Farmer hard at work. Photo supplied by BC Agriculture Council Facebook page.
The newly developed Vancouver Island Adaptation Strategies Plan will help farmers on Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands.
The newly developed plan will help farmers adapt to climate change through eleven strategies promoting resiliency among regional producers.
The projects will help farmers respond to warmer and drier summer conditions, changing pests and beneficial insects, increasing variability, and shifting suitability, along with increasing precipitation and extreme precipitation events.
“Our farmers are on the front line of climate change, and we should all be very proud of the hard work they are undertaking to adapt to changes in conditions,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “By taking a region-specific approach, we are in the best position to support them with solutions customized to the unique challenges they face. At the end of the day, this is all about keeping our farmers’ operations strong and putting more locally-grown food on our kitchen tables.”
A working group consisting of up to 20 representatives from the agriculture sector and regional and provincial governments will oversee the development of priority projects.
“B.C. farmers are resilient by nature and experience challenges daily on their farms,” said Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture. “We’re helping farmers plan and develop to respond to the challenges of a changing climate and how that affects their livelihood. These strategies, specifically designed for farmers on Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands, will help them adapt so they can continue contributing to our economy and providing the fresh local food our communities depend on.”
The BC Agriculture and Food Climate Action Initiative, which began last summer, will manage project implementation. After conducting several focus groups, the process brought together 90 farmers to work with six Vancouver Island regional districts, as well as senior levels of government and federal agencies, to identify priorities and actions for agricultural adaptation. The plan builds on the work of a 2013 pilot project, the Cowichan Adaptation Strategies plan.
Owner of Peas n’ Carrots Farm Katie Underwood said, “I feel appreciative to have been part of the BC Agriculture & Food Climate Action Initiative workshops this past winter. I look forward to the B.C. government continuing to consult with non-stereotypical farmers and listening to the voices of female farmers, organic growers, Indigenous food producers, farmers on leased land and young or new farmers to help solve problems that affect us all: climate change, food security and access to good food.”