BC communities are taking innovative approaches to agriculture planning with the help of $252,773 from the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.
IAFBC’s Local Government Partnership Program awarded eight local governments $252,773 in July for agricultural planning and implementation. While four of the recipients will use the funds to create or update agricultural plans, others are taking a slightly different approach.
Tsawwassen First Nation is the fist Indigenous government to receive funding through the program, which was open to First Nations for the first time this year.
TFN will conduct a community farm pilot on an acre of the 800-plus acres of agricultural land it received when its treaty took effect in 2009. The pilot builds on its 2013 agricultural plan and was identified as one of four priorities in its 2020 agricultural business plan. The pilot aims to build capacity and food security.
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District will be looking at ways to bring Indigenous perspectives into its existing food and agriculture planning processes. It adopted an agricultural plan in 2011.
IAFBC funds will also support an Islands Trust review of farming regulations on Denman Island, which completed an agricultural strategy in 2011 and a farm plan in 2012.
Township of Spallumcheen is creating an agricultural industry plan for its southeast sector to augment its 2006 agricultural plan.
Four regional districts have received funding to create or update agricultural plans. Plans will be created for the Cariboo Regional District and the Lower Columbia region in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary. Comox Valley and Central Okanagan regional districts will be reviewing and updating their existing plans, prepared in 2002 and 2005, respectively.
“This is a great crop of local government projects,” says IAFBC chair Jack DeWit. “Agricultural planning is vital at all levels of government, especially for regional districts, municipalities, First Nations, and other local governments. It’s so important to provide funding for planning at that local level to ensure the success of agriculture across our province, for everyone’s benefit.”
IAFBC relaunched the Local Government Partnership Program in April after a two-year hiatus. Since the first round was fully allocated, a second intake for up to $250,000 in funding is set for this fall.
The funding is through the Agri-Food Futures Fund, with the federal and provincial governments created in 2001 to finance development activities across a broad range of sectors. The trust managing the fund winds up in 2022, meaning the remaining funds must be allocated before then.