Protecting farmland in perpetuity
Throughout North America and beyond, farmland is disappearing due to development pressures. There is broad recognition of the need for communities to make long-term preservation of farmland a priority.
We’re losing farmers
The average age of farmers in BC is 57 years old. Many potential new farmers are discouraged by land costs, high economic risks and low incomes. The community farm is a working model that can encourage and cultivate new farmers.
Improved food security
Food security is a broad-based concern and a serious consideration for island communities. Extreme weather events, the potential for crop failures, and shrinking fossil fuel reserves all point to the need to build greater resiliency at the local level for producing food.
Reducing carbon footprint
Food locally raised using sustainable practices significantly reduces our carbon footprint.
Intelligent long-term planning, but also fun and enjoyment!
A community farmland held in perpetuity allows for multiple uses and long-term planning and development. Our vision includes community-owned fruit and nut orchards, olive groves, berries, bees, small-scale leases of farmland for producing local food, a walking trail, allotment gardens, continual investments to improving the soil, as well as the ability to conserve and promote native habitat for wild species.
In December 2009, the Vancouver Island Food Systems Network (VIFSN) was formed to address the concerns of food security. (see “Food Network a Vital Initiative.” by Carolyn Herriot in January 2010 Common Ground). Here are some of the facts that emerged from this gathering at Vancouver Island University:
* the largest crop on Vancouver Island is hay
* the island grows 4% of the food consumed
* they have 3 days of emergency food supply before supermarket
shelves are bare
* they have lost the infrastructure for local food and processing distribution
* island farmers are on average 55 years old
* new farmers have trouble finding affordable land
Statistics for Vancouver Island show that they are 35% self-sufficient in dairy, 18% in chicken, 68% in eggs, 8% in fruit and 7% in vegetables.