B.C. Land Matching Program Overview
How to Apply
See Who We’ve Matched to More than 4,600 Acres!
Meet the Land Matchers
History of Young Agrarians Land Access Programming


B.C. Land Matching Program

The B.C. Land Matching Program (BCLMP) provides personalized land matching and business support services to farmers looking for land to start or expand their farm, and landholders interested in finding someone to farm their land. The advantage of working with a Land Matcher is free hands-on support to understand regulations, evaluate opportunities, access resources, and ultimately find a land match. The program is delivered by Young Agrarians (YA) and addresses the high cost of land as a significant barrier for those seeking to enter the B.C. agriculture industry.

The BCLMP provides:

  • An online and searchable inventory of B.C. land opportunities
  • Personalized, regional matchmaking services for farmers and landholders, including support to develop land use agreements
  • Referrals to business and technical support services
  • Educational events and resources to increase knowledge and facilitate matches between new farmers and landowners

Who can participate in the BCLMP?

  • Farmers seeking land to start or expand their agricultural business
  • Landholders looking for someone to farm their land
  • Farmers and farmland holders who matched independently and want support to develop agreements

The B.C. Land Matching Program is funded by the Province of British Columbia, with support from Columbia Basin Trust, Cowichan Valley Regional District, Real Estate Foundation of B.C., Bullitt Foundation, and Patagonia.


    HOW TO APPLY

    Contact a Land Matcher in your region:

    Metro Vancouver & Fraser Valley – Ashlee Brillert: ashlee@youngagrarians.org
    Vancouver Island – Azja Jones Martin: azja@youngagrarians.org
    Okanagan – Tessa Wetherill: tessa@youngagrarians.org
    Columbia Basin – Hailey Troock: hailey@youngagrarians.org
    Central & Northern B.C. – Jolene Swain: jolene@youngagrarians.org
    B.C. Land Matching Program Manager – Darcy Smith: land@youngagrarians.org

    There is no cost to participate, and our services are available to farmers and landholders of all ages across B.C. If you aren’t sure which Land Matcher to contact, please reach out to land@youngagrarians.org or call 1.855.561.4633.

    WHAT TO EXPECT

    1. CONNECT: Reach out to a land matcher by email or phone. They will reply to set up a phone call to learn more about your vision and needs.
      • Landholders: be ready with information about your land, expectations from a land match, and vision. Land matchers will help you evaluate your land for agricultural viability.
      • Farmers: be ready to discuss your business model and provide or develop a business plan with our support as part of your land search.
    2. REGISTER: Land matchers will follow up with a site visit for landholders, or further meetings with farmers, to register you for the program. Depending on your location, land matchers may connect remotely.
      • Once registered, land matchers will help you list yourself in our digital inventory U-MAP and post land opportunity/land seeker blogs.
      • Land matchers will help farmers develop or refine your business plan to get you ready to access land.
      • If you have questions or need resources/advisors in your region, land matchers can provide information and referrals at any point in the matching process.
      • *Please note that timelines vary for all participants and matches, depending on your needs and the availability of farmers/land.
    3. GET MATCHED: Land matchers will provide hands-on, personalized matchmaking to make introductions and help landholders and land seekers find the most suitable match for their vision and needs.
    4. DEVELOP AGREEMENT: Once you’ve found a match, or if you meet someone independently of the BCLMP, land matchers will facilitate negotiations and help develop a land use agreement.
      • A written agreement is an essential part of a successful land match.
      • Land matchers will work with you and your land match partner to help you agree on the terms of your agreement, and will provide a lawyer-reviewed agreement.

    We’re always here for you. Once you’ve been matched and your agreement is signed, land matchers are available to help with additional resources and referrals, or to answer any questions you may have about processes related to your land access needs.


      SEE WHO WE’VE MATCHED

      The BCLMP supports farmers of all sizes and production types, from small-scale market gardens to over 1,000-acre ranches. We’ve made 78 matches on more than 4,600 acres to date! Read about some of the farmers and landholders we’ve helped, then get in touch to see how we can help you.

      BC TIMBER GOATS, QUESNEL: Bruce operates BC Timber Goats, an invasive weed and wildfire fuel mitigation company, and was looking for a home base for himself and his goats. He found Dragon Mountain Farm through the BCLMP. The landholder, Janet, ran a 250-ewe sheep operation with a five-acre organic market garden – she wanted to see the over 400-acre property put to good use, while getting some more free time for herself. Read more about this match on the YA blog!

      My experience working with the YA Land Matcher was very positive. She acted as an impartial third party throughout the negotiation and was very supportive throughout the whole process. Along with help negotiating the land agreement, having all the potential properties listed in one repository was very valuable when considering my options.” – Bruce, farmer

      DIGABLE ROOTS, VANCOUVER ISLAND: Digable Roots is a farm and food cart operated by Megan and Callum, with the goal of bringing their community a full-circle farm to fork experience. They’re making their farm dream a reality on 2.5 acres of leased land they were matched to in the Cowichan Valley. Megan and Callum grow vegetables and grain, as well as raise ducks. Read more about this match on the YA blog!

      “We as young farmers today face the reality that land is not at a price that we as young farmers could afford. Young Agrarians made our dreams of starting a farm possible. The BCLMP is encouraging, inspiring and helpful in many different aspects of farming. Our Land Matcher was with us every step of the way and made finding land easy and approachable. This program will truly change Canada for many generations to come and will create a much-needed re-birth of small-scale farming in our communities.” –Megan and Callum, farmers

      PRAVIN DHALIWAL, OKANAGAN: Pravin is a budding viticulturist from a family of orchardists,and was ready to start his own farm operation. He was matched to Tony, a retired apple orchardist who had been looking for someone to farm his 18 acres in Summerland. Pravin spent last year readying the land to plant, and vines are now in the ground! Read more about this match on the YA blog!

      “Working with the BCLMP was very smooth, professional and pleasant. Fantastic. I appreciated being able to quickly find a farmer to lease my land, which was important to me.”– Tony, landholder

      LOVELAND ACRES, OKANAGAN: Maylene and Robin, a new farming couple, worked with Tessa, Okanagan Land Matcher, for almost a year to find their dream land lease on two acres in the Okanagan. This year they launched Loveland Acres, a certified organic market garden with a focus on winter storage crops and year-round greens to fill the gap in the availability of local food in the off-season. Read more about this match on the YA blog!

      “Working with the BCLMP has been the catalyst that helped make our farm dreams a reality. The program offers too many resources to list here, but most importantly the program fosters a sense of community that helps future farmers feel less alone in their pursuit of farming.”– Maylene & Robin, farmers

      ZERO FOX FARM, COLUMBIA BASIN: Krista started Zero Fox Farms, a perennial nursery and herb farm, in 2018 after being matched to Barry and Ursula’s land in Harrop. Barry and Ursula were looking for a young farmer or farming family to share their land with and to promote and nurture young families moving into their community, and are in the process of negotiating a match with another farmer on their property. Read more about this match in the Nelson Star!

      “Our Land Matcher really listened to what our land needs were and read our personalities and lifestyles as well. Because of the match, we not only have two acres of incredible land to farm but also a very lovely new and supportive community.”– Krista, farmer


      YOUNG AGRARIANS LAND MATCHING TEAM

      Darcy Smith, BCLMP Manager – land@youngagrarians.org
      Darcy Smith has spent the last decade working to support farmers and food systems. She lives and works on unceded Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territories. As the first Land Matcher in B.C. and now as BCLMP program manager, she’s worked with many new entrants, seasoned farmers and farmland holders across the province, who all share a vision to help the next generation of farmers get on the land and to see the land producing food into the future. Darcy also edits the BC Organic Grower, a quarterly magazine showcasing organic farming across B.C.

      Ashlee Brillert, Metro Vancouver & Fraser Valley – ashlee@youngagrarians.org
      Ashlee was born and raised in Ontario and moved out to B.C. five years ago. She is passionate about local food security, food waste issues, regenerative farming practices, and building strong farming communities. With her experience as a landscaper, a greenhouse worker, and post-secondary education in Environmental Studies, farming was the logical next step. Ashlee has been farming full-time for the last four seasons, and now runs a small market garden in Langley. She loves applying her practical skills towards facilitating solid matches between farmers and landholders.

      Azja Jones Martin, Vancouver Island – azja@youngagrarians.org
      Azja (pronounced Asia) Jones Martin started farming in 2011 and worked on numerous farms before co-founding her own farm business in 2014. Azja has run farms both in partnership and independently and understands the complexity of navigating new farm development! Azja now helps connect farmers with secure land leases on Vancouver Island through the BCLMP. She is passionate about helping maximize the potential of our beautiful farmland and doing what she can to help other new and young farmers establish businesses that are financially, emotionally and environmentally sustainable.

      Tessa Wetherill, Okanagan – tessa@youngagarians.org
      Tessa Wetherill began her farming journey in 2007 at Linnaea Ecological Farm School and farmed full-time for 11 years, both in the urban context in Vancouver and in the North Okanagan, on unceded Syilx territory. She loves all the things that grow; plants, people, and communities and what really lights her up are relationships and collaborations that form strong, diverse human ecosystems. Since stepping into the role as the Land Matcher in the Okanagan, she has become passionate about communication and is pursuing a certificate in conflict resolution specializing in mediation.

      Hailey Troock, Columbia Basin – hailey@youngagrarians.org
      Hailey Troock grew up in the small agricultural community of Oyama, located in the Okanagan. Now based in Nelson, she spends her time connecting farmers, landholders, and allies in the Columbia Basin region. Hailey’s background is in public policy, bilateral negotiation, project administration and business support and she enjoys using these skills as a Land Matcher to help local communities build sustainable and sovereign local food systems. When not working with Young Agrarians, Hailey can be found camping, snowboarding, taking pictures, gardening, making music and working on her side hustle in E-Commerce consultancy and training.

      Jolene Swain, Central & North – jolene@youngagrarians.org
      Jolene Swain lives on a wilderness farmstead in the Kispiox Valley, in the unceded lands of the Gitxsan First Nation. Here she has spent the last five seasons growing organic vegetables, producing seed crops for the B.C. Eco Seed Co-op, and helping get the hay in for the milk cow and sheep flock. Before settling into farm life, Jolene worked and studied across western Canada surveying pikas and plants in the alpine tundra, completing biodiversity surveys in the boreal forest, and completing her>Masters research on caterpillars and climate change in organic fruit orchards. Jolene has also worked as a consultant in the organic industry for the past six years. As the Land Matcher for Central & Northern B.C. she is excited to connect and support farmers and ranchers across the region, remotely and on the ground.


      HISTORY OF YOUNG AGRARIANS LAND ACCESS PROGRAMMING

      Land access is the #1 challenge for new and young farmers. As an organization focused on supporting farmers in start-up and throughout their careers, we saw the need for resources to help farmers get on the land. We started our journey into land access in 2012, mapping resources for farmers through the Young Agrarians digital U-MAP.

      In 2013, we started offering Land Linking Workshops, which bring people with land together with people looking for land to explore what it means to share land to grow food. The same year, we created the B.C. Land Access Guide, which includes our adaptations (with plain English explanations of all the terms) of the agricultural lease and licence templates from FarmFolk CityFolk and The Land Conservancy of B.C. These resources have been shared with more than 12,000 farmers and landholders online and through Land Linking workshops across B.C.

      Our resources have supported many on their journey to find land, but we wanted to do more – there was a need for hands-on direct support, especially for folk entering into land sharing agreements. Inspired by Quebec’s Banque de Terres (L’ARTERRE, which translates to “our heart, our land”), Young Agrarians launched our Land Matching Program pilot in 2016. With the support of the Province of British Columbia and regional funders, the BCLMP now offers land matching services across the province. It has been so exciting to work alongside this Quebec-based organization to grow our own land matching offering. L’ARTERRE has expanded significantly across Quebec to over 80 counties operating as a program of Quebec’s Resource Centre for Agriculture and Agri-Food, Le CRAAQ.

      We hope to continue following in their footsteps and supporting more and more farmland holders and seekers on their journey towards feeding their communities and building relationships with each other, through comprehensive land extension supports.