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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Feature: Protecting the Agricultural Land Reserve, Part 1

In November 2013, news media reports outlined government threats to the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).

Source: BC Food Systems Network

A recent proposal by BC Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm argued that the ALC's mandate should be expanded to include economic development priorities such as oil and gas industry and that decision making power over agricultural lands be transferred to the BC Oil and Gas Commission for most of the province.

The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a provincial zone in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use. Farming is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are controlled. The ALR covers approximately 4.7 million hectares, encompassing private and public lands that may be farmed or forested or vacant land. Some ALR blocks cover thousands of hectares, while others are small pockets of only a few hectares.

Advocates for BC’s Agricultural Land Reserve will gather this weekend to discuss how to save the province’s shrinking farmland. With condos today more profitable than corn, pressure is mounting to pull agricultural land out of the ALR for lucrative development.

BC’s farmland is scarce, less than 5% of the provincial land base. In an age when we must grow as much food as we can locally, preservation of farmland is crucial. In an emergency that cut off our province's imported food supply, we could be in trouble very fast.

Visit again next week for more details on the Agricultural Land Reserve and the continuing efforts to protect existing farmlands.

Want to find out more? Visit one of these sites for more information.

The Province, "Shrinking farmland"

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