BC agriculture at risk?

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PAOV — A crucial parcel of farmland in Surrey is at risk of being sold and developed into industrial parks, putting the province’s access to BC-grown vegetables in jeopardy. The 300-acre site produces 30-50 million servings of vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and cabbage every year. It’s owned by the federal government, and not protected by BC’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). At a time when food insecurity is increasing for many people in BC, petition starter Tristin is urging the federal government to lease the land to local farmers and include it in the ALR. You can show your support in this critical moment by signing the petition now.

Protect Early Farmland in BC

7,417 have signed Tristin Bouwman’s petition. Let’s get to 7,500!

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A single 300-acre parcel is at the core of the local early fresh field vegetable supply in British Columbia.

If you’ve tasted fresh BC field vegetables (think nugget potatoes, carrots, cabbage) in the summer - between May-Long and Canada Day - there’s a good chance they were produced on this farmland parcel.

This farmland is located on 192nd Street in Campbell Heights, Surrey BC. With its beach-like sandy soil upon a level hill-top, it never floods, it can be planted or harvested on nearly any day of the year and has a special a micro-climate suited for early production. Western Canada’s potato harvest starts on this farmland each year. Thereafter, an estimated 30-50 million servings of potatoes, carrots, cabbage, parsnips and squash are produced from the land annually. That’s enough fresh food to put a vegetable serving on every Metro-Vancouverite’s dinnerplate for 2-3 weeks. As harvest begins before other vegetable fields in BC, this land reduces BC’s reliance on imported vegetables.

Sadly, this exact parcel of farmland is slated to be sold and developed into industrial buildings.

Unlike other farmland in BC, this parcel is not protected by BC’s world-renowned Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). Not only is the land not in the ALR, the landowner - the Federal Government - is not bound by the ALR’s farmland protection system.

A coalition of farmers, residents, farmland advocates and others are calling on:

1) The Federal Government to keep all 300 acres of this parcel in agriculture, forests and streams - by granting a long-term lease to a local farmer and applying to the Provincial Agricultural Land Commission to include it in the ALR; and,

(2) The City of Surrey to amend its Official Community Plan to prevent the land from conversion to any use other than farming and forest.

To sum up, productive farmland is disappearing at an alarming rate all over the world. We all feel food prices rising quickly (due to war in the Ukraine, droughts across the globe including in California and constrained supply chains). Its no surprise then that local food security is a top-of-mind topic in BC. In this context, BC’s earliest, most reliable farmland should not be sold to be developed into industrial buildings.

Join the call to protect the unique 300-acre parcel of prime farmland for current and future generations.

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