A half-day land-matching workshop in Kelowna on November 2 attracted nearly 40 people.
The event was organized by Young Agrarians as part of a provincially funded program to match landowners with land-seekers.
The crowd included young people looking for land to start farming, a young couple looking to transition out of their start-up farm, and at least a few people trying to determine what to do with some or all of their properties.
The kinds of properties represented included a 10-acre parcel in Kelowna’s Glenmore neighbourhood and a farm in Lumby set to pass to a couple when the current owner dies. In the latter case, the couple are considering options so they have a plan when the transfer occurs.
The workshop provided attendees with an overview of land-linking opportunities and things to be aware of as both owners and tenants. Chris Zabek, who recently relocated from Abbotsford to Kelowna to serve as the BC Ministry of Agriculture agrologist, was also present, offering advice from the ministry’s perspective. There was also plenty of time for networking.
A panel of lawyer Leonard Marriott, founder of Terroir Cheese in Armstrong, 21-year-old Pravin Dhaliwal, a third-generation Okanagan farmer leasing land in Summerland for a vineyard, and Paddy Doherty, an Enderby carrot grower who is leasing land to a young grower, rounded out the day.
Doherty told the crowd that leasing to a young grower doesn’t provide much tangible monetary benefit but there are intangible benefits such as the support of a partner in what can be an isolating business. He noted that it’s probably easier to take over a successful farm business rather than start from scratch, which is what he had to do.
The event in Kelowna was Young Agrarians’ 25th land linking workshop in BC. There have been 12 land matches in the Okanagan, and more than 50 since the program began in 2017.