BC’s farms are an essential part of your life: from the ingredients in your lunchtime salad to the eggs in the cake you bake, your table connects to BC farms every day. Start the new year with a renewed appreciation for the folks who produce your food and flowers, and get to know your BC farms!
Fact #1: BC’s farms are precious. The 2016 Census of Agriculture counted just 17,528 farms in BC. But while the number of farms is going down, their property size is increasing. The average area per farm has increased steadily in size by 5%, from an average of 327 acres in 2011 to 365 acres in 2016. And here’s something to celebrate! Whether they are 1 acre or 1000 acres, 98% of those farms are family owned businesses. If you want to support these farms, it’s easy: buying local is a great way to keep farmers doing what they love.
Fact #2: BC’s farms produce well over 200 different commodities - that’s a lot of variety for one province! Our unique climate means variety flourishes here in B.C.-- and that benefits everybody! The diversity is incredible. You can find locally produced food to fit any taste and preference - from eggs, chicken, mushrooms and dairy to tree fruit, vegetables, grain and beef… and many more. Don’t forget the commodities like cut flowers, nursery plants and horses that enrich our lives in other ways! Local is everywhere you look!
Fact #3: BC is a leader in farm sales across Canada If you’ve read up on our cherries or berries, it’s easy to understand why BC-grown foods are in demand around the world, and across the country! In fact, B.C. producers rank first in Canada for farm sales of blueberries, cherries, raspberries, garlic, apricots and leeks, and are second in the nation in farm sales of greenhouse vegetables, floriculture products, nursery products, mushrooms, grapes, cranberries, peaches, lettuce, pumpkins, pears, brussels sprouts, nectarines and watermelons.
Fact #4: BC is also top of the list when it comes to female farm operators According to the 2016 census, BC has the highest proportion of female farm operators in Canada at 37.5% (nationally, women account for 28.7% of all farm operators). Get to know one of these inspiring women by reading our interview with third generation apple farmer Madeleine von Roechoudt.
Fact #5: The number of farmers under 35 is growing There are 1,825 young farmers in BC producing your food in BC, and that number is steadily rising. The number of young farmers in BC grew from 5.4% in 2011 to 6.9% in 2016. To hear the story of one outstanding young farmer, check out our interview with fourth-generation flower grower Alexis Warmerdam. As more family farms are passed down to the next generation, our young farmers are showing that they have the drive and the smarts to try new forms of farming in this province, and to succeed at it.
There’s so much to more to share about BC’s farms. If you’re interested in starting off your new year by supporting locally grown food, check out our recipes page for inspiration and then head to your local grocery store or farmers’ market. And don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook or Instagram - we’re sharing more farmers’ stories there as well as recipes and amazing facts about agriculture in BC.