Got land? Want land?
Young Agrarians is excited to announce we now have four new Land Matchers across Southern B.C. – and they are ready and waiting to support your land access needs!
With the support of our amazing funders, this year Young Agrarians is incredibly fortunate to expand from one Land Matcher in Metro Vancouver-Fraser Valley, to four new Land Matchers across Southern B.C., with the program being offered for the first time on Vancouver Island in the Cowichan Valley, Okanagan Central North, and the Columbia Basin. If you’re looking for land to farm, or have land that you’d like to see farmed, you can talk to a Young Agrarians Land Matcher in your region!
Read on to learn more about whether the B.C. Land Matching Program can help make your land dreams come to life – and meet our new Young Agrarians Land Matchers.
WHY LAND MATCHING?
Southern B.C. has some of the most expensive land in Canada. We’re all feeling the pinch, especially new and young farmers, who say that accessing land is the #1 thing keeping them from starting a farm.
According to the 2017 Farmland Values report released by Farm Credit Canada, farm land on Vancouver Island costs up to $100,000 per acre, up to $162,700 per acre in the Metro Vancouver – Fraser Valley, up to $167,000 per acre in the Okanagan, and up to $50,000 per acre in the Kootenays. It’s no wonder that it is challenging for a new generation to buy land to farm. As well, the plot thickens with the average age of farmers in B.C. at 56. Eventually those farmers are going to retire, and will want to pass their land on to the next generation of food growers. But how?
For new and young entrepreneurs starting their first farm business, leasing land is a great solution where acquiring land is not feasible. 50% of farmer operators across Canada under 35 lease land, according to the 2016 Census of Agriculture. For farmland owners who aren’t farming all or part of their land, leasing land is also a great solution! That’s where land matching comes in.
B.C. Land Matching Program
The B.C. Land Matching Program (BCLMP) 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. The benefits of land matching are hands on, personalized support services to new farmers and landowners to better understand regulations, evaluate opportunities, access resources, and ultimately find a land match partner. The program is administered by the Young Agrarians and addresses the significant barrier to land access for those seeking to enter the B.C. agriculture industry.
The B.C. Land Matching Program provides:
- An online and searchable inventory of B.C. land opportunities
- Personalized and regionally based matchmaking services for new farmers and landowners, including 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 B.C. Land Matching Program?
- New farmers seeking land to set up their agricultural business
- Landowners looking for someone to farm their land
What’s the first step?
- Visit the Young Agrarians Land Page & Blog: youngagrarians.org/land
- Add yourself to the UMAP Land Registry: maps.youngagrarians.org
- Contact the Young Agrarians Land Matcher in your region!
- If you are outside of one of the regions currently serviced by our Land Matchers, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org – we want to hear from you! Someone will be in touch with other ways we can support your land access needs.
MEET THE YOUNG AGRARIANS LAND MATCHING TEAM
Land Program Manager & Land Matcher – Metro Vancouver & Fraser Valley
Darcy Smith was raised with her hands in the dirt sowing seeds and harvesting backyard veggies. With a background in communications, this farm enthusiast found her path when she started writing about and working with farmers. Darcy is as passionate about plants as she is about words, and a brief stint as an urban farmer drove her to focus on projects that empower new farmers with much-needed resources. She feels very fortunate to have spent the last two years growing the YA Land Matching Pilot in the Metro Vancouver region, spending her days as a farm matchmaker connecting farmers and landowners. Darcy is thrilled to see the B.C. Land Matching Program grow to other regions, and can’t wait to see many more landowners and farmers connected across B.C. In addition to her role with Young Agrarians, Darcy edits the BC Organic Grower, a quarterly magazine dedicated to showcasing organic farmers across B.C.
Land Matcher – Metro Vancouver & Fraser Valley
Susheela Kundargi grew up in Montréal and has lived in Vancouver for 20 years with her husband and three kids. She’s delighted to start matching new farmers and farmland owners in the Metro Vancouver-Fraser Valley region. Susheela became passionate about farming when she worked as a therapist and found that people had lost their connection to food, land and community. She completed the Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture at UBC, managed a CSA at an urban farm and operates a children’s garden in False Creek. She’s been an entrepreneur and instructor and loves to cook, save and share seeds, paint and write.
Land Matcher – Cowichan Valley & Vancouver Island
Azja Jones Martin
Azja (pronounced Asia) Jones Martin is co-founder of Little Mountain Farm, a CSA business which produces naturally grown veggies for about 70 families in the Victoria area. Starting from raw hay field, Azja has run the farm both in partnership and independently, and understands the complexity of navigating new farm development! Now in year five, the Saanich based business is growing to produce in Cobble Hill as well. With the invaluable support of awesome fellow farmers who are keeping the vegetables growing, Azja is excited to now have the capacity to help connect other farmers with secure farm leases through the Young Agrarians B.C. Land Matching Program in the Cowichan Valley. 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.
Land Matcher – Central / North Okanagan
Tessa Wetherill has been farming full-time and with all her heart for 11 years, first in an urban context in Vancouver and for the last 5 years in the North Okanagan. This season she is growing pure joy in the form of cut flowers on unceded Syilx territory in Vernon, B.C. 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. She is so excited to step into the new role of Land Matcher Okanagan with the Young Agrarians and support the growth of this vital network.
Land Matcher – Columbia Basin
Hailey Troock grew up in the small agricultural community of Oyama, located in the Okanagan. Currently a resident of Ymir in the central Kootenays, Hailey is excited to meet farmers, landowners and allies through her work as the Young Agrarians Land Matcher in the Columbia Basin region. Hailey has a professional background in public policy, bilateral negotiation, media, environmental advocacy and business coaching and looks forward to using the skills acquired in these roles within the B.C. Land Matching Program to help local communities promote and strengthen sustainable and sovereign local food systems. When not working, Hailey can be found camping somewhere waterside in the summer, on the snow in the winter, taking pictures, gardening, writing and performing music.
The Young Agrarians B.C. Land Matching Program: from a Seed of an Idea to On the Ground Land Extension
The Young Agrarians land access program journey began in 2012 with mapping resources for farming online through theYoung Agrarians UMAP, creating a B.C. Land Access Guide, and updating the excellent agricultural lease and licence templates from FarmFolk CityFolk and The Land Conservancy of B.C. by adding additional agricultural terms and plain English sidebars. These resources have been shared with thousands of farmers and landowners online and through Land Linking workshops across Southern B.C., which bring people with land together with people looking for land to explore what it means to share land to grow food.
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 (Land Bank program), Young Agrarians launched our Land Matching Pilot in 2016. It has been really exciting to work alongside this Quebec based organization to grow our own Land Matching Program in B.C. Banque de Terres has recently been rebranded as ARTERRE (which translates to our heart, our land) and has expanded significantly across Quebec to over 50 counties operating as a program of Quebec’s Reference Centre for Agriculture and Agri-Food: Le Craaq! We hope to continue following in their footsteps and supporting more and more farmland owners and seekers on their journey towards feeding their communities and building relationships with each other, through comprehensive land extension supports.
The B.C. Land Matching Program is funded provincially by the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture. Funding is also provided to support regional programming by The Bullitt Foundation, Columbia Basin Trust, Cowichan Valley Regional District, Metro Vancouver, Township of Langley and the City of Surrey. Thank you to Cowichan Green Community for in-kind program support.