Young Agrarians administers the Land Matching Program
By Diego Flammini
A B.C. program is designed to match aspiring farmers with established producers who have land to spare.
The Land Matching Program aims to address the issue of land affordability in B.C. Farmland in some areas sell for more than $90,000 per acre. Those high costs may discourage young Canadians from farming.
“The program will help new and young farmers and landowners, which ensures good farmland is being farmed and increases the province’s food security for British Columbians,” Lana Popham, B.C.’s provincial ag minister, told the Vernon Morning Star Tuesday.
“We see landowners who haven’t had an interest in farming, but they certainly have an interest in having their land farmed, so we need to take that new energy and come up with innovative ways to use it.”
The provincial government has committed $300,000 to the program, which Young Agrarians administers. Young Agrarians is a resource network of FarmFolk CityFolk, which created the land matching program last year.
Land matchers from Young Agrarians help connect farmers and landowners through networking events and facilitating relationships between land seekers and owners. Matchers are currently assigned to Vancouver Island, Metro-Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, the Okanagan and the Columbia Basin.
The matchers also discuss with the owners what they would like to see happen with their land and try to pair them with suitable producers.
Leasing land has proved to be successful for new farmers.
“We didn’t really have the funds to be able to purchase a piece of property, so being able to meet somebody and have a deeper discussion on what a lease would look like long term, with the eventual goal of owning the property, is pretty key to our business,” Seann Dory, who owns and operate Salt & Harrow farm, told the Vernon Morning Star.
Dory leases his land from Kris and Maria Chand, who own Blue Heron Organic Farm. The business partners met at a Young Agrarians event.
Farms.com has reached out to Young Agrarians for comment on the program.
Lana Popham photo