Hope’s agricultural land is made up of relatively small parcels. As such, Hope is conducive to innovative small-footprint agriculture practices and/or urban agriculture techniques.
A recent community food assessment conducted by the Hope Food Collective indicated that Hope residents are hoping that a current gap in local food producers will be filled in order to increase local food options.
Hope’s agricultural land is located adjacent to the community, making farm-gate sales, direct marketing, and agri-tourism viable business options. The success of the Circle Farm Tour in neighbouring communities has proven that farm-gate sales and regional agri-tourism initiatives can be successful.
Easy access to major transportation networks also ensures that agri-food producers are not limited to the local market and can easily get their products to market in the Fraser Valley, the Interior, and Washington State. Hope is 53km from a service area of 95 000, making us an ideal candidate for the 100-mile diet of a large and sustainable centre.
The major advantage for agrifood producers in Hope is that the price per hectare of land designated for agriculture is lower than much of the rest of the Fraser Valley. This allows urban agriculturalists to move east out of Metro Vancouver and plant their roots in Hope.
Municipal Land and Agriculture Use
District of Hope byalws are permissive of agriculture and agri-industry is a community-identified targeted sectors. However, there is currently no Agriculture Area Plan for the District of Hope.
ZoningThe District of Hope permits agriculture in the following zones
- AG-1 Agricultural
- L-1 Limited Use
- RU-1 Rural
- CR-1 Country Residential
Local Agrifood ActivityCurrent agriculture uses in Hope include, but are not limited to:
- Big leaf maple syrup production
- Dairy operation
- Equestrian facilities
- Farm retail sales
- Hobby farming
- Livestock raising/grazing
- Medical marijuana production
- Pet kennels and grooming
The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and Hope
The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a provincial zone in which agriculture is recognized as the primary use. Non-agricultural use is restricted by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) and farming is encouraged.
The ALR in British ColumbiaThe ALR covers approximately 4.6 million hectares in British Columbia. Hope lies within the South Coast Region which has 148 000 hectares of ALR land. Because of our mild climate and soil quality, the South Coast is a major contributor to the province's food security and economy. Hope ALR land is currently under-utilized. The ALR land parcels available in Hope tend to be less than 8 hectares each, with most being 0.4 - 4 hectares. These types of parcels are suited to small-scale, innovate farming techniques.
The ALR in HopeIn 1998, 7% of land in Hope was within the ALR; most of which is in the Flood-Airport and Laidlaw areas with some land designated in Dogwood Valley. Some ALR land is also within First Nations Reserve Land. There is also ALR land designated in the Skagit Valley, but it is more problematic as it is not divided into private parcels and the majority lies within BC Park boundaries. Adjacent to Hope, there is additional ALR land that lies within the Fraser Valley Regional District in Laidlaw and St. Elmo areas. View ALR maps here.
Activities Permitted within the ALRAgricultural activities permitted within the ALR include, but are not limited to:
- Raising and grazing livestock (cattle, bison, sheep, goats, hogs, horses)
- Tree fruits
- Poultry production (chicken, turkeys, waterfowl)
- Vegetables (field, greenhouse)
- Dairy operations
- Grains and oilseeds
- Forage crops
- Ornamentals (floriculture, horticulture, nursery crops)
- Wineries and cideries
- Storage, packing, and processing of farm products
- Timber production
- Equestrian facilities
- Application of soil amendments
- Farm retail sales
- Temporary or seasonal agri-tourism activities
- Production of compost (with conditions)
- Land development works for farm purposes
The Agricultural Land CommissionThe Agricultural Land Reserve takes precedence over, but does not replace, other legislation and bylaws that may apply to the land. Local and regional governments, as well as other provincial agencies, are expected to plan in accordance with the provincial policy of preserving agricultural land. The Agricultural Land Commission Act sets the legislative framework for the establishment and administration of the agricultural land preservation program. If you wish to seek advice regarding the agricultural capability or suitability of a parcel of land, you can contact an appropriate professional at the British Columbia Institute of Agrologists for an assessment.
Property Taxes and Farm Classification
Lands used for approved agricultural purposes can receive Farm Classification from BC Assessment. This will reduce your overall property tax rate. The details and application process can be found here.
Right to Farm
You have a right to farm on municipal, regional, or provincially designated land. The Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act reads as follows: “Farmers who follow ‘normal farm practice’ and who are not in contravention of the Public Health Act, Integrated Pest Management Act, Environmental Management Act, their regulations or land use regulations are protected from certain by-law enforcement, court injunctions, and nuisance lawsuits.
Value-Added Agrifood Manufacturing Opportunities
Many small-scale farms are finding that producing value-added products is creating farm viability. Value-added products are defined as changing the physical state of a product. For example, if a berry grower produced jam then the jam would be a value-added product.
Hope is ideal for food and beverage processing given our low-cost agricultural and mixed-use land base relative to the rest of the Fraser Valley, strong connections to transportation infrastructure, and a superior quality of life. In addition, we have excellent water quality.
Marketing your Products
Depending on their scale, agrifood manufacturers can direct market to the community via local farm markets, grocers, and retail stores. The newly formed Hope Food Collective is pursuing the creation of a food hub that would support local food processing and sales. For larger production, there is a significant potential market share for value-added product and specialty food products in nearby centres (including the Fraser Valley, Interior, and Washington State).
“Product of Canada” and “Made in Canada” claims are enforced by the federal Competition Bureau by way of the Competition Act, Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, and the Textile Labelling Act.
Product of CanadaTo be considered a "Product of Canada," at least 98% of the ingredients must be Canadian in origin.
Made in CanadaThe criteria to be considered "Made in Canada" requires that the last substantial transformation of the food product occur in Canada. This process can utilize substantial imported ingredients; however, if "Made in Canada" is printed on the label, the claim must be qualified to indicate that it is manufactured in Canada from imported ingredients (or a combination of imported and domestic ingredients)
Proudly Made in Hope, BCThis local qualifier indicates that the production of the food (growing and/or processing) happens in Hope.
Organic Labeling and ClaimsBy 2018, all food and beverage products that have the word "organic" on the label or in the marketing must be certified. The federal government's Organic Products Regulations (OPR) is responsible for certifying any BC grown or processed organic food/beverage that will be exported outside the province.
Agrifood MarketingThe provincial government has curated a substantial resource base to help farmers market their business and connect with other agrifood businesses around the province. Domestic market statistics, access to marketing workshops, information on the BC Buy Local Program, information on how to write marketing plans, and other agrifood marketing resources (including directories of farmers' markets and other food-related organizations) can be found here.
Agriculture and Agrifood Resources
Connecting with local resources and markets is integral to the success of any business. As such, we have compiled a list of agriculture resources for new and expanding businesses.
- Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre, Kent
- Agricultural Centre for Excellence, University of the Fraser Valley
- Fraser Valley Permaculture Guild
- Young Agrarians
- Sun Country Community Futures
- Hope Food Collective
For a list of provincial resources to start your agrifood business in Hope, re-locate your business to Hope, or market your products, contact AdvantageHOPE.