The Future of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), Climate Change, and Food Security
Thursday, October 15, 7:00pm–9:00pm, Room 7000, SFU Harbour Centre
Co-sponsored by SFU’s J.S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities
British Columbia’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is the foundation for the business of agriculture in BC. It protects the limited physical land resource (5% of the provincial land base) on which food can be grown and raised. However, BC currently grows only 50 percent of what it consumes and imports the remainder. Why is that and how does that leave British Columbia’s food security vulnerable? Climate change, access to water, border and trade issues, and plant and animal disease all threaten our ability to feed ourselves. What animal can survive when the food habitat nearest to its shelter is destroyed? Population and urban pressures on ALR land in the south coast of BC are constant. In rural BC, pressure on ALR land such as resource development, human settlement, major power projects and an ‘I can do whatever I want with my rural property’ attitude prevail. What needs to be done to ensure we continue to protect our precious land base, support agricultural use of those lands, and thus our future food security in BC?
Richard Bullock is a Kelowna agriculturalist with significant knowledge of orchard and agri-tourism operations. He was active in industry organizations and has served as president of the BC Fruit Growers’ Association, BC Tree Fruits Ltd., and Sun-Rype Products Ltd., and as Director of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. Mr. Bullock has extensive experience in international consulting including the production and processing of agricultural crops. He is a former member of the British Columbia Marketing Board and the past Chair of the British Columbia Farm Industry Review Board. Richard’s appointment as Agricultural Land Commission Chair was made in June 2010. Following a significant review of the ALC and ALR early in his appointment, Richard has led the Commission through substantive change and while pursuing the mandate as set out in legislation to preserve BC’s limited agricultural land base and encourage farming of those lands.