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ABOUT THE LAND
We are offering up our farm in beautiful Strachan Valley on Hornby Island for a long-term land lease and house rental, starting September 1, 2022. Closing date for applications is December 10, 2021.
The valley is in the centre of the island and is surrounded by park and crown land so is very peaceful and private. This opportunity includes:
- Access to over 60 acres of mixed-use farmland and 35 acres of woodlands
- Rental of a 4 bedroom farmhouse
- A very large hay and equipment storage barn
- A workshop (needs repair)
- Abundant irrigation water and potable water (key to successful farming on a Gulf Island)
Strachan Valley currently belongs to the Cross family. Our family bought the property in 1968 and over the years we had a small grey-market dairy operation as well as beef cattle, sheep, pigs and Percheron draft horses. In 1985 farming was put on hold. 16 years ago we rented to our current tenant and he has been growing large a vegetable garden ever since. Until two years ago we leased the rest of the farmland to a local farmer who used it for hay production and pasture but due to age he has since scaled back his operation.
ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY
Strachan Valley is made up of three parcels of land. The prospective farmer would be leasing all three and would be expected to generate enough farm receipts to establish farm tax status on all three pieces (estimated at $8,000 or less). The majority of the land is within the ALR.
The valley has a combination of soil and terrain and would be well suited for an operation that combined some market gardens, livestock and other activities such as fruit trees and berry growing. The forest area could sustain mushroom cultivation.
The upper fields are dry all year and suitable for cultivation. Some of the areas have decent soil for gardens or row crops while others are quite dry and rocky and more suited to pasture. There are a few fruit trees, new and old, and there are plans to plant more.
The lower fields are very flat and seasonally flooded. While they do need to be reconditioned, they are excellent hay production fields because they are self-irrigating and can produce two cuttings of hay per season. Because of their wet nature they are not suitable for tilling or plowing for row crops.
The fencing is in disrepair and would need to be re-established and there is much other work required on the farm infrastructure. We have a strong desire to return the property to working farm that will be profitable and provide a living for our future tenant. With this in mind we are prepared to work with a future partner to develop an agricultural/business plan and can provide help with some financing of materials and infrastructure as well provide compensation for labours in the form of rent reduction.
Our current house tenant is moving on in June of 2022 and we would like to take this opportunity to re-establish farming by renting the house and land to a farmer. We are open to hearing all kinds of ideas, and will do what we can to support the successful candidate while allowing them the freedom to pursue their vision.
The ideal candidate would have a range of farming, construction and mechanical skills. Hornby Island is relatively isolated so it is not practical to rely on off-island services. One of our hopes is to find a farmer who, in addition to their other activities, has an interest in raising a small herd of beef cattle for local consumption. We grew up raising our own meat and would like access to grass-fed sustainably raised beef again.
The farmhouse is a large house that has been divided into two ends. The main end is made up of 4 bedrooms, three bathrooms, a common room and a large kitchen. The space is charming but rustic. Heat is by a wood stove. The other end of the house is set aside for owner use, primarily in the summer. A renovation planned for the summer of 2022 will improve the soundproofing between ends of the house.
We grew up on the farm, and our current tenant raised his children there as well. It is our hope to see another generation of children benefit from the rich experience of growing up on a working farm.
Hornby Island is a beautiful place with some wonderful attractions. It has some of the nicest beaches in Canada, and a huge amount of park and protected public land. As a result, there is a thriving tourist economy and great opportunities for farm stand and farmer’s market sales. However, it is two ferries away from Vancouver Island and in the summer the ferry lineups can be quite fierce. As a result, shipping farm products off-island is expensive and time consuming unless planned carefully.
GET IN TOUCH
This land opportunity is available through the B.C. Land Matching Program. Reach out to the Vancouver Island Land Matcher at firstname.lastname@example.org to start a conversation and learn about next steps.
The B.C. Land Matching Program is funded on Vancouver Island by the Province of British Columbia, with support from Cowichan Valley Regional District and Patagonia.