Feb 19, 2022
The B.C. government is making changes to regulations governing Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) that will allow a more densified form of farming.
The changes will allow a process known as “vertical farming” on ALR land, which involves crops grown in vertically-stacked layers.
The process allows producers to maximize space while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said some vertical farming has been taking place on some ALR land, but the regulatory changes are needed to ensure “clarity” that the technology is permitted.
Popham said the recent floods that devastated B.C.’s Fraser Valley have also highlighted the need to embrace modern techniques to strengthen local agriculture.
“As we face more and more impact from climate change, it’s imperative that we continue to strengthen and grow the food systems that we have and embrace new, innovative practices and technology,” she said.
“Our economic plan presents a vision for the future, and part of that vision is embracing the role of technology in British Columbia, and using this technology to enhance our food security and our food economy.
Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun has hailed the change as a clear signal to the business community that innovation in the farming sector is welcome in the province.
“Historically it has been challenging for municipalities to attract large-scale agri-tech companies as there was uncertainty with the ALR regulations,” he said.
“By making these changes the provincial government can help this industry thrive, making it easier for orgs, farmers and municipalities to collaborate and innovate.”
Saturday’s changes are the latest in a string of announcements from the provincial government in the lead up to releasing the 2022 budget on Tuesday.