Thanks to community support, on April 10 the CRD Board passed motions to move forward the Regional Foodland Access Program, Foodlands Trust. CRD staff is currently canvassing all municipalities to assess whether there is a desire to have the CRD operate a foodlands trust in partnership with a non-profit. Sign to let your local government know as a constituent you support farmers, that you support access to public land for farming and food growing and harvesting. Let them know you support the food and farmland trust! Your voice matters!
What's the issue and why does it matter?
(From the Capital Regional District Regional Foodlands Access Program Feasibility Study To read more go to www.crfair.ca/foodandfarmlandtrust)
The region's population is expected to increase by 27% by 2038 , which will put significant pressure on foodlands. Meanwhile, the CRD's 2018 Regional Growth Strategy includes a target to increase productive foodlands by 5,000 ha by 2038 . The ALR has helped stem the loss of farmland, but there is a need for further action to ensure that farmland is used for its intended purpose; only 50% of the CRD's ALR is in production . The underutilization of farmland, both now and in the future, is a lost regional opportunity. Vancouver Island has had the greatest increase in farmland value in BC, where it currently sells for up to $100,000 per acre, an increase of nearly 25%  over two years . The high cost of land is a barrier not only to new farmers, but also to those wishing to expand their business. With over 50% of the region's farmers retiring in the next 10 years, there is concern that new farmers will not be able to afford to enter the sector to replace them. This combination is resulting in the significant loss of an important regional resource for self-reliance and food security - farm land.
A regional Food and Farmland Trust is proposed whereby the CRD and its member municipalities would set aside land they own to be centrally managed as a "Foodlands Trust" that would provide long term leases to farmers and to community food organizations to produce food for the Capital Region. It would be a vehicle to get farmland that is already owned by the CRD and Municipal governments into production and also provide a tool to add additional farmland to the trust as farmers retire, or important farms come onto the market.
CRFAIR's vision is a region where local, sustainable and healthy food is celebrated, abundant and central to the cultures, health and well-being of residents. We see the CRD to operate a regional foodlands trust in partnership with a non-profit organization, as an important piece of this vision. It is time for us to make sure our local representatives hear from the community what an important tool for land access a regional trust is.
We, the undersigned, citizens of the the Capital Region District are clearly stating our support and the desire to have the CRD operate a foodlands trust in partnership with a non-profit organization to secure land over the long term for agricultural and food activities
We petition the local government to
□ indicate support for the CRD operation of a foodlands trust in partnership with a non-profit organization
□ adding existing land appropriate for food growing and harvesting currently owned by municipalities to a CRD-operated trust
□ Create a fund to support the food and farmland trust, it would be less than a toonie per resident!
1 Agriculture in Brief: CRD. 2016. Census of Agriculture Data.
2 Capital Regional District. 2018. Regional Growth Strategy.
3 The "Policy Discussion Paper #1: Role of Local Government in Promoting Farmlands and Farm Viability" by CRFAIR, provides in- depth justification for why food security and building local food production capacity are in the public interest for local governments to address
4 BC Ministry of Agriculture, 2016. Agriculture in Brief, Census of Agriculture, British Columbia Provincial Profile.
5 Farm Credit Canada, 2018. 2017 FCC Farmland Values Report. Covering the period from January 1 to December 31, 2017.
6 Farm Credit Canada, 2018. 2017 FCC Farmland Values Report. Covering the period from January 1 to December 31, 2017.