Victoria, BC– The Capital Regional District (CRD) Board has received the Regional Foodlands Access Program Feasibility Study containing recommendations to help address farmland access and increase local food production across the region. To gauge interest in a regional foodlands trust, the CRD will send a letter to ask municipalities if they support a regional foodlands trust. The letter will also ask them to assess potential municipal lands for inclusion.
“The CRD welcomes our municipal partners to share their feedback with us as this process begins,” said CRD Board Chair Colin Plant. “We look forward to hearing from them on if there is a desire for a regional foodlands trust as well as whether there are any municipal lands that could be made available.”
A key short-term recommendation of the feasibility study is to establish a foodlands trust in partnership with a not-for-profit organization using existing publically owned lands historically used for agricultural purposes. Operating as organizations, foodlands trusts maintain land for agriculture and food provisioning activities in perpetuity. This helps secure the future of regional agricultural production by providing an opportunity for new and younger farmers to enter the industry and learn from established farmers.
Vancouver Island has experienced the greatest increase in farmland value in BC, where land currently sells for up to $100,000 per acre, an increase of nearly 25% over two years. The high cost of land is a barrier to new farmers and to those wishing to expand their business. This increased land value is due in part to agricultural lands being purchased by non-farmers and held for speculative purposes.
The CRD’s 2018 Regional Growth Strategy targets increasing land in food production by 5,000 hectares by 2038. The Regional Food and Agriculture Strategy recommends actions to create a viable, healthy and resilient food system. These strategy documents are intended to work in tandem to guide future decisions and to foster a resilient food and agriculture system.
For more information, please visit https://www.crd.bc.ca/project/food-agriculture
Proud to be recognized as one of BC’s Top Employers and Canada’s Greenest Employers, the CRD delivers regional, sub-regional and local services to 13 municipalities and three electoral areas on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Governed by a 24-member Board of Directors, the CRD works collaboratively with First Nations and all levels of government to enable sustainable growth, foster community well-being, and develop cost-effective infrastructure while continuing to provide core services to residents throughout the region. Visit us online at www.crd.bc.ca.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Andy Orr, Senior Manager
CRD Corporate Communications