Policy Impacts on Organic and Locally-Oriented Food Production in British Columbia

Researchers: Allison Eagle, G.C. van Kooten, University of Victoria

Research Summary

The objective of this research is to examine the economic issues facing organic and locally-oriented agricultural production in British Columbia with a focus on Vancouver Island. While the total number of farms in Canada has declined by more than 30% over the past 30 years, in B.C. this number has increased by more than 10%. Much of this increase appears to be focused on smaller farms, with 26% of farms utilizing less than 10 acres of land (smaller farms are even more common near urban centres). Some smaller organic and/or locally-oriented farms have proven to be very successful, although little is known about the factors contributing to their success and whether it can continue and be duplicated. Academic research and NGOs locally and internationally are identifying significant environmental and social benefits provided by these farming and marketing practices. The current research will explore the economic reality faced by these farms, and how current local, provincial and federal policy supports or hinders organic and locally-oriented production and marketing systems.

Significance of Research

With growing local support for organic and locally-marketed fresh produce, research into how organic farms can survive and thrive will provide sound information about the relevant economic and policy issues. The resulting reports will be made available to local, provincial and federal policy makers.

Summary of Research Results: Yet to come.