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Community Farms Background

Community Farms Background

We are part of the Community Farms Program, a  project of FarmFolk/CityFolk Society (FFCF). FF/CF helps landowners, farmers, and local communities develop and support community farm models in BC.

FF/CF has created www.communityfarms.ca, a resource website that includes detailed information on Community Farms.

The following are excerpts used with permission from www.communityfarms.ca

Definition of a Community Farm

A community farm is a multi-functional farm where the land is held “in trust” for community rather than owned privately. A community group or co-operative governs the land use agreements, and agricultural uses of the land are shared by a community of farmers. The primary focus of a community farm is local food production using sustainable agricultural practices. Land holders, land managers, and farmers work together by mutual agreement.

Activities

Many different activities bring people together on community farms.In the Community Farms Program, the primary activity on a community farm is local food production.

A variety of other activities complement market production. These activities can include:

  • value-added food businesses
  • conservation use
  • agricultural and ecological education and training
  • public access to recreational amenities

An important benefit of community farming is public engagement through opportunities to attend and volunteer at farm and community events.

Farm Enterprises

The main purpose of a community farm is organic food production for local distribution, through farmers markets, on-farm sales, box programs, community-shared agriculture (CSA) share agreements, and retail or restaurant sales. Production is highly diversified, and farmers on community farms use environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable practices in their farming operations. Read more about farm enterprises.

Conservation

Most community farms set aside areas for wildlife habitat and biodiversity conservation use. Riparian buffers, wetlands, forest barriers between seed fields, and timber management/woodlot areas help preserve biodiversity by protecting and enhancing habitat for animals, birds, and plants. Read more about conservation.

Education and Training

Many community farms provide opportunities for ecological or agricultural education and training. Ecological education provided through formal schools and/or farming apprentices on-site, as well as through connections to high schools and colleges is an important part of the community farm model. Read more about farmer training.

Public access

People visit community farms to access special events, festivals, and nature trails. Each farm is different, but many offer food demonstrations and celebrations, provide hiking trails and other recreational amenities, and host camps, workshops and conferences. Some offer farm tours and farm working holidays.

There are currently more than 20 community farms operating in BC.

Examples on other islands include Cortes’ Linnaea Farm, the Galiano Food Project, the Saanich Peninsula Madrona Farm and the Gabriola Commons.  These farms offer their communities a diversity of programs including leaseholds to new farmers producing food for local consumption, community garden plots, local school workshops and projects, community greenhouses, egg production, fruit orchards and berry plots, flower production, guest speakers and other educational programs relating to food and gardening.

To visit some of these farms’ websites, please visit our links.

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