Implementation of key action items to begin in 2020
Squamish, BC – The final Squamish Valley Agricultural Plan was endorsed by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) Board and the District of Squamish (DoS) Council in April 2020.
The Squamish Valley Agricultural Plan encompasses Electoral Area D of the regional district, as well as the District of Squamish and is situated within the unceded traditional territory of the Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation). The plan has been in the works since December 2018 and builds on the Agricultural Land Use Inventory (ALUI) completed in 2017. The joint SLRD and DoS project received funding from the Governments of Canada and British Columbia and support from the Squamish Food Policy Council.
A team of consultants, led by Upland Agricultural Consulting and Whistler Centre for Sustainability, was retained to assist in crafting the plan. Community and stakeholder engagement was integral to the project, with engagement activities taking place over an 18 month period. The project team is grateful for having the valuable input of a Steering Committee made up of fourteen local food system experts representing a broad range of sectors. Close consultation with the BC Ministry of Agriculture brought the additional expertise of regional agrologists to strengthen the agricultural planning process.
The plan contains 38 recommended actions under six goal areas. Ongoing and high urgency items will be prioritized as part of the initial plan implementation.
“We are pleased to have given the plan final endorsement, and look forward to the results of the initial plan implementation,” said Tony Rainbow, SLRD Chair, and Electoral Area D Director.
“Supporting local food production and food security are important tenets of successful community building, and the collaborative implementation of the agricultural plan will work to strengthen the future of agriculture in the Squamish Valley,” Rainbow said.
Squamish Valley Agricultural Plan implementation will be led by the Squamish Food Policy Council, with support from the SLRD and the DoS. Initial implementation will be supported by financial contributions from the District of Squamish and Squamish-Lillooet Regional District in the amount of $25,000.
“This timely plan will work to support a thriving and sustainable agricultural sector in the Squamish region by protecting and increasing the productivity of food lands and the Agricultural Land Reserve within the plan area,” said District of Squamish Mayor, Karen Elliott, adding, “Many of the recommended actions contained within the plan will work toward increasing local food security, and increasing access to healthy, fresh foods.”
“We are excited to move into the implementation stage of the Agricultural Plan, by working with partners who are inspired by the renewed energy and momentum towards real action for increasing food production in the region,” said Krystle tenBrink and Constance Wylie of the Squamish Food Policy Council. TenBrink and Wylie added, “The plan builds on the years of work we have been doing to increase food security. In the first phase of implementation, our focus will be on actions that work to get more land under production, such as land-linking, and providing educational resources and workshops.”
For more information, visit the SLRD website: www.slrd.bc.ca/SquamishValleyAgPlan
The project partners wish to acknowledge funding provided by the Governments of Canada and British Columbia through programs delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.
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