Metro Vancouver cities want idle farmland replanted
Kent Mullinix, Director Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security at the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, looks over some under used land in Richmond on Wednesday. Photo by Ian Lindsay.
More crops, better processing would keep billions of food dollars in the Vancouver Lower Mainland says researcher
By Randy Shore
Jan 31, 2013
“If the available underutilized ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve) land was put to use in these small-scale, human-intensive farm operations, they could satisfy Surrey’s demand for 24 commonly consumed crops and animal products, create almost 2,500 jobs, and contribute over $173 million in gross receipts to Surrey’s agriculture sector, more than doubling the current size of the industry in Surrey,” the Kwantlen report states.
It was commissioned by Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts to estimate the economic potential of fallow land. City staff have been creating a strategy based on that document. It will come to council in the next few weeks, she said.
It calls for the creation of a centre for innovation, strategies to attract processing businesses to the area and tools to get underutilized land back into production.
“One third of our land base is in the Agricultural Land Reserve, so we want to make sure we are capitalizing on all the opportunities that presents,” said Watts.
Residential development on ALR land is a significant problem in Surrey. Only 14 per cent of the 10,000plus people who live on ALR land are farmers.