grow BC was to help young farmers access land. I believe strongly that agriculture has the potential to unlock prosperity throughout our entire province, and we need farmland and farmers to make that happen.”

According to a government release, the pilot project in Surrey matched new farmer Roger Woo with David Feldhaus, a local land owner.

“Woo, a former chef with a passion for local, organically grown and sustainably farmed produce, was just the type of person that Feldhaus was searching for when he was looking to expand agricultural activity on his farmland,” according to the release.

“I knew I wanted to farm in B.C., but I saw significant challenges to acquiring the appropriate farmland in the Lower Mainland,” stated Woo, who runs The Farmhouse Bard (thefarmhouse.bard).

“Through the land-matching program, I’ve been able to find a supportive land owner who has agreed to let me farm his land. I came to this process with my farm dream, and have received step-by-step support to make it a reality.”

The land-matching project screens owners of “underutilized land and farmers ready to start a business, and supports the parties in the development of legal contracts.”

The goal is to create seven to nine new farm operations in the region in 2018 with secure leasing agreements.

The Metro Vancouver land-matching project is supported through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a five-year framework that co-ordinates federal, provincial and territorial agricultural policy and programs. The five-year GF2 policy framework came into effect on April 1, 2013, and provides “a $3-billion federal, provincial and territorial government investment in innovation, competitiveness and market development,” according to Friday’s government release.

“We are excited to see investment at all three levels of government in this program and the future of new and young farmers in B.C.,” stated Sara Dent, Young Agrarians B.C. program manager.

“Fifty per cent of farmers in Canada under 35 lease land. The prohibitive cost of farmland in southern B.C. means that we have to facilitate solutions to land access if we want to see a future generation farming the land.”

with file from Amy Reid, Surrey Now-Leader



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Letter: Don’t worry, government leaders thought shelter location through

They know there is a elementary school a block away with our vulnerable children.

Pitt Meadows councillors don’t support rail underpass

Gateway projects will need city support says MP Ruimy

People can now sleep at night on Katzie reserve in Pitt Meadows

Peace and quiet now predominate after gates blocked off to outsiders

Input sought for road works for Maple Ridge

Consultation on Haney Bypass upgrades

Traffic accident puts part of Maple Ridge into the dark

About 4,000 homes affected for several hours

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

Toronto man charged in double homicide

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Carpet bowlers have been excluded from BC 55+ Games and Canada 55+ Games

Gold medal carpet bowling winners not able to defend their titles in 2018

No crackdown, just education as BC Ferries’ enacts smoking ban

Fines and extra patrols not happening at this time as ban begins Monday

Police to provide update on unsolved 13-year-old B.C. girl’s murder

IHIT say no one has been arrested or charged in connection with Marrisa Shen’s death

Rural B.C. students score visit with Canadiens netminder Carey Price

Two students from the Caiboo Chilcotin can hardly wait to meet hometown hero Carey Price in Montreal.

VIDEO: Elk parade on Vancouver Island is awesome sight

They’re out in force for a morning stroll. Check out some of Youbou’s famous elk.

North Delta’s Colton Hasebe named BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s 2018 Champion Child

Colton takes the reins from 2107 Champion Child and Tsawwassen resident Taylin McGill

LIVE: B.C. announces anti-racism funding

Ravi Kahlon said money will go to B.C. Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OARH) program

Most Read