The Farmland Protection Coalition is a grassroots organization of groups and individuals committed to protecting farmland and supporting farmers and food systems in the Capital Region and across British Columbia.
Motivated by debate over the future of the Agricultural Land Reserve in 2014, more than 60 organizations have come together to endorse the vision of protecting farmland and supporting farmers and food systems.
When the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) was created by the BC Legislature in the 1970s, the commission was kept at arms length from the government of the day, in order to keep the overriding interest of farmland protection separate from short-term political considerations.
The ALR is not perfect and is in need of repair. But it has slowed down the erosion of farmlands, in a mountainous province where arable land constitutes less than 5 per cent of the total landbase. It has also contributed to biodiversity and the protection of soil, which is the key ingredient in food production and making farming economically viable.
Without durable protection of BC’s finite farmland, thousands of jobs in the production, processing, marketing and distribution of local food products will be at risk, as well as thousands of additional jobs in agri-tourism and related sectors.
Coastal British Columbia is endowed with the best farming conditions in Canada, with ample supplies of clean water and the ability to grow food 12 months of the year. The third element in this equation to grow for abundance is protection of land for farming, which the ALR has the potential to do subject to improvements.
Farmers, chefs, business people, vendors and ordinary residents are beginning to mobilize, to defend the ALR and pursue other strategies aimed at protecting farmland and supporting local food systems.