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Will Vancouver Lose It's Farming Mojo?

Vancouver has the most farmland and farmers in North America. However, as Vancouver booms, the thriving agricultural belt that surrounds Greater Vancouver is at risk from an expanding city.
October 7, 2012, 7am PDT | Andrew Gorden
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Vancouver's farmland is passing into a new generation. Many of the region's farms, many at only a few acres in size, are thriving. Crops are selling for a tremendous premium, compared to the cheap imports from international markets that sail in through the city's port. Still, Vancouver's farms are facing increased pressure from the expanding city.

"As distinctive and productive as Vancouver's farms are, they're also under greater threat than any others in the country, because of the fierce competition for land in this region. The competition comes, for starters, from housing subdivisions, with speculation on farmland driving prices as high as $100,000 an acre in some places. This leads to constant friction between farmers and new homeowners unimpressed by the smell of pigs and mushrooms. " writes Vancouver Magazine's Frances Bula. "Equally threatening is the demand to convert agricultural land to industrial use."

Additionally, some worry about the greater picture; British Columbia's over-reliance on cheap, imported food, challenging efforts to give incentives to locally-produced food. Despite the province's ability to grow tremendous amounts of food, much of that crop is exported at a Canadian premium in exchange for cheap, imported food. And, if the port, housing subdivisions, industry, and infrastructure continue to edge their way into previously agricultural lands, the province may find itself less able to produce its own food.

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Published on Monday, October 1, 2012 in Vancouver Magazine
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