Chris Thoreau on Growing Seed on Leased Land

Posted by Michalina Hunter on September 23, 2019

bc seed farm, abbotsford, vancouver

Chris of the FarmFolk CityFolk Research and Education Seed Farm is a participant in the B.C. Land Matching Program, which provides land matching and business support services to new farmers looking for land to farm, as well as landowners interested in finding someone to farm their land. Visit the B.C. Land Matching Program page to learn more about the program and to find a Young Agrarians Land Matcher in your region.

Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your farm.

I’m Chris Thoreau – former Seed Security Program Director at FarmFolk CityFolk. Our farm is a 3.5 acre site in Abbotsford, BC that is dedicated to organic seed production, research, education, and public outreach to support organic seed production in British Columbia.

bc seed farm, abbotsford, vancouver
Photo courtesy of Chris Thoreau

How did you decide you wanted to lease land and what was your dream property?

We needed a site to develop and host programs as well as grow seed. Our dream property had multiple needs – close proximity to Vancouver; organic or easy to transition to organic; good water supply; good, or good enough, soil; easy access for public.

Tell us a bit about the property you are farming now.

3.5 acres of rolling certified organic land with silty loam soil with great water holding ability. On municipal water and with great public access and parking. The site is a bit windy which affects cultivation, but may also help control disease with good airflow throughout the site.

bc seed farm, abbotsford, vancouver
Photo courtesy of Chris Thoreau

What was the landowner’s vision for their land and how are you helping them to achieve that?

The landowner wants to contribute to more sustainable local food in a meaningful way, and our diverse approach to seed production and programming helps achieve that goal. Although we operate independently of the landlord we hope collaborate more as the farm evolves.

What was your experience working with the BCLMP Land Matcher?

Our Land Matcher made this possible by coordinating all aspects of this arrangement including setting meetings; drafting and revising the lease; and offering insights relative to the land itself.

bc seed farm, abbotsford, vancouver
Photo courtesy of Chris Thoreau

What was the most valuable thing about the B.C. Land Matching Program for you?

By having a facilitated process it took the planning and “figuring out” aspect out of our hands and put us in a participant role – making things more feasible on a limited time and resource budget.

What excites you most about the future of your farm?

The potential for increased public and farmer engagement through our seed production, seed-focused events, and seed-focused research as well as testing economic models for local bulk seed production.

IMG_20190827_140415
Photo courtesy of Chris Thoreau

What else would you like to share about your experience/farm/etc?
Check out our programs at bcseeds.org!

bc seed farm, abbotsford, vancouver
Photo courtesy of Chris Thoreau

Chris found land through the B.C. Land Matching Program in early 2019. We’re so excited to see how their second season goes on this farm!

Do you have land you’d like to lease to a farmer? Are you a farmer looking for land to lease? Learn more about the B.C. land Matching program here, or email land@youngagrarians.org.

The B.C. Land Matching Program is funded in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley by the Province of British Columbia, with support from the Real Estate Foundation of B.C., Bullitt Foundation, Metro Vancouver and Vancity.

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