The B.C. Land Matching Program (BCLMP) provides over 5,000 acres for famers to grow fruit and graze livestock.
VICTORIA – More than 100 farmers in the province have started growing crops and raising livestock on more than 2,023 hectares (5,000 acres) of farmland since 2016 through the B.C. Land Matching Program (BCLMP).
The 46 land matches finalized in 2020 will help improve food security, create economic growth and bring more local food options to communities in B.C. following COVID-19.
“This is an amazing milestone reached by the farmers and landholders who have been brought together through the B.C. Land Matching Program,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. “Through this program, we are helping farmers access land and keeping it in production, which strengthens B.C.’s food security and supports our local economies. Each match, whether big or small, adds to our next generation of agricultural leaders and means more opportunities for British Columbians to enjoy local products from their region.”
“Getting to start my own farm and feed people in my community has been a dream for many years. I’m so thrilled that I’ve been able to make it happen at 23 years old, thanks to the BCLMP and all of its support in securing a land lease.” Ardeo Mann, farmer, Rake and Radish Farm –
Okanagan farmer Kanver Brares comes from a long line of farmers and orchardists. He grew up on his family’s orchard playing among the fruit trees. After completing a business degree and trying to find his passion in life, his heart led him back to his roots – agriculture. Brares was matched to long-time organic apple orchardists Alain Peron and Donna Bartlett in Keremeos late last year. Through his lease, Brares will take over the 2.12-hectare (5.25-acre) orchard and business, carrying on the legacy of Old Tower Farm that has been built over the last 25 years.
In Saanich, Ardeo Mann started Rake and Radish Farm, a new market garden business, on 0.8 hectares (two acres) of leased land in spring 2020. The farm uses regenerative farming practices, low-till methods and prioritizes planting habitat for pollinators. Mann delivers pre-made produce boxes to customers by bicycle and tries to avoid the use of plastic wherever possible, to help ensure the farm has a low carbon footprint.
The BCLMP is part of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries’ Grow BC initiative. The initiative supports young farmers and food producers seeking a career in agriculture and addresses major challenges for new farmers, such as gaining access to land. The program is part of the Province’s New Entrant Strategy, which looks at ways to increase the number of new and young farmers working in B.C.’s agriculture sector.