Agriculture in the ACRD
The Alberni Valley has a very favourable climate for agriculture with cool wet winters and hot dry summers. The growing season is, generally, shorter than areas on the east side of Vancouver Island; however, there are sites with microclimates that are suitable to a very wide range of crops.Coastal areas experience more challenges to production due to rocky terrain and shallow topsoil layers, however the mild year-round temperatures allow for four season growing of many crops. Coastal growers also benefit from the large high-end market and low availability of coastal-grown products.
Annual Farm Tour
The Alberni Valley hosted its 10th annual Family Farms Day on September 18, 2022. The free annual event is a self-guided tour of farms and urban growing sites in the Alberni Valley. Anyone is welcome to visit as many of the sites as they'd like in any order. The brochure is available for download (link) and includes additional details and a map.
Explore local farms in the Alberni Valley by watching the Family Farm Day video tours.
Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR)The ALR is BC's provincial zone that preserves agricultural land for the future. The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) (link) is the administrative tribunal that adjudicates applications in the ALR while prioritizing and protecting the ALR land base and its use for agriculture.
Alberni Valley Agricultural PlanIn 2011, the ACRD Board of Directors adopted the Alberni Valley Agricultural Plan which set a vision for increasing food security in the region and the 12 primary goals to achieve this vision. Targets are geared towards developing the resources (land, labour, capital, and management ability) which will allow the community to produce 40% of the food consumed locally within 20 years. Since 2014, the ACRD has worked with a contracted team of Agricultural Support Workers to assist with implementation of the Plan. Under the guidance of the Agricultural Development Committee and the diverse community they represent, the Agricultural Plan Implementation Project has resulted in a stronger and more vibrant farming community, a number of local informational databases and documents, an increased public presence for agriculture, and new micro-projects and funding resources.
Coastal Addendum to the Alberni Valley Agricultural Plan
In 2018, the ACRD adopted the Coastal Addendum to the Agricultural Plan to support agricultural production in the ACRD’s coastal communities.
Agricultural Development CommitteeThe Agricultural Development Committee (ADC) includes representation from non-profit organizations, business, and government from throughout the region. This volunteer committee reviews and discusses matter relating to agriculture and helps to guide the work of staff and consultants. The ADC is available for public delegations, and can make policy or project recommendations to the ACRD Board of Directors.
Agricultural Advisory CommitteeThe Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC) is a committee of producers and representatives from the local farming community. The volunteer committee primarily reviews applications for development within land designated as Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). This includes subdivision of land within the ALR, non-farm uses within the ALR and exclusion applications. The committee will also review Official Community Plan updates, Zoning Bylaw updates and other land use policies pertaining to agriculture. The committee passes a recommendation for the consideration of the ACRD Board of Directors. The AAC meets as needed when ALR applications are received.
Coastal Agricultural Roundtable
The Coastal Agricultural Roundtable is a multi-stakeholder committee that guides the implementation of agricultural and food security initiatives in the ACRD's coastal communities. It aims to realize the vision and implementation of the Coastal Addendum to the Alberni Valley Agricultural Plan, which was adopted by the ACRD in 2018. The Committee meets a few times per year and is co-hosted by the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust. Membership consists of local and Indigenous governments, food organizations, and producers/processors.