One of the recommendations stemming from our land access research is to support the establishment of a provincial or regional land trust(s) in British Columbia. In our survey of alternative land access we found that there are a growing number of models that offer short term and/or unstable access and that there is a need for farmland access initiatives that provide secure long term access to farmers – 0ne such mechanism is a land trust. This recommendation is directed towards both the non-profit/voluntary sector and the municipal and/or provincial government. Traditionally land trust organizations are non-profit organizations however there is potential for, and examples of non-profit and government partnerships to hold and manage land. A partnership could have the potential for improved capacity stemming from structural and financial support from government while still allowing for community based land management to be achieved through the community land trust organization.
The initiative to establish a provincial and/or regional farmland trust(s) is currently being advanced by several non-profit organizations and community stakeholders in the province and is still in the research and development. Part of the research and development stages has been to gather community input into the need and vision for a farmland trust in the Province. Two initial consultations were held in conjunction with the Community Farms Program over the winter of 2014 at the Community Farms Roundtable and at the Certified Organic Associations of BC annual conference.
The long term goal of initiating a farmland trust is to protect farmland, support the secure establishment of new generations of farmers and ensure the long term viability of community driven local agriculture in British Columbia.
Further updates on the advancement of a new farmland trust in British Columbia will be provided as they arise.