HOBBY FARMING IN THE LOWER FRASER VALLEY by PATRICIA MARGARET HAYWARD B.Ed., The University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1979 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Geography) We accept th i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October 1983 (c) P a t r i c i a Margaret Hayward, 1983 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. I t i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 DE-6 (3/81) ABSTRACT Concern i s growing over the use, ownership and preser-vation of a g r i c u l t u r a l land i n Canada. The hobby farm i s a d i s t i n c t i v e type of farm land use i n the rural-urban f r i n g e of large c i t i e s . Opinion varies on the v a l i d i t y of hobby farming as land use and as part of the a g r i c u l t u r a l industry, yet l i t t l e documentation e x i s t s on i t s actual form and function. This study attempts to assess the v a l i d i t y of hobby farming i n the Lower Fraser Valley near Vancouver, an impor-tant a g r i c u l t u r a l region i n which a s i g n i f i c a n t proportion of the farm units are hobby farms. It i s hypothesized that the hobby farm has a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c form and that hobby farmers have s i m i l a r motivations for choosing a r u r a l l i f e -s t y l e . They are l i k e l y to make s i m i l a r choices and decisions i n the purchase and management of t h e i r property. Only when these are i d e n t i f i e d can the r e l a t i o n s h i p s of hobby farming to commercial farming and i t s ro l e within the a g r i c u l t u r a l industry be assessed. The findings and conclusions of t h i s study were drawn from primary data provided by interviews of eighty-two hobby farmers i n the d i s t r i c t of Surrey i n the Lower Fraser Valley. They were randomly selected from property tax assessment r o l l s and interviewed between February and May 1982. i i A v a r i e t y of circumstances l e d to the development of hobby farming i n the Valley where the small, mixed subsis-tence farms of the 1860s survived the expansion and commer-c i a l i z a t i o n of the farm industry over the next hundred years. Although the moderate climate of the Valley f a c i l i -tates production, many p o t e n t i a l l y serious problems such as poor drainage necessitate a high l e v e l of c a p i t a l improve-ments and s k i l l f u l use of s p e c i a l techniques to make: a g r i -culture commercially v i a b l e . The recent trend to i n t e n s i -f i c a t i o n and s p e c i a l i z a t i o n along with r i s i n g costs and uncertain returns has l e d to the demise of poorly managed, small-sized commercial farms on land of marginal q u a l i t y . The A g r i c u l t u r a l Land Reserve system i n B. C. p r o h i b i t s the sale of a g r i c u l t u r a l land f o r any use except farming so the many small uneconomic farm units are purchased as hobby farms. Hobby farming i s an appropriate form of a g r i -c u l t u r a l enterprise i n the V a l l e y . Surrey hobby farms, small i n s i z e and mixed i n produc-t i o n , are generally well maintained, although improvements are made i n an i r r e g u l a r fashion as time and money become ava i l a b l e . Hobby farm land i s seldom i d l e but produces a wide v a r i e t y of goods, many a l t e r n a t i v e v a r i e t i e s and breeds to those of Surrey's commercial farms. Farm sales are mini-mal, s u f f i c i e n t to achieve property tax exemption and provide some funds f o r farm expenses. Marketing arrangements are f l e x i b l e and informal. Surrey hobby farmers are a heterogeneous group in socioeconomic terms and p o l i t i c a l orientations, although there i s an occupational predominance of administrators and professionals. Most have urban backgrounds but have rejected c i t y l i f e and chosen hobby farming to achieve the q u a l i t i e s of r u r a l l i f e s t y l e they d e s i r e — p a r t i c u l a r l y the privacy of a' peaceful setting where they are free to raise t h e i r children and manage the i r farm animals and crops without interference. S e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y i s an impor-tant goal for some. Both the planning and management of the farm i s undertaken with l i t t l e outside help, and experi-mentation with products and techniques r e f l e c t s the hobby orientation of the owners. The rural-urban fringe location i s perceived p o s i t i v e l y and s a t i s f a c t i o n l e v e l s are high. Hobby farming coexists comfortably with f u l l - t i m e commercial farming, providing l i t t l e competition in the market place yet some opportunities for wage labour and leasing arrangements. Hobby farms provide some of the unusual products and amenity services sought by urban dwellers and preserve a countryside landscape that i s aest h e t i c a l l y pleasing. The Fraser Valley hobby farms have a valuable role to play i n the use and preservation of a g r i c u l t u r a l land and the farm industry. TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ABSTRACT LIST OF TABLES LIST OF FIGURES ACKNOWLEDGEMENT CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1 The Hobby Farm 3 The Hobby Farm i n Social Science Literature 6 Locational Aspects of Hobby Farming 12 THE STUDY 16 Aims 16 Defini t i o n s 17 The Study Area 18 Data Source and Sampling 18 Interviewing and Analysis 20 NOTES 21 CHAPTER TWO: CIRCUMSTANCES FACILITATING HOBBY FARMING 24 Antecedents 24 Environmental Aspects 26 Economic Factors 29 I n s t i t u t i o n a l Factors 32 Circumstances Within the Study Area of Surrey 36 NOTES 44 i i v i i i ix v Page CHAPTER THREE: THE HOBBY FARMERS 46 WHO IS THE SURREY HOBBY FARMER? 47 Age and Marital Status 47 Occupational Status 47 Urban Background of Hobby Farmers 50 Length of Ownership 52 P o l i t i c a l Orientations 52 WHY DO HOBBY FARMERS CHOOSE A RURAL LIFESTYLE? 57 Quali t i e s of Rural L i v i n g 57 The Setting 61 WHAT SETTING DO HOBBY FARMERS CHOOSE FOR THEIR RURAL LIFESTYLE? 62 Location 62 Features Important in Choice of Property 65 Previous Status of Property 67 Hobby Farm Size and Land Quality 69 Improvements Made to Properties 72 Summary 79 NOTES 81 CHAPTER FOUR: THE HOBBY FARM 83 THE PRESENT SITUATION 84 Land Use 84 Farm Production 87 Farm Sales and Marketing Arrangements 92 '" v i Page Farm Labour Requirements and Sources 97 Information Flow 101 LEVELS OF SATISFACTION 103 THE FUTURE 105 Summary 113 NOTES 114 CHAPTER FIVE: IMPACT, IMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS 115 THE ROLE OF HOBBY FARMING IN THE AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY 115 RELATIONSHIPS WITH COMMERCIAL FARMING 119 THE ROLE OF HOBBY FARMING IN PRESERVING THE COUNTRYSIDE 123 NOTES 126 CHAPTER SIX: SUMMARY 127 NOTES 132 BIBLIOGRAPHY 133 APPENDIX I: SAMPLING PROCEDURE 141 APPENDIX II: QUESTIONNAIRE 143 v i i LIST OF TABLES TABLE I TABLE II TABLE III: TABLE IV: TABLE V: TABLE VI: TABLE VII: TABLE VIII TABLE IX: TABLE X: TABLE XI: TABLE XII: TABLE XIII Percentage of Census Farms By-Economic Class Occupations of P r i n c i p a l Wage Earners of Sample Hobby Farm Group Proportion of Hobby Farmers in Managerial-Professional Employment Classes Orientation Toward A g r i c u l t u r a l Land Reserves Posi t i v e Q u a l i t i e s Identified with Rural L i f e s t y l e on a Hobby Farm Features Id e n t i f i e d as Important i n the Choice of a Property Previous Status of Hobby Farm Property Hobby Farm Size Residence, Amenity and Farm Improve-ments Number of Different Types of Production per Farm Types of Production on Farms in Sample Group Marketed Hobby Farm Production Custom Farm Services Used by Hobby Farms Page 32 48 50 56 58 66 68 70 73 87 89 93 99 v i i i LIST OF FIGURES Page Figure 1: Lower Fraser Valley 38 Figure 2: D i s t r i c t of Surrey 39 ix ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I would l i k e to express my appreciation to the faculty and graduate students of the Geography Department at U.B.C. for t h e i r help and friendship, p a r t i c u l a r l y to Mr. Richard Copley who f i r s t stimulated my interest in c u l t u r a l geog-raphy i n undergraduate courses and kindly agreed to review t h i s thesis. Very special thanks must go to my advisor, Dr. Alf r e d Siemens, who patie n t l y guided my research and cheer-f u l l y offered help and encouragement when they were needed. My appreciation also to the many Surrey farmers who welcomed a " c i t y person" into t h e i r homes and w i l l i n g l y answered many questions about the joys and frustrations of hobby farming. F i n a l l y , thanks to my family who always believed some day th i s thesis would be fini s h e d . CHAPTER ONE 1 INTRODUCTION Concern i s growing over the use, ownership and preser-vation of a g r i c u l t u r a l land in Canada. Attention i s par-t i c u l a r l y focussed on the loss of high quality food pro-ducing land through i t s conversion to urban uses near large Canadian c i t i e s . Less than 13% of Canada's land i s suitable for a g r i c u l t u r a l production of any type and much less i s suitable for cropland. Over half of the highest quality farmland occurs within a f i f t y mile radius of the twenty-two largest Canadian c i t i e s . 1 Urban expansion invariably involves conversion of this land to i n d u s t r i a l , commercial and residen-t i a l uses. Recent public awareness of the li m i t e d supply and continuing losses of good a g r i c u l t u r a l land has increasingly sharpened the perception of farmland as a valuable resource rather than a commodity. Pressures have increasingly been brought to bear on policy makers to protect and preserve the a g r i c u l t u r a l land resource from the inevitable r e s u l t of open market bidding, the gradual conversion of farmland to higher and better uses in purely economic terms. Farmland preservation measures have varied considerably p r o v i n c i a l l y but include p r e f e r e n t i a l taxation, land banking, and r u r a l zoning. The most successful programs are those in place in B.C. and Quebec. The B.C. response to r e a l and threatened losses of prime a g r i c u l t u r a l land was the landmark 2 land use l e g i s l a t i o n of 1973 establishing a g r i c u l t u r a l land reserves administered by a Land Commission. Areas of the province where the physical c a p a b i l i t y of the land was assessed p o t e n t i a l l y best for agriculture were designated as farm land with no further p o s s i b i l i t y of subdivision or non-agricultural development. Despite these s t r i c t zoning controls, B.C. experienced increased conversion rates of both unimproved and improved land between 1971-76 over the 1966-71 period. Prime a g r i -c u l t u r a l land t o t a l l i n g 9850 hectares was l o s t during the 1971-76 period in comparison to 6440 hectares for the pre-3 vious f i v e years. A recent study suggests farmland preservation measures are no more successful elsewhere in Canada. Warren and Rump document the Canadian farmland conversion process: High conversion rates of certain categories of high c a p a b i l i t y lands continue despite e f f o r t s to discourage development on such prime lands. . . . For every i n -crease i n population of 1,000, 60 hectares of r u r a l land were converted to urban uses during 1966-71. This rate increased to 72 hectares for the '71-'76 period, despite various policy, planning, and management mea-sures to preserve r u r a l land.4 Furthermore, the preservation of farmland does not ensure the preservation of a g r i c u l t u r a l production. The current use being made of farmland and the proposed future use are obviously es s e n t i a l factors i n assessing long term food production trends. It i s the actual management deci-sions being made by in d i v i d u a l farm owners and t h e i r future 3 intentions that w i l l ultimately determine how well and in what form farms w i l l survive. As long as farmland i s pri v a t e l y owned, even within the framework of s t r i c t zoning l e g i s l a t i o n , the use of Canadian farmland i s no more than the sum of thousands of in d i v i d u a l owners' decisions. The Hobby Farm The hobby farm i s one d i s t i n c t i v e form of a g r i c u l t u r a l land holding that has both supporters and detractors among those concerned with farmland conversion and preservation. 5 Norman Pearson, a B.C. planning consultant, states: Well, what i s the hobby farm r e a l l y ? It i s an exten-sion of urban development, usually an expensive home, with a very neat tax arrangement. If he has a certain l e v e l of production on that land the owner can c a l l i t a 'farm' and a v a i l himself of some rather a t t r a c t i v e income tax arrangements—then cash in when the time i s ripe. The acreage needed for an economic farm unit i s getting larger and larger a l l the time, so the hobby farm only serves to destroy that p o s s i b i l i t y by chopping up the land and escalating the land values. On the other hand, a Surrey hobby farmer says: This area didn't look l i k e anything u n t i l c i t y people started to move out here and spruce up the place. Hobby farms should be encouraged with stronger tax incentives such as greater write-offs on income tax. They use up otherwise useless land and one of the re a l benefits of hobby farms i s in the spin-off e f f e c t s in payment for services to l o c a l people. These contrasting statements r e f l e c t commonly held viewpoints among the geographers, planners and land economists who are concerned with the use of r u r a l land. Detractors of hobby farming suggest production lev e l s are low on hobby 4 units so good cap a b i l i t y foodland i s being wasted, and they blame hobby farmers for i n f l a t i n g land prices and outbidding commercial farmers who need land for expansion. Scattered purchases of land fragment an area into small parcels unlike l y to be reassembled for commercial food production. Hobby farmers are frequently accused of using poor land management techniques that can cause deterioration in the physical quality of the land. They are sometimes described as astute opportunists who farm to take advantage of the tax breaks and tend to be more interested in harvesting invest-ment dol l a r s than hay. Hobby farmers themselves and t h e i r supporters see hobby farming as a v a l i d use of a g r i c u l t u r a l land, p a r t i c u -l a r l y farmland close to c i t i e s where i t i s most l i k e l y to be converted to other uses. They suggest i t i s a valuable way to preserve farmland for possible future food needs by keeping i t i n at least minimal l e v e l s of use and maintenance. It i s a more sensible form of land holding than the actual alternative, land assemblies held i n i d l e d state by specu-lators awaiting optimum conditions for development. Pro-ponents argue hobby farmers support the r u r a l i n f r a s t r u c -ture by purchasing a variety of goods and services l o c a l l y including custom farm services from commercial farmers who may need opportunities for wage labour. Hobby farmers some-times provide land for lease to commercial farmers who are unwilling or unable to purchase land for expansion and rather than outbidding f u l l - t i m e farmers, are actually 5 s a t i s f y i n g t h e i r need for additional available crop or pasture land at very low c a p i t a l costs. Hobby farms have also been described as a e s t h e t i c a l l y pleasing additions to the r u r a l landscape providing variety and alternatives to a country-side needed as green space for nearby c i t y dwellers. The purpose of t h i s study i s to assess the v a l i d i t y of these various points of view about hobby farming within a p a r t i c u l a r rural-urban fringe setting, the Lower Fraser Valley near Vancouver where a s i g n i f i c a n t proportion of the farm units are hobby farms. The study explores the following hopotheses. The emergence of hobby farming as a d i s t i n c -t i v e land use i s a consequence of certain h i s t o r i c a l , c u l -t u r a l and economic circumstances peculiar to a p a r t i c u l a r region. The hobby farm takes a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c form with certain common q u a l i t i e s and functions. Hobby farmers have si m i l a r motivations for choosing t h i s l i f e s t y l e and i t i s possible to distinguish certain decision making patterns. After the form, function and ownership patterns of hobby farming have been i d e n t i f i e d and described i t i s perhaps possible to more accurately i d e n t i f y the role of the hobby farm as a land use and to suggest the possible effects i t may have on the agricultural..industry within a s p e c i f i c r u r a l community. Canadian researchers such as McRae, Troughton, Russwurm and Bryant suggest more documentation i s es s e n t i a l to explore the rel a t i o n s h i p between changing a g r i c u l t u r a l land use and land ownership patterns in an attempt to assess more 6 e f f e c t i v e l y the planning controls imposed on Canadian 6 farmland. But i t i s clear from r u r a l land use l i t e r a t u r e that hobby farming i s a poorly defined and l i t t l e documented enterprise despite the variety of opinions expressed about i t s v a l i d i t y as a land use. This study attempts to provide some insight into that d i s t i n c t i v e form of a g r i c u l t u r a l land use and land tenure, the hobby farm. The Hobby Farm i n Social Science Literature While hobby farming i s a f a i r l y recent phenomenon in Canada, related forms of land holding and l i f e s t y l e have long been a part of the r u r a l landscape. Countryside v i l l a s with spacious gardens existed beyond the built-up area of Greater Ur and outside ancient Egyptian c i t i e s . Countryside retreats for urban dwellers have been common in Europe for centuries. V i l l a s occupied by the p r i v i l e g e d upper class ringed Venice and Florence in the thirteenth century and London gentlemen cherished t h e i r country estate which, in addition to i t s farm functions, often provided gardens and paths for s t r o l l i n g , spacious lawns for archery and croquet and open f i e l d s for r i d i n g and hunting. For a long time thi s l i f e s t y l e remained the exclusive right of the wealthy who could afford the luxury of a country retreat while retaining a c i t y residence. During the nineteenth and early twentieth century the countryside as a whole was being drained of population through rapid r u r a l to urban migration associated with i n d u s t r i a l i z a -tion and urbanization. However, intense i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n 7 made c i t i e s crowded, smoky and congested. Water and a i r po l l u t i o n caused a variety of health problems so the "demand to get away from the c i t y became more imperative and undeni-7 able" for those who could afford i t . Along with the obvious advantages i n the physical set-ting, ... countryside l i v i n g also offered a s o c i a l environment where one could be liberated from "the sometimes dreary conventions and compulsions of an urban society" and be 8 free to "have l i f e on one's own terms." This opportunity, whether r e a l or perceived, for freedom and individualism remains an important force in the decision to move to the countryside. Hobby farms i n th e i r present forms became increasingly prominent features of the North American r u r a l landscape during the period of r u r a l resettlement that gained momentum during the 1940s and 1950s. Country l i v i n g became popular-ized as not only the wealthy but also the middle class had access to r e s i d e n t i a l land outside the c i t y l i m i t s . Increas-ing income and le i s u r e time and the mobility made possible by automobile ownership led to the establishment of suburbs beyond the c i t y centre. Punter suggests "the e l i t e group who (had) always formed the vanguard of outward waves of migration from the c i t y (had) eventually been joined by a s u f f i c i e n t number of imitators that exurban (had) become unmistakably suburban in terms of both community and land-9 scape." The popularity of the movement threatened to end the privacy and peace those moving out of c i t i e s were 8 seeking. When suburbs became crowded some moved further from the c i t y to larger r u r a l properties beyond suburban development. This urban to r u r a l movement shows no signs of abating, as the New York Times of March 23, 1980 suggests: Since the early 1970s census estimates:have been showing a spreading out of the American population from the c i t i e s and suburbs to the countryside, a trend so widespread that authorities now view i t as a major national phenomenon with broad economic, s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l implications. From 1970 to 1980 areas outside the orbi t of c i t i e s showed a net gain of about 3 m i l -l i o n people, growing more rapidly than metropolitan areas or the population as a whole, according to the l a t e s t estimates by the Bureau of the Census. But even as the countryside becomes re s e t t l e d the number of commercial farms and f u l l - t i m e farmers continue to decrease. By 1970 in the United States f i v e of six members of the economically active r u r a l population were non-farmers by occupation although many were l i v i n g on a variety of small and large acreage holdings variously described as country estates, gentlemen's farms, ranchettes and hobby farms. It i s clear that the new r u r a l i t e s are not seeking a r u r a l l i v e l i h o o d i n the sense of a t r a d i t i o n a l a g r i c u l t u r a l l i f e but rather are using the experience of l i v i n g on a farm to f u l f i l non-economic needs. The countryside i s being r e s e t t l e d by those who retain t h e i r urban employment but desire a r u r a l l i f e s t y l e . The appeal or " p u l l " of the countryside i s deeply rooted in agrarian ideology i n the United States. It i s probably 9 best expressed in the Jeffersonian i d e a l i z a t i o n of r u r a l l i f e as natural and good, containing the best of American culture and producing a virtuous, independent and s e l f -s u f f i c i e n t population. Rohrer suggests: "Agrarianism retained i t s v i a b i l i t y through nearly two centuries of history. Its generalization to nonfarm situations and i t s perseverance label i t a hardy human a r t i f a c t . " " ^ The Canadian trend to increasing numbers of hobby farms p a r a l l e l s the American experience but i t occurs even more recently. The movement to the countryside outside large c i t i e s has been linked with the growth of a professional and managerial class with the economic means and s o c i a l i n c l i n a t i o n to l i v e i n r u r a l areas, so the. recency of interest i n exurban l i f e i n Canada may be attributable to the increasing s i z e of the professional and managerial classes as well as the increasing pressures on space and more limited access to the countryside. U n t i l a few years ago the desire for a large acreage with room for a horse, some chickens and a vegetable garden could be accommodated within the c i t y l i m i t s . Many Canadian c i t i e s have only recently experienced rapid growth and development to higher densities. They are now perceived by some to be crowded, unhealthy and s t r e s s f u l environments. Perhaps, too, the fact that most Canadians are only a generation or two removed from the farm suggests nostalgia plays a role i n the appeal of r u r a l l i f e . The escape to the c i t y from the drudgery of farm l i f e f i f t y years ago has reversed d i r e c t i o n . Many 10 now wish to escape urban i l l s and pressures and return i n a "wistful search for roots" to a l i f e where peace, privacy and the shaping of one's immediate environment i s p o s s i b l e . 1 1 There i s a rather meagre amount of published research on Canadian r u r a l resettlement but nevertheless within the l i t e r a t u r e many in t r i g u i n g questions are raised on the nature and forms of r u r a l land holding and the effects of the trend of urban to r u r a l migration on a g r i c u l t u r a l land 12 use. The i n i t i a l problem i s one of defining forms of r u r a l land holding in some standard way i n terms of tenure pattern, size, and function to allow for comparative studies. McRae, in a review a r t i c l e on r u r a l resettlement, i d e n t i f i e s three primary types of r u r a l holding: permanent residences, seasonal residences and hobby farms, but suggests there i s considerable confusion within geographic l i t e r a t u r e in d i s -tinguishing between hobby farms and permanent residences, hobby farms and part-time farms and hobby farms and r u r a l 13 estates. Michie, i n i d e n t i f y i n g and mapping various r u r a l land uses i n the countryside of Southern Ontario avoids d e f i n i t i o n a l problems and simply describes r u r a l estates i n a unique and perceptive fashion as "farms where recent expenditures are obvious (including) white paddock fences, extensive and well-clipped lawns, barns obviously not greatly used for livestock purposes, no farm equipment v i s i b l e . " In land use l i t e r a t u r e the one d e f i n i t i o n a l character-i s t i c of hobby farming that seems widely accepted i s that 11 t h i s enterprise i s not primarily undertaken for income generating purposes and therefore s a t i s f a c t i o n s derived from i t are non-economic. Other aspects of the term are more variably interpreted including: whether or not the farm i s actually used for food production or i s merely capable of production; whether the farm production i s mar-keted and at what l e v e l of sales; whether the farm units are within a s p c e i f i e d size range; whether the owner must be resident on the property to be considered a "hobby farmer"; and whether the hobby farm owner must have urban based employment and income. S t a t i s t i c s Canada d i f f e r e n t i a t e s hobby farmers from part-time and f u l l - t i m e farmers by defining them as those farmers with 150 or more days of off-farm employment annually and less than $5000 of annual farm sales. This d e f i n i t i o n i s possibly somewhat s i m p l i s t i c but i s useful because i t i s ea s i l y measurable. It i s probably an exer-cise i n f u t i l i t y to attempt to define the hobby farm whose essential q u a l i t i e s and distinguishing c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s w i l l almost c e r t a i n l y vary considerably regionally. Probably i t i s most s a t i s f a c t o r y to simply stress the "hobby" aspect of the term—"a pursuit outside one's regular occupation 15 that i s engaged i n for relaxation." Within these param-eters s p e c i f i c l o c a t i o n a l and personal circumstances deter-mine the f i n a l form and function of the hobby farm. 12 Locational Aspects of Hobby Farming The l i t e r a t u r e i s more successful:'in documenting loca-16 t i o n a l aspects of hobby farming. Most Canadian hobby farms are located in the rural-urban fringes of major c i t i e s such as Toronto, Ottawa, London, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver. Hobby farming shows a d e f i n i t e distance decay function as one moves outward from the c i t y and research by Found i n the Toronto region and Troughton i n the London region suggests one i s u n l i k e l y to f i n d many hobby farms further than t h i r t y to forty miles or an hour's commuting time from the c i t y 17 centre. The obvious l o c a t i o n a l relationship between c i t i e s and hobby farming may be a function of the needs or desires of owners to be near the c i t y for employment or recreational opportunities. On the other Jiand, i t may r e f l e c t the amount of farm land being marketed near the c i t y where s e l l i n g out i s most l i k e l y to occur or the investment value of r u r a l land near c i t i e s . Found s t a t i s t i c a l l y analyzed a series of land use maps of the area surrounding Toronto to measure relationships between various land uses, distance to Toronto and physical 19 land c a p a b i l i t y . The obvious pattern of decreasing per-centages of r u r a l estate land use with increasing distance from Toronto was distorted somewhat by the location of a t t r a c t i v e wooded land some considerable distance from the 20 edge of the c i t y . The estates were c l e a r l y associated with land of poor a g r i c u l t u r a l c a p a b i l i t y but high recrea-t i o n a l c a p a b i l i t y . Found points out, however, the measured 13 variable accounted for only a minor portion of the explana-tion of the land use pattern, suggesting a set of compli-cated and elusive forces determining r u r a l estate land use. The l o c a t i o n a l pattern of hobby farming raises some inte r e s t i n g questions. Do hobby farmers r e a l l y have strong urban t i e s and therefore deliberately choose land within an easy commuting distance of the c i t y ? Which land q u a l i t i e s are highly desirable to hobby farmers in terms of a g r i c u l -t u r a l or recreational potential? What are these other comp-l i c a t e d and elusive forces Found refers to that determine hobby farm location? The occurrence of hobby farming i n a p a r t i c u l a r area i s l i k e l y to be a consequence of a complicated set of factors including t r a d i t i o n a l patterns of production and tenure, land values, viable marketing arrangements and land use l e g i s l a t i o n . Punter traces the history of exurban develop-ment in the area surrounding Toronto from the establishment of large country estates for the e l i t e in the 1930s through the a r r i v a l in the early 1950s of the middle class buyers 21 who purchased smaller properties with modest homes. By the 1960s increasing legal r e s t r i c t i o n s on l o t s i z e and escalating land prices e f f e c t i v e l y limited migration to the wealthiest once again. He explores the i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s of land prices, s o c i a l structure and land use to document the emergence of exurban development and then suggests the impacts t h i s development has on land holding patterns and the r u r a l landscape. Does the B.C. pattern of r u r a l 14 development mirror that of Ontario or do l o c a l circumstances d i f f e r enough to suggest di f f e r e n t consequences? Is the trend to increased hobby farming i n the Lower Fraser Valley, for example, a natural consequence of the A g r i c u l t u r a l Land Reserve l e g i s l a t i o n and does i t produce a landscape of large acreage country estates s i m i l a r to those r e s u l t i n g from l o t siz e zoning in Ontario? Further inte r e s t i n g questions are raised concerning the motivations of hobby farmers. Why do busy, professional people wish to r i s e at 5 a.m. daily to care for t h e i r l i v e -stock, drive many miles to the c i t y for a day i n the o f f i c e and return in the early evening to more farm chores? Who are the hobby farmers and what s a t i s f a c t i o n s do they seek and f i n d i n a r u r a l l i f e s t y l e ? In The Nature of Demand for Exurbia Living, Carvalho attempts to document the socioeconomic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of 22 exurbanites and t h e i r reasons for moving. The study finds Winnipeg area exurbanites to be predominantly young families with higher than average education l e v e l s , occupational status and incomes. Nearly half work i n downtown Winnipeg where most l i v e d before moving to the countryside. Reasons for moving were non-economic, centering around the physical environment, namely desires for less crowded surroundings, a t t r a c t i v e landscapes, increased areas of land, and v i s u a l privacy. Economic factors such as lower taxes and lower land prices were r e l a t i v e l y unimportant i n the decision to move to exurbia. Hardwick suggests what he terms the "rur-ban invasion of exurbia" in B.C. i s a desire of people to 15 indulge themselves i n the use and enjoyment of private 23 green space while making t h e i r l i v i n g in the c i t y . He pinpoints a concentration of rurbanites with t h i s l i f e s t y l e i n Langley and Surrey, communities within easy commuting range of Vancouver. Hobby farmers have also been i d e n t i f i e d by Layton as predominantly professional and white c o l l a r workers with above average education and income l e v e l s . Can the dominance of the well educated, high income earners within the hobby farm population be explained merely by the a b i l i t y of t h i s group to purchase expensive farmland near c i t i e s , or are there more subtle factors involved? In short, why do hobby farmers want to farm as a hobby? F i n a l l y , there are i n t e r e s t i n g questions regarding the nature of a g r i c u l t u r a l production on hobby farms and the relationship between hobby farming and commercial farming. Troughton and Layton provide some insights into the i n t e r -actions among f u l l - t i m e , part-time and hobby farmers i n the rural-urban fringe of London, Ontario, in order to i d e n t i f y and explain the dynamics of r u r a l transformation in that 24 area. They were able to i d e n t i f y a series of s t a t i s t i -c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t distinguishing c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s that cate-gorized the three.types of farming, including l o c a t i o n a l aspects such as the d i s t r i b u t i o n pattern of the various types of farms, operational features such as t y p i c a l improve-ments to properties and a t t i t u d i n a l aspects such as per-ceived advantages and disadvantages to fringe locales. The scale of production on hobby farms suggests the farming 16 techniques, labour and c a p i t a l requirements and marketing arrangements are l i k e l y to be quite d i f f e r e n t from those of commercial farms. There may be positi v e or negative r e l a -tionships between hobby farmers and commercial farmers who share the a g r i c u l t u r a l land i n a p a r t i c u l a r area. Only when these many aspects of hobby farming are more c l e a r l y i d e n t i f i e d and explored within a p a r t i c u l a r s e t t i n g can any useful judgements be made on the v a l i d i t y and consequences of hobby farming as a land use and a part of the a g r i c u l t u r a l industry. THE STUDY Aims This study w i l l attempt to provide insights into the nature of hobby farming as a land use by considering some of the questions raised in the previous pages, p a r t i c u l a r l y the following: 1. What circumstances within the Lower Fraser Valley have led to the emergence of the hobby farm as a common and d i s t i n c t i v e a g r i c u l t u r a l holding? 2. Who i s the Surrey hobby farmer and what does he seek from his p a r t i c u l a r l i f e s t y l e ? How success-f u l i s he in meeting his aims? 3. What form i s the hobby farm l i k e l y to take as an a g r i c u l t u r a l enterprise i n terms of production, marketing and labour and c a p i t a l inputs? 17 4. Does hobby farming have a legitimate role to play as part of the a g r i c u l t u r a l industry and as a v a l i d use of farmland in the rural-urban fringe of Vancouver? Defi n i t i o n s The S t a t i s t i c s Canada d e f i n i t i o n of hobby farming was adopted i n s l i g h t l y modified form for t h i s study. The hobby farm and the hobby farmer i n t h i s study must meet the following c r i t e r i a which are ascertainable and measurable: 1. The owner must be resident on the property and there-fore i s presumably adopting a p a r t i c u l a r l i f e s t y l e rather than merely owning a farm. 2. There must be farm production and farm sales of at least $1600 annually. It was assumed any owner with farm production would attempt sales at t h i s minimum l e v e l i n order to achieve the considerable savings possible through preferred property tax assessment as a farm unit. 3. The owner works 150 or more days i n off-farm employ-ment or i s r e t i r e d from previous off-farm employ-ment . 4. The income derived from the farm sales i s i n s i g n i f i -cant, contributing less than 25% to the t o t a l family income. 18 The Study Area The D i s t r i c t of Surrey, a rural-urban fringe community approximately t h i r t y kilometres from Vancouver, was chosen as an appropriate study area. This d i s t r i c t , l i k e several others i n the Lower Fraser Valley, i s changing rapidly as increasing population pressures cause changes i n land use from predominantly a g r i c u l t u r a l use to r e s i d e n t i a l , commer-c i a l and i n d u s t r i a l use. There are, however, a substantial number of farms l e f t in the d i s t r i c t , both commercial farms and hobby farms. The s p e c i f i c circumstances within Surrey f a c i l i t a t i n g hobby farming are discussed in Chapter Two. Data Source and Sampling The primary data used in thi s study were co l l e c t e d from 82 personal interviews of farmers in the Surrey area i n the spring of 1982. The interviews were structured around a questionnaire with some open-ended and follow-up questions where they were appropriate to allow more f l e x i b i l i t y and greater depth of information. A v i s u a l check of the sample farm properties was also made at the time of the interview and observations were recorded. The v i s u a l aspects of the farm properties and the landscape of the whole study area of r u r a l Surrey were valuable for gaining insights into hobby farming. The sample was randomly drawn using two sources: the 1981 property tax assessment j r o l l for the Municipality of Surrey and the Fraser Valley Area Directory (1981). The procedure was as follows: 19 1. A l l farm assessed properties were l i s t e d from the Surrey tax assessment r o l l for a l l properties. This provided a l i s t i n g of 1223 properties owned by 836 individuals or corporations. The corporate and absentee owners were eliminated from the l i s t leaving 669 resident owners. Some 138 of these residents owned multiple parcels of land, usually contiguous properties. 2. A random sample was generated using a random numbers table. In t o t a l three draws were made y i e l d i n g a t o t a l l i s t of 256 resident owners of farm proper-t i e s . 3. The Fraser Valley Area Directory was then used to eliminate from the sample those owners who l i s t e d t h e i r occupation as "farmer" on the assumption these would be commercial farmers rather than hobby farmers. As a result of t h i s procedure 81 farm owners were eliminated from the sample. 4. The remaining 139 owners were contacted by l e t t e r and a follow-up telephone c a l l to arrange an i n t e r -26 view time. Eighty-two interviews were completed. There was no way of distinguishing between part-time farmers and hobby farmers before the interviewing took place. Fourteen of those interviewed did not f a l l within the study d e f i n i t i o n of "hobby farmer" in that the farm sales were s i g n i f i c a n t to the family income and the farm employment 20 was more important than off-farm employment. The data col l e c t e d from these fourteen interviews were therefore not used in the subsequent c o l l a t i o n and analysis although the information gathered from t h i s group was useful compara-t i v e l y and i s noted in the study in appropriate places. (See Appendix I for more detailed sampling procedure.) Interviewing and Analysis The questionnaire (see Appendix II) covered a wide variety of topics r e l a t i n g to tenure; land si z e , quality and features; farm production and sales; labour sources; property'improvements; problems and s a t i s f a c t i o n s with farming and location; attitudes, socioeconomic character-i s t i c s and background of owners; and future plans. The interview was structured around the questionnaire but many responses were followed up with more probing questions to gain insight into p a r t i c u l a r aspects of hobby farming. Responses were recorded verbatim when possible. Most i n t e r -views lasted 40 to 60 minutes. Five owners who agreed to be interviewed were not in at the appointed time and could not be reached l a t e r , but mailed back completed interviews. Their properties were checked v i s u a l l y and they were ques-tioned b r i e f l y by telephone. The information from these f i v e questionnaires was included i n the primary data. The questionnaires were then c o l l a t e d and analyzed. 21 NOTES 1. Manning, Edward, A g r i c u l t u r a l Land and Urban Centres. Lands Directorate, Environment Canada, 1977, p. 4. 2. Land can be put to a number of uses which can be ranked on the basis of the economic rent each can generate in a given time period. The use y i e l d i n g the greatest economic rent i s the highest and best use in terms of maximizing income. See: Found, W.C., A Theoretical Approach to Rural Land-Use Patterns, Arrowsmith Ltd., Bristol., 1971, p. 20. See also: Barlowe, R. , Land Resource Economics, Prentice H a l l , 1958. 3. Warren, C.L. and Rump, P.C., The Urbanization of Rural Land i n Canada 1966-71, 1971-76. Land Use in Canada Series, Number 20, Lands Directorate, Environment Canada, Ottawa, 1981, p. 22. 4. Ibid., p. i v . 5. Pearson, Normal, "Fraser Valley—Rape It or Preserve I t , " Paper given at Land Use i n the Fraser V a l l e y — Whose Concern? Conference, Centre for Continuing Education, 1972, p. 4. 6. Bryant, C.R., Farm Generated Determinants of Land Use Changes i n the Rural-Urban Fringe in Canada, 1961-75, Lands Directorate, Department of Environment, November, 1976. McRae, James, The Influence of Exurbanite Settlement of Rural Areas: A Review of the Canadian Literature, Working Paper Number 3, Lands Directorate, Environment Canada, 1980. Russwurm, Lome, The Surroundings of Our C i t i e s , Com-munity Planning Press, Ottawa, 1977. Troughton, M.J., Land Holding in the Rural-Urban Fringe Environment: The Case of London, Ontario, Lands Direc-torate, Environment Canada, Ottawa, 1976, Occasional Paper Number 11. 7. Mumford, Lewis, City i n History, Chapter 16: "Sub-urbia and Beyond," Harcourt-Brace, New York, 1961, pp. 484-87. 8 Ibid. 22 9. Punter, John, The Impact of Exurban Development on Land and Landscape in the Toronto Centred Region: 1954- 1971, Central Mortgage and Housing, Ottawa, 1974, p. 5 10. Rohrer, Wayne and Douglas, Louis, The Agrarian Transi- tion i n America: Dualism and Change, Bobbs-Merrill, New York, 1969, p. 9. 11. Punter, op. c i t . , p. 12. 12. Rural resettlement i n Canada i s discussed by the follow-ing: Beaubien and Tabachnik, Carvalho, Gibson; Gierman, Layton, Manning, Martin, McRae, Punter, Rodd, Troughton, Warren and Rump. (See Bibliography for complete r e f e r -ences . ) 13. McRae, op. c i t . , p. 7. 14. Michie, George and Found, W.C., "Rural Estates i n the Toronto Region," Ontario Geography, 10, 1976, p. 16. 15. As defined in Merriam-Webster's New Collegiate Dic-tionary . 16. See p a r t i c u l a r l y : Found and Michie, Carvalho, Layton, Punter, Troughton. (See Bibliography for complete references.) 17. Found (1971), op. c i t . 18. Troughton, op. c i t . , p. 46. 19. Found and Michie, op. c i t . 20. The term " r u r a l estate" i s one of eight land use cate-gories established by Michie for the mapping project. The author suggests the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of r u r a l estates presents serious problems including the d i f f i c u l t y i n designating marginal properties as r e a l farms, r u r a l estates or i d l e land. 21. Punter, op. c i t . 22. Carvalho, Mario E., The Nature of Demand for Exurbia Living, Winnipeg Region Study, University of Manitoba, 1974. 23. Hardwick, Walter, Vancouver, Collier-MacMillan, Canada, 1974, pp. 143-44. 24. Troughton, op. c i t . , and Layton, op. c i t . 23 25. S t a t i s t i c s Canada defines hobby farmers as those farmers with 150 or more days of off-farm employment annually and less than $5000 of annual farm sales. 26. The remaining 36 owners of the o r i g i n a l 256 were not contacted because they owned small acreages without buildings and were therefore non-residents or could not be traced because they had moved in the previous few months. 24 CHAPTER TWO CIRCUMSTANCES FACILITATING HOBBY FARMING Hundreds of hobby farms dot the r u r a l landscape of the Lower Fraser Valley, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the d i s t r i c t s closest to Vancouver: Richmond, Delta, Surrey and Langley. Over half of a l l Valley farms have annual sales of less than $2500 and the number of successful commercial farms i s ste a d i l y declining. On the other hand, the number of hobby farms has risen dramatically in the l a s t few years as fami-l i e s move to the countryside to buy a few acres of farmland to raise t h e i r livestock and grow t h e i r crops. A variety of factors has led to an increasing interest i n the r u r a l l i f e s t y l e and a p a r t i c u l a r set of circumstances has made owning a hobby farm possible. These circumstances include a number of h i s t o r i c a l , environmental, economic and i n s t i -t u t i o n a l factors. Antecedents The a g r i c u l t u r a l history of the Fraser Valley i s short in comparison to most areas of Canada. B.C. was the western f r o n t i e r and settlement came late . The e a r l i e s t a g r i c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t y i n the Fraser Valley occurred in 1828 on the Hudson's Bay Company farm at Fort Langley where employees produced a variety of meat, vegetables, grain and dairy products for the Fort traders and the fur brigade. The gold rush of 1858 25 brought a flood of miners through the Valley to the gold f i e l d s of the upper Fraser and i n t e r i o r points. Many recog-nized the promising farming p o s s i b i l i t i e s in the Valley and stayed on or returned l a t e r to become the f i r s t farm s e t t l e r s . At f i r s t they took up preemptions of land along the banks of the Fraser River for easy access to steamboat transport and then as the r i c h a g r i c u l t u r a l lowlands f i l l e d , s e t t l e r s moved to the heavily wooded uplands of less f e r t i l e s o i l s . Farms were gradually improved and expanded despite problems of lowland flooding, upland clearing, poor markets and very rudimentary transportation l i n e s . By 1881 there was a farm population of only 1500 through the whole V a l l e y . 1 Over the next few decades the Valley population grew steadily and soon a wide variety of ethnic groups, French, Chinese, Japanese, German and Dutch joined the predominantly B r i t i s h population in the evolving communities of the Valley: Chilliwack, Mission, Langley, Ladner, Surrey, Delta and Richmond. Improvement in transport l i n k s to New Westminster and Vancouver, p a r t i c u l a r l y the building of the B.C. E l e c t r i c Railway to Chilliwack i n 1910, gave farmers better access to market allowing for delivery of milk and fresh produce. These early pioneer farms, l i k e t h e i r modern counter-parts, the hobby farms, were small in s i z e and mixed i n production. Clearing the forest was slow, d i f f i c u l t work and i t often took families two or three generations of owner-ship before a l l the trees were cut and burned and the stumps removed. Farms grew slowly, acre by acre, and seldom exceed-ed 80 to 100 acres. The early farms were mixed enterprises 26 providing subsistence to the farm family and surpluses such as eggs, milk and vegetables to market. Although the diver-s i t y of farm production a hundred years ago r e f l e c t e d the optimism and inexperience of the f i r s t s e t t l e r s , the small, mixed farms of the Valley survived even as a more sp e c i a l i z e d a g r i c u l t u r a l industry evolved and dominated the market. The early land holding pattern of many small sized farms has survived a hundred years of development and now provides a large supply of desirable small acreage properties suitable for the hobby farm market. And the hobby farms occupying those o r i g i n a l farm s i t e s are i n many ways analogous to the mixed enterprise subsistence farms of e a r l i e r times. Environmental Aspects Physical factors have both f a c i l i t a t e d and limited the development of agriculture i n the Fraser Valley. The Valley, with i t s one m i l l i o n acres of land on i t s broad flood-plain and well-developed delta, i s obviously an important a g r i c u l -t u r a l area i n a province where 90% of the land i s mountain-ous and non-arable. In fact, the Valley farms play a key role in the p r o v i n c i a l a g r i c u l t u r a l industry and in 1979 contributed $300 m i l l i o n or 55% of B.C.'s t o t a l farm receipts. A variety of Valley s o i l types allows for considerable variety in products. Each type of s o i l has unique properties and p o t e n t i a l i t i e s and requires special management. The Valley s o i l s can be generally d i f f e r e n t i a t e d into three 27 groups: upland s o i l s , lowland s o i l s and organic s o i l s . ^ The lowland s o i l s are located between sea l e v e l and seventy feet in elevation and are a l l u v i a l i n o r i g i n . Clay and s i l t deposits occur on the Fraser delta and in smaller pockets along the Fraser, P i t t , Nicomekl, Serpentine and Chilliwack Rivers... These s o i l s are generally f e r t i l e and well-suited to f i e l d crops and pasture but they are very susceptible to winter flooding. Organic s o i l s , both deep peat and muck s o i l s , are also found in the lowland regions. The 25,000 acres of muck s o i l s are generally f e r t i l e and are suitable for intensive truck farming. Deep peat can be useful s o i l for berry and vegetable production but requires very special management. It must be c a r e f u l l y drained so i t does not dry out during summer drought periods, i t requires consider-able f e r t i l i z a t i o n and often liming to offset a c i d i t y , and i t needs deep c u l t i v a t i o n . Upland s o i l s , found on the low h i l l s and ridges of the Valley ranging from 70 to 400 feet in elevation, are composed of glaciomarine materials as well as g l a c i a l t i l l and outwash. Many of these s o i l types are medium textured sand and clay loams that are generally well drained although poorly drained pockets do occur. Some of the upland s o i l s such as the extensive area of gravelly loam uplands around Mud Bay are coarsely textured, heavily leached and excessively drained. These s o i l s do not retain t h e i r moisture and require i r r i g a t i o n during summer months. Upland s o i l s tend to be thin, sometimes less than 20 inches, are frequently underlain with rock and are generally less 28 f e r t i l e than the lowland a l l u v i a . Although there i s less than 1% of Class One s o i l in the Valley and only small amounts of Class Two s o i l s , the s o i l l i m i t a t i o n s are somewhat offset by the moderate climate which i s a d e f i n i t e asset to agriculture. The mild winters and warm summers assure a long growing season of 180 to 200 f r o s t - f r e e days. There i s generally adequate annual p r e c i p i t a t i o n although there are variations within the Valley from the d r i e r west end to the wetter east end and with elevation. The seasonal d i s t r i b u t i o n i s f a i r l y even with most rain f a l l i n g in December and January and occasional summer droughts i n July and August. Most crops do well in the Valley although the p o s s i b i l i t y of f r o s t and the low summer temperatures l i m i t the production of tomatoes, melons and some tree f r u i t s . The mild climate, reasonably f e r t i l e s o i l s and gentle t e r r a i n f a c i l i t a t e a g r i c u l t u r a l production but the Valley i s a series of micro-environments with variations that require sensitive handling and often, considerable c a p i t a l expenditures for improvements. Heavy winter r a i n f a l l , high water tables and poorly drained s o i l s cause serious problems for lowland farmers for several months of the year. Their land must be dyked and underdrained, c a r e f u l l y f e r t i l i z e d and appropriately cropped to produce well. Upland areas need i r r i g a t i o n and constant f e r t i l i z a t i o n while peat s o i l s require very special management. Every area i s suitable for some type of production but requires intensive management 29 by highly s k i l l e d farmers. Farms that are marginal i n land quality, poorly managed or undercapitalized can no longer be commercially viable. P r o f i t a b l e commercial farming requires much more than good intentions. Many marginal, part-time farms have i n recent years been sold to developers or hobby farmers as older farmers r e t i r e or give up farming. Economic Factors In recent years most Canadian farmers have experienced economic d i f f i c u l t i e s with soaring costs of inputs that have not been matched by increased product prices. Valley farmers face the same r i s i n g costs for machinery, f u e l , feed, seed and f e r t i l i z e r as a l l Canadian farmers, but i t i s l i k e l y r apidly increasing land costs have been the key factor in accounting for the declining number of successful commer-c i a l farms in the Fraser Valley. The Lower Fraser Valley farmland has been subjected to very serious pressures for conversion to other uses i n the l a s t few years and a g r i c u l -t u r a l land losses have been high, averaging 1250 hectares annually between 1961 and 1971 and about 700 hectares a year since. These " l o s t " hectares are usually converted to urban uses, p a r t i c u l a r l y for housing i n an area very short of urban expansion land. The c i t y of Vancouver i s a large and rapidly growing c i t y whose expansion i s seriously constrained by i t s physi-c a l s etting. The Greater Vancouver Regional D i s t r i c t i d e n t i -f i e s the problem: 30 Room to grow in t h i s Region i s severely limited. The whole Lower Fraser Valley, a narrow corridor bounded by mountain slopes, the U.S. border and the sea, contains roughly 900 square miles of which 640 are within 35 miles of the central business d i s t r i c t (of Vancouver) . . . the physical l i m i t s to growth r e s t r i c t the area in which the land market can operate and results in high speculative land prices throughout the Fraser Valley.3 The Ministry of Agriculture in B.C. i d e n t i f i e s the high cost of farmland i n the Valley as the major problem for growth in the industry. Farmland close to Vancouver aver-aged $12,415 per hectare in 1976, second only to land i n the metropolitan area of Toronto as the highest farmland price in Canada. Both improved land and Class I and II land were worth even more. These costs suggest intensive land use i s es s e n t i a l for commercial farming i n the Valley. Changes i n production i n the Valley between 1971 and 1976 r e f l e c t some adjustments being made to o f f s e t high land costs. The dairy industry i s r e l y i n g more heavily on feeding rather than grazing to save the cost of providing pasture. Silage corn production has increased 166% i n the l a s t few years and higher imports of hay are reported. Feed l o t s for c a t t l e f i n i s h i n g are more common. B r o i l e r production, another intensive enterprise, has increased 20% a year. Other types of intensive farming with s i g n i f i -cant increases include greenhouse production (+254%), mushroom farming, and nursery production (+436%). Each of these intensive enterprises requires considerable s p e c i a l i z e d s k i l l s of f u l l - t i m e operators. 31 Other economic problems faced by Valley farmers include high labour costs which affect the berry and vegetable industries, and competition from American vegetable imports. Vegetable producers must ensure constant lev e l s of produc-tion at reasonable prices achievable only with the use of greenhouses which are costly energy users. Expensive diking and underdraining i s necessary in many areas as well as i r r i g a t i o n systems. As a result of these costs, c a p i t a l investment lev e l s are high on Valley farms, averaging $16,842 per improved hectare or $189,000 per farm, of which 88% i s absorbed by land and building costs and property improvements. One of the consequences of these r i s i n g costs has been a s i g n i f i c a n t decline i n the number of farms whose annual sales are between $5000 and $25,000 (See Table I ) . 5 Farms have tended to polarize toward either the high sales of the successful commercial farms with f u l l - t i m e operators or the low sales of $1200 to $5000 of the hobby farms whose owners generate the family income elsewhere. Increasing s p e c i a l i z a -tion and sales through marketing boards requiring a certain scale of production have meant the marginal, part-time farm of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s can no longer generate reason-able p r o f i t s f o r the owners and increasingly these farms become the hobby farms of the 1970s and 1980s. 32 TABLE I PERCENTAGE OF CENSUS FARMS BY ECONOMIC CLASS ANNUAL SALES 1961 1966 1971 1976 $1200-5000 37 27 33 35 $5000-10,000 $10,000-25,000 26. .53 27 16\ 39 H \ 22^ >3 22 1 2 ^ Over $25,000 10 17 34 43 Note: Census Farm: $1200 + sales I n s t i t u t i o n a l Factors Probably the most s i g n i f i c a n t factor a f f e c t i n g the supply of hobby farm land in the la s t ten years has been the establishment of the a g r i c u l t u r a l land reserves i n 1973. The circumstances leading to thi s p r o v i n c i a l zoning l e g i s -l a t i o n i s discussed in d e t a i l elsewhere, but b a s i c a l l y the l e g i s l a t i o n grew from an awareness of the serious and increas-ing rates of farmland conversion i n a province with a very lim i t e d supply of a g r i c u l t u r a l land. As more and more farm-land was " l o s t " , p a r t i c u l a r l y in the Lower Fraser Valley which provided most of the vegetable, dairy, egg and specialty production i n the province, the future v i a b i l i t y of the a g r i c u l t u r a l industry was i n question. The province was reluctant to depend on imported food supplies and the industries linked to a g r i c u l t u r a l production such as food processing were endangered. 33 There was evidence that encroaching urban uses had a very negative effect on the farm industry in the r u r a l -urban fringe. A Greater Vancouver Regional D i s t r i c t report on the. farm s i t u a t i o n in Delta in 1972 states the many prob-lems associated with changes in the a g r i c u l t u r a l environ-ment "taken c o l l e c t i v e l y , extended over a lengthy period and coupled with the impact of massive land assemblies i n the area . . . have had unusually damaging effects upon the 7 Delta farmers' outlook." The problems i d e n t i f i e d included d i f f i c u l t i e s and delays in getting produce to market because of t r a f f i c levels; the banning of farm vehicles from high-ways crossing the area, making equipment moves between f i e l d s impossible; the i s o l a t i o n of some farm units i n areas pre-dominantly i n d u s t r i a l and r e s i d e n t i a l ; the migration of feed, f e r t i l i z e r and equipment d i s t r i b u t o r s further up the Valley; and the uncertainty of land.leases. By 1973 only 47% of the farmland i n the area was s t i l l owned by the opera-tors with the rest registered to absentee landlords who were awaiting optimum times to develop the properties. The condi-ti o n of the farmland registered to non-farmers was des-cribed as "deplorable" by the report, as the owners had no interest i n improving the land resource and those leasing i t could not j u s t i f y any. expenditures for f e r t i l i z e r s i n view of the short term nature of the leases and the uncer-tainty of renewal. The v i a b i l i t y of farming i n Delta, as well as i n other parts of the Valley, was in serious doubt by 1973. 34 It was evidence of farmers' defeatism i n the face of uncertainty as the Delta farm study i l l u s t r a t e d , that stimu-lated the p r o v i n c i a l government to implement a freeze on farmland rezoning or development i n December 1972. The Land Commission Act which followed i n A p r i l , 1973, provided for the preservation of a g r i c u l t u r a l land in each of the pro-vince's twenty-eight regional d i s t r i c t s through p r o v i n c i a l g zoning authority. The land within the reserves, designated Class I to IV by the Canada Land Inventory as land capable of a g r i c u l t u r a l production, was included regardless of i t s present use or tenure unless i t was i r r e v e r s i b l y developed. The years since the Act passed have been f i l l e d with problems for the Land Commissioners, beginning i n the early years with the task of adjusting the boundaries of the reserves to exclude marginal farmland o r i g i n a l l y included. They also had to deal with disgruntled owners of farmland, both farmers and non-farmers who demanded compensation for anticipated reductions i n the value of t h e i r land. A change of government apparently weakened the commitment to pre-serving a g r i c u l t u r a l land, p a r t i c u l a r l y since 1977 when the decision making powers of the Land Commission were seriously eroded by allowing appeals for exclusion of land from the reserves to be made d i r e c t l y to the Cabinet. This has led to increased p o l i t i c a l pressures and the subsequent removal of land under controversial circumstances. However, the current Chairman of the Land Commission, Dr. M i l l s Clarke, 35 suggests, "In spite of the controversies that have swirled around the a g r i c u l t u r a l land reserves, c r i t i c s and commis-sioners agreed i t has succeeded in saving a great deal of a g r i -c u l t u r a l land that would otherwise now be subdivision." The most important consequence of t h i s l e g i s l a t i o n for hobby farming has been the development r e s t r i c t i o n s placed on farmland within the reserve. Farmers reaching retirement age or deciding to s e l l marginal properties no longer have the option of s e l l i n g to speculators or buyers for residen-t i a l , commercial or i n d u s t r i a l development. The number of possible buyers has been considerably l i m i t e d to those who wish to use farmland to farm. Some property i s sold to neighbouring commercial farmers who wish to expand t h e i r operations, but the farm unit i s not subdividable so prop-e r t i e s with houses and farm buildings are too expensive for those farmers seeking a few additional acres of pasture or cropland. Because of high startup costs and the economic problems of the farm industry there are very few new farmers entering, the industry and seeking out property, p a r t i c u l a r l y properties small in s i z e or marginal in quality. The obvious buyers then become the hobby farmers who are happy to buy a small sized property with a house, barn, outbuildings, pasture and cropland. The hobby farm buyer plays an essential role in keeping the land market of the Valley healthy, for who else i s the r e t i r i n g farmer l i k e l y to s e l l to? Those wishing to hobby farm are ensured of a steady supply of farm proper-t i e s as the number of commercial farms i n the Valley s t e a d i l y 36 declines and marginal farms become less and less p r o f i t a b l e . Hobby farming i s a very natural consequence of the fac-tors outlined above. The h i s t o r i c land holding pattern of many small sized farms has persisted through the hundred years of a g r i c u l t u r a l development in the Valley. The envir-onmental circumstances allow for comparative ease of produc-tion and make possible a variety of enterprises, yet requires sensitive management s k i l l s to cope with the complexities of a p a r t i c u l a r s i t e . There i s a trend to i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n i n Valley agriculture. Economic circumstances, p a r t i c u l a r l y high land costs, have necessitated inputs and techniques that w i l l ensure higher y i e l d s from every unit of land and have forced out the small, marginal commercial farms of e a r l i e r times that can no longer compete successfully in today's highly technical, r a t i o n a l i z e d agriculture. The a g r i c u l t u r a l land reserve system has limited the marketing p o s s i b i l i t i e s of farmlands to purchasers w i l l i n g to farm, of whom the hobby farmer i s the most l i k e l y buyer. The h i s t o r i c a l , environmental, economic and i n s t i t u t i o n a l factors described above can be traced i n the development of hobby farming i n the entire Lower Fraser Valley and are c l e a r l y i d e n t i f i a b l e i n the d i s t r i c t of Surrey, the study area of this paper. Circumstances Within the Study Area of Surrey The d i s t r i c t of Surrey, a region of 343 square k i l o -meters, stretches from the American border i n the south to 37 the Fraser River i n the north and i s flanked by Delta on the west and Langley on the east (see Map 1). It i s situated about 25 to 30 kilometers from the Vancouver core, well within the forty to six t y minute commuting time zone f r e -quently used to define the urban fringe of major c i t i e s . Like many urban-rural fringe communities, Surrey i s under-going rapid population growth and i s experiencing serious land use c o n f l i c t s . It has been described as an area exhib-i t i n g urban sprawl with a l l the negative connotations asso-ciated with that term: a haphazard mixture of juxtaposed, c o n f l i c t i n g land uses such as t r a i l e r parks and dairy farms, shopping centres and blueberry f i e l d s , housing developments and b r o i l e r operations, drive-in theatres and beef feed l o t s . The 1982 population of 160,887 i s a dramatic increase from the population of 1940, approximately 15,000 most of whom l i v e d on farms. Today only 5500 people, 3% of the population, l i v e on a g r i c u l t u r a l l y zoned land. The physical landscape of Surrey i s comprised of the floodplains of the Serpentine and Nicomekl Rivers, the Campbell River valley i n the south and an extensive upland area in the form of a series of low h i l l s with elevations less than 120 meters (see Map 2). The best farm land i s located on 4000 hectares of lowland between the Serpentine and Nicomekl Rivers although t h i s area i s susceptible to winter flooding, p a r t i c u l a r l y during high tides i n Boundary Bay. F a i r l y good s o i l s of gravelly and sandy loam are found LOWER FRASER VALLEY o f * ' * i i 1 ' Scale i n Kilometres 39 U. S. A. 40 on 6400 hectares of the Hazelmere Valley, drained by the Campbell River, and the Mud Bay uplands north of the Ser-pentine although these s o i l s are subject to excessive leaching and drainage. At present, approximately 9300 hectares, 31% of Surrey's area, are held i n farmland, somewhat less than the 11,000 hectares of 1961. Most of the farms are located i n the easterly portion of Surrey and more s p e c i f i c a l l y i n the southeast around the town of Cloverdale. The Municipality of Surrey uses the a g r i c u l t u r a l land reserve boundaries to define land zoned a g r i c u l t u r a l . Not a l l land within the boundaries i s currently being farmed and many farms are located on land outside the a g r i c u l t u r a l zoning. Hobby farms p a r t i c u l a r l y are l i k e l y to be on the more marginal land outside the boundaries. Only 47% of the hobby farms in the sample drawn for t h i s study are located inside the A.L.R. boundaries and even fewer, 27%, are located on the Serpentine-Nicomekl lowlands or i n the Hazelmere Valley. Farming i s a t r a d i t i o n a l land use in Surrey that began the day in 1860 when James Kennedy rowed across the Fraser River from New Westminster, cleared a t r a i l south a mile from the r i v e r bank and began clearing bush for his farm.1*"* Although other s e t t l e r s soon joined him, t h i r t y years l a t e r there were s t i l l only a few tiny communities scattered over the d i s t r i c t , including two s t i l l a g r i c u l t u r a l today— Hall's P r a i r i e and Clover Valley. The opening of a farmers' market i n New Westminster, the building of a bridge across 41 the Fraser, the constructure of the B.C. E l e c t r i c Railway and f i n a l l y the formation of the Surrey Farmers' Co-opera-t i v e Association i n 1921 gradually developed the a g r i c u l t u r a l p o t e n t i a l of the area. Like much of the rest of the Valley, the early mixed farms eventually gave way to the sp e c i a l i z e d commercial farms of today. There are r e l a t i v e l y few commercial farms i n Surrey in comparison to other areas of the Valley such as Matsqui and Chilliwack. The 1981 property tax assessment r o l l s l i s t 836 owners of farm assessed property, that i s , land produc-ing at least $1600 of farm sales annually. Of these owners, 670 are resident family owners but, based on the sample drawn for interviewing in t h i s study, only about one-third of these are f u l l - t i m e commercial farmers. The commercial farms include about forty dairy farms each milking between 100 and 200 cows, four or f i v e beef feed l o t s , a number of b r o i l e r and egg enterprises, about twenty nurseries, a large number of greenhouses and mushroom farms and about 1200 hectares of vegetable farms. Other products including berries, f r u i t , honey, and livestock such as sheep, pigs and goats, are common hobby farms. The farm area centres on Cloverdale which provides a number of farm related services including feed stores, tack shops, veterinary services and, u n t i l very recently, the Surrey farmers' co-op. The Surrey farmers face a l l the fr u s t r a t i o n s of r u r a l -urban fringe farming discussed previously. Probably the 42 most serious farm problem i n the d i s t r i c t i s the periodic flooding of the best farm land, the floodplains of the Serpentine and Nicomekl Rivers. Although most of t h i s area has been dyked, the drainage ditches and dykes are in very deteriorated condition and constant clearing for r e s i d e n t i a l development on the uplands has worsened the run-off problem. The solutions to water problems involve four levels of govern-ment, federal, p r o v i n c i a l , regional and municipal, and the cost sharing p o s s i b i l i t i e s have long been under study and debated e n d l e s s l y . 1 1 The municipality of Surrey i s rel u c -tant to invest i n drainage improvements for areas of the d i s t r i c t where tax c o l l e c t i o n i s very low because of prefer-e n t i a l farm taxation. Farmers interviewed in t h i s study complained of the very low l e v e l of services they received from the municipality. There i s l i t t l e doubt that the administration of Surrey i s growth and development oriented and sees a g r i c u l t u r a l v i a b i l i t y as a low planning p r i o r i t y . Bryant, in his analysis of the e f f e c t s of urbanization on farming v i a b i l i t y , i d e n t i f i e s Surrey as a t r a n s i t i o n zone between what he describes as the "healthy" farm zone in the eastern end of the Valley and the deteriorated zone 12 in the western end close to Vancouver. There i s s t i l l a reasonably strong farm base.in Surrey but i t i s d e f i n i t e l y a farm area threatened by the continuing expansion of Greater Vancouver. There i s some question as to whether Surrey farmland can survive the combination of p o l i t i c a l and develop-ment industry pressures for conversion to other uses as the 43 rezoning of farmland i s constantly occurring in areas out-side the a g r i c u l t u r a l land reserves. Surrey's hobby farms have an important role to play i n preserving the farmland resource and the a g r i c u l t u r a l industry i n t h i s area a role which w i l l become i d e n t i f i a b l e after the nature of hobby farm land use and the intentions and attitudes of hobby farm owners are discussed more f u l l y i n the chapters ahead. 44 NOTES 1. Compiled from 1881 Census, Occupational l i s t i n g s . 2. Gibbard.(Early History of the Fraser Valley 1808- 1885) notes th i s d i s t i n c t i o n was made as early as 1825 by James MacMillan of the Hudson's Bay Company. It i s a useful d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n that has since been used by others including the Regional Farmland Study^(Central Fraser Valley Regional D i s t r i c t , 1972) from which the following material was drawn. 3. Greater Vancouver Regional D i s t r i c t , The Livable Region, 1975, p. 6. 4. B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Food, South Coastal Agriculture Region Report, December 1980, pp. 20-21. 5. Drawn from the Census of Agriculture: 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976. 6. See: Baxter, David, The B r i t i s h Columbia.Land Commis- sion A c t — A Review, Urban Land Economics Report Number 8, University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1974. Manning and Eddy, The A g r i c u l t u r a l Land Reserves of British.Columbia: An Impact Analysis, Lands Directorate, Environment Canada, 1978. Smith, Barry, The B.C. Land Commission Act 1973, M.A. Thesis, University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1975. 7. Paton, Smith and Gram Ltd., V i a b i l i t y of Farming Study, Report to the Greater Vancouver Regional D i s t r i c t , 1973, p. 2. 8. The Land Commission Act of 1973 had other objectives and powers including the preservation of green belt land around urban areas and the preservation of park-land for recreation. The Act was amended in 1977 to delete the l a t t e r provisions and become so l e l y involved with the preservation of a g r i c u l t u r a l land. 9. Quoted i n the Vancouver Sun, June 12, 1982, p. A10. 10. This and the following h i s t o r i c a l material i s drawn from Treleaven, Fern, The Surrey Story, Surrey Museum and H i s t o r i c a l Society, Cloverdale, 1978. 45 11. Gibson, Edward, Urbanization of the Georgia S t r a i t Region, Geographical Paper No. 57, 1976, p. 41 12. Bryant, C.R. Farm Generated Determinants of Land Use Changes in the Rural-Urban Fringe in Canada, 1961-75, Lands Directorate, Department of Environment, November 1976. 46 CHAPTER THREE THE HOBBY FARMERS Who are the hobby farmers and why do they choose to farm as a hobby? Are hobby farmers a d i s t i n c t i v e and homogeneous group with s i m i l a r attitudes.and motivations for pr a c t i s i n g a r u r a l l i f e s t y l e ? Or are they simply a diverse and heterogeneous group of individuals who happen through various circumstances to be s i m i l a r l y engaged i n farming? This chapter explores the s o c i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and attitudes of the sample group of Surrey hobby farmers. An attempt i s made to establish the degree of homogeneity within the group in terms of socioeconomic factors, back-ground and origins and p o l i t i c a l orientations. The q u a l i -t i e s of r u r a l l i f e that attract hobby farmers are i d e n t i f i e d as well as the goals they perceive as achievable through hobby farming. The se t t i n g that hobby farmers choose i n which to carry out t h e i r l i f e s t y l e i s discussed in terms of general loca-t i o n in the rural-urban fringe, the proximity to Vancouver and in the immediate environment of th e i r own property. By id e n t i f y i n g the features that were important to hobby farmers in choosing a p a r t i c u l a r property, and the improvements they subsequently made to that property, insight i s gained into the attitudes of hobby farmers toward agriculture and r u r a l 47 l i v i n g . It also provides evidence of the l e v e l of commit-ment hobby farmers are l i k e l y to make toward preserving farmland, the a g r i c u l t u r a l industry and the r u r a l way of l i f e . The preservation of farmland and the maintenance of family farms were central objectives of the a g r i c u l t u r a l land reserve l e g i s l a t i o n . Perhaps the hobby farmer has a special role to play in f u l f i l l i n g those objectives. WHO IS THE SURREY HOBBY FARMER? Age and Marital Status The hobby farm group included both single people and families and represented a l l age groups. Eight farms were owned by single people, two by single men in th e i r twenties and six by elde r l y widows and widowers. Four elderly couples owned farms and thirty-three farms were owned by middle-aged people, many with teen-aged children l i v i n g at home. The remaining twenty-three farm families consisted of younger couples with school-aged children, toddlers and babies. Every age group was represented and no age group predominated. Occupational Status A wide range of employment classes are represented in the occupations of Surrey hobby farmers, from u n s k i l l e d labouring jobs to professional and administrative positions. However, the Surrey hobby farmers, l i k e hobby farm groups in other studies, have a disproportionate number of t h e i r 48 group in managerial and professional employment. The occu-pations' of the p r i n c i p a l wage earner of the fifty-two Surrey farm families currently employed i s shown i n Table II. TABLE II OCCUPATION OF PRINCIPAL WAGE EARNERS OF SAMPLE HOBBY FARM GROUP Class of Employment Number Managerial, Administrative (including company owners) 13 Professional 5 Technical 3 Sales, C l e r i c a l 3 Service 4 Transport 8 Machine operators 5 Construction Unspecified (blue c o l l a r ) 2 Thirty-seven percent of the sample hobby farm operators were in administrative positions, were self-employed professionals or owned a company employing several workers. Seventeen spouses were also employed in teaching, nursing and a variety of managerial, c l e r i c a l , sales and service occupations. 49 Hobby farm groups in Canada and the United States have consistently large proportions of managerial and profes-sional employment. An American study surveyed 277 families who had recently moved back to the land across the United States. 1 The group had much higher than average educational status with over 75% having at least one year of university education and those with professional or managerial occupa-tions comprised 30.7% of the group. Troughton reported 43% of the London area hobby farm operators and 20% of t h e i r spouses had managerial-administrative or professional 2 employment. Carvalho found the Winnipeg exurbanites were over-represented i n the managerial-professional-technical group and noted the dramatic increase i n the proportion of those with managerial and administrative positions i n the sample from 16% of the t o t a l between 1956 and 1961 to 35% after 1971. 3 The Surrey sample group also shows a s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t increase i n the managerial-administrative-professional group in the l a s t decade. Only 18% of those who began hobby farming before 1973 were i n t h i s class but 45% of the post-1973 group were included i n i t (see Table III, page 50). Hobby farming has a wide appeal and:.is increasingly a t t r a c t i n g better educated, higher income earners who can be somewhat f l e x i b l e i n t h e i r time and can afford both the i n i t i a l high land cost and the subsequent costs of improvements, maintenance and farm operation. 50 TABLE III PROPORTION OF HOBBY FARMERS IN MANAGERIAL-PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYMENT CLASS Managerial-Professional Other Total Before 1973 7 (18%) 32 39 1973 and after 13 (45%) 16 29 Chi square = 5 .83 with 1 degree of freedom S i g n i f i c a n t at .02 l e v e l N.B. 1973 was the year the A g r i c u l t u r a l Land Reserves were established. This growing appeal of r u r a l l i v i n g to a wider group of people i s also documented in l i t e r a t u r e assessing the broader urban to r u r a l movements now underway. De Jong and Humphrey found metropolitan to non - metropolitan migrants were younger and of higher socioeconomic status than the t o t a l population, and noted that these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s became increasingly 4 evident during the decade of the study. While Surrey hobby farmers cannot be t y p i f i e d as young, they c e r t a i n l y exemplify an increasingly high l e v e l of socioeconomic status. Urban Background of Hobby Farmers Most of the hobby farm group moved from non-farm r e s i -dences to t h e i r present farm properties. Forty-eight 51 families, 70% of the sample group, moved from homes i n Vancouver or i t s suburbs, Burnaby, Richmond, Delta, Langley, the North Shore, or other parts of Surrey. Fourteen of the remaining twenty owners had immediate past farm addresses in the Lower Fraser Valley while six were from the P r a i r i e provinces and European countries. Fifteen families in t h i s farm group had l i v e d on hobby farms previously while f i v e had lived.on commercial farms. However, urban o r i g i n i n terms of past addresses alone i s somewhat misleading because only eighteen families were f u l l y urban i n that no family member had ever l i v e d on a farm. The remainder had at least one family member, and in many cases both husband and wife, who had l i v e d on a farm in the past, usually i n childhood. For many owning a hobby farm was a return to r u r a l l i f e after a period of c i t y l i v i n g , sometimes an extended period of twenty or t h i r t y years. A few of these people expressed th e i r desire to have a farm l i k e the one they had grown up on i n Richmond, or Saskatchewan, or Italy. One French-Canadian hobby farmer who made syrup from the maple trees on his property admitted, "I'm r e l i v i n g my childhood in Quebec." This often nostalgic return to farming has inte r e s t i n g implications i n terms of both farm management and expecta-tions about the quality of r u r a l l i f e . These ideas w i l l be discussed more f u l l y l a t e r , but perhaps i t i s s u f f i c i e n t to say at t h i s point that i n d i v i d u a l attitudes to farm l i f e 52 could sometimes be understood in terms of pleasant c h i l d -hood memories rather than more r e a l i s t i c appraisals of the current farming s i t u a t i o n . Length of Ownership Hobby farming has been described as a recent develop-ment i n r u r a l land ownership. Layton found 53% of farm owners around London, Ontario, were hobby farmers in 1971 compared with only 18% ten years e a r l i e r , and 6% twenty years before, making them a very recent group of a r r i v a l s in com-5 parison to the f u l l - t i m e and part-time farm owners. The length of ownership of Surrey hobby farmers varied from less than two years to l i f e for two owners who had inherited the family farm. The mean number of years of ownership was 12.7 with 76% of the group a r r i v i n g within the l a s t f i f t e e n years. Those hobby farmers with previous non-farm addresses and no farm backgrounds for either husband or wife were the most recent a r r i v a l s , averaging 9.3 years of ownership. This suggests r u r a l l i f e i s becoming more appealing and more accessible to a wider segment of the population. P o l i t i c a l Orientations Although hobby farmers were not asked to specify t h e i r p o l i t i c a l a f f i l i a t i o n s , a surrogate measure was provided by responses regarding government farm p o l i c i e s and attitudes toward the a g r i c u l t u r a l land reserve system. Those with a conservative viewpoint and a free enterprise orientation were i d e n t i f i e d by comments that c a l l e d for fewer r e s t r i c t i o n s 53 on farm operation, less government involvement, the removal of a l l subsidies and supports to farmers and the a b o l i t i o n of marketing boards. This conservative stance was suggested in comments such as, "I'm dead against a l l government help," "I don't want any help or any r e s t r i c t i o n s , " "I don't believe in handouts," "government involvement increases costs to a l l " and "the less government the better for us a l l . " The members of' t h i s conservative group were also opposed to the a g r i c u l t u r a l land reserve system although only nine farmers were philosophically opposed to t h i s type of land use l e g i s l a t i o n which they perceived as discriminatory or a r e s t r i c t i o n on personal rights and freedoms. Others f e l t the B.C. system was u n f a i r l y imposed or poorly administered. A few suggested there should never be government controls on land as i t i n v a r i a b l y forced up land prices and i n t e r -fered with the land market. The majority of owners favoured government control over a g r i c u l t u r a l land use and farm marketing and operation. This group supported p o l i c i e s which provided economic assistance to farmers i n the form of lower interest rates, crop insur-ance programmes, farm development incentives and subsidies to cover machinery and f u e l purchases. Many c l e a r l y d i s -tinguished between the needs of f u l l - t i m e , commercial farm-ers and the part-time and hobby groups which they f e l t did not require or deserve to receive government assistance. However, a few f e l t small scale farming was desirable and should be encouraged by government p o l i c i e s , not necessarily the same as those.needed for large-scale operations. 54 The majority group was also strongly in favour of a g r i -c u l t u r a l zoning as an appropriate mechanism to preserve a g r i c u l t u r a l land, A few c a l l e d for a speculation tax on unused farmland. The most extreme expression of t h i s stance was a r t i c u l a t e d by one owner who f e l t a l l farm land was a public good and therefore should not be p r i v a t e l y owned. He f e l t farm land should be banked and leased to those w i l l i n g to use and care for i t on an e c o l o g i c a l l y sound basis that would ensure i t s preservation for future generations. The hobby, farmers sympathetic to government involvement in a g r i c u l t u r a l land use also showed strong support of the A.L.R. l e g i s l a t i o n . Twenty-seven respondents were completely i n favour of a g r i c u l t u r a l zoning and t y p i c a l comments i n -cluded: "We need a l l the farmland we can get," "too much has been lost already," and "not another square inch of farmland should be l o s t . " Other owners were generally sup-portive of the l e g i s l a t i o n but f e l t there were problems with the o r i g i n a l boundary designations and the subsequent adminis-t r a t i o n of the reserves. The most commonly i d e n t i f i e d q u a l i f i c a t i o n s were the l i m i t a t i o n of using physical cap-a b i l i t y as the single measure to decide inclusion of land, and the s u s c e p t i b i l i t y to p o l i t i c a l pressures for the removal of land. Some f e l t land that was too marginal in quality and too small i n parcel size should not have been included. The hobby farms i n the sample were f a i r l y evenly divided between locations inside and outside the A.L.R. boundaries. 55 Each, owner was asked whether he agreed with his own desig-nation. Fourteen owners didn't know whether t h e i r land was in the reserve or didn't correctly i d e n t i f y t h e i r designa-t i o n . Eight of these owners in c o r r e c t l y assumed the farm designation for property tax purposes meant they were a g r i -c u l t u r a l l y zoned. Eighteen farmers disagreed with t h e i r own designation. Eleven f e l t t h e i r farm should not be i n the reserve because of i t s size or marginal quality. A rather surprising number, seven owners whose farms were not in the reserve, f e l t they should be included i n the boundar-ies because they strongly favoured the inclusion of a l l useable farmland, including t h e i r own. By v o l u n t a r i l y res-t r i c t i n g a l l future uses of t h e i r land, t h i s group obviously displayed a very strong interest in a g r i c u l t u r a l land preser-vation . It was hypothesized that there might be differences i n attitude toward the land reserve system between those whose land was in or out of the reserve or between those who pur-chased t h e i r land before or after the imposition of the r e s t r i c t i v e zoning: However, as Table IV suggests, there was no s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t difference between the groups for either measure. Those favouring the a g r i c u l t u r a l land zoning were as l i k e l y to be within the reserves as outside and were as l i k e l y to have purchased t h e i r land previous to imposition of the boundaries as afterwards. If the owners' responses can be trusted, t h i s suggests personal circumstances had l i t t l e bearing on orientation toward the 56 preservation of a g r i c u l t u r a l land. The variations i n opinions simply r e f l e c t e d variations in philosophical and p o l i t i c a l orientations. This suggests d i v e r s i t y in p o l i t i c a l viewpoints and attitudes as well as i n socioeconomic charac-t e r i s t i c s . TABLE IV ORIENTATION TOWARD AGRICULTURAL.LAND RESERVE SYSTEM Location of Strong Q u a l i f i e d Farm Unit Agreement Agreement Disagreement In reserve 13 13 5 Outside reserve 13 17 5 Chi square = .83 with 2 degrees of freedom Not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l Time of Purchase Before A.L.R. 15 19 5 After A.L.R. 11 11 5 Chi square = .61 with 2 degrees of freedom Not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l 57 WHY DO HOBBY FARMERS CHOOSE A RURAL LIFESTYLE? Qu a l i t i e s of Rural Living The Surrey hobby farmers, a f a i r l y diverse group in terms of socioeconomic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and p o l i t i c a l orien-tations, have a l l chosen to l i v e in the countryside. What q u a l i t i e s of r u r a l l i f e entice hobby farmers to move from th e i r urban homes to a d i f f e r e n t setting and way of l i f e i n the countryside? Can s i m i l a r i t i e s be i d e n t i f i e d in l i f e -s t y l e preferences and goals? Owners were asked to i d e n t i f y p o s i t i v e q u a l i t i e s of t h e i r r u r a l l i f e s t y l e in an open ended question that brought both single and multiple responses (see Table V). The most commonly mentioned attribute was the oppor-tunity for privacy, peace and quiet and seclusion t y p i c a l l y expressed i n comments such as "I'm away from i t a l l " and "When I drive into my yard I'm i n a d i f f e r e n t world." The second most common quality i d e n t i f i e d was the d e s i r a b i l i t y of a farm setting for r a i s i n g children. Usually t h i s was expressed as the opportunity for teaching children the value of hard work through the care of animals or doing general farm.chores. It also, allowed children the "freedom to roam" in a safe environment where they "can't get into trouble." A s a t i s f a c t i o n with r u r a l l i f e i n terms of l i v i n g i n an uncrowded environment with "open areas" and l o t s of space" was also expressed by many. This desire for "elbow room" i s closely linked to the desire for privacy and the oppor-tunity to l i v e i n a healthy environment. The other 58 TABLE V POSITIVE QUALITIES IDENTIFIED WITH EURAL LIFESTYLE ON A HOBBY FARM Quality Number Mentioning Opportunity for privacy, seclusion, peace and quiet 32 Good environment for r a i s i n g children 25 Uncrowded environment: space, open area, " l o t s of room" 21 Opportunity to grow own food, s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y 18 Healthy environment: fresh/ clean a i r , opportunity for outdoor l i f e 16 Opportunity to keep animals 15 -Always wanted to l i v e on a farm (or return to a farm) 10 Good neighbours 7 Close to c i t y amenities but i n country 6 Independence, freedom, quality of l i f e , "mental sanity" 6 59 frequently mentioned attribute was the a b i l i t y to become s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t or at least to grow as much of one's food supply as possible. The Surrey farmers' perceptions of p o s i t i v e q u a l i t i e s of a r u r a l l i f e s t y l e are s i m i l a r to ones i d e n t i f i e d by res-pondents i n other studies. Coffin and Lipsey found s e l f -s u f f i c i e n c y i n terms of ownership of land and food production was i d e n t i f i e d by almost half t h e i r respondents as the key 6 att r a c t i o n for moving back to the land. Other frequently mentioned goals were to pursue s p e c i f i c pastimes such as outdoor a c t i v i t i e s or a cottage industry and to achieve a more peaceful, relaxed and simple l i f e s t y l e with the p o s s i b i l i t y of freedom and independence. Troughton l i s t s the following attributes as most important to Ontario hobby farmers: fresh a i r , privacy, peace and quiet, healthy environment, a good place for children and a chance to grow 7 one's own food. This study found some s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r -ences in the ranking of important values among f u l l - t i m e , part-time and hobby farmers, p a r t i c u l a r l y in the importance of a peaceful s e t t i n g and an opportunity for food production for hobby farmers and. the r e l a t i v e lack of importance hobby farmers attached to t r a d i t i o n a l r u r a l s o c i a l l i f e , the family farm way of l i f e and good neighbours. These were a l l ranked higher by f u l l - t i m e and part-time farmers. Many Surrey farmers were t o t a l l y absorbed in t h e i r farm development and management. Some mentioned they were involved i n no "outside" a c t i v i t i e s and never took a vacation 60 from t h e i r farm. This t o t a l commitment at times bordered on s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n from the larger community. Almost half the sample farm owners desired privacy and seclusion and only 10% mentioned the importance of neighbourly contacts or r u r a l community fe e l i n g . Many had l i t t l e knowledge of the a c t i v i t i e s of t h e i r neighbours and there was no sugges-tion of communality or the sharing of ideas or knowledge. They didn't generally seek help or advice from outside but took pride i n reaching goals by self-discovery and experi-mentation. This do-it-yourself approach i s consistent with a philosophy of s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y and seclusion. This s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n i s noted in two other studies. Coff i n and Lipsey found the back to the landers in th e i r sample group declared an intention to maintain s o c i a l con-tacts after they l e f t the c i t y but after t h e i r move, "while g most did not want to be isolated, many were." Punter also notes the generally few s o c i a l contacts within the l o c a l area of, Toronto area exurbanites and suggests owners spent considerable time on t h e i r own property pursuing t h e i r own 9 interests. He also notes "exurbanites are not known for the i r willingness to share t h e i r amenities . . . because th i s c o n f l i c t s with t h e i r desire for peace and privacy. Self-imposed separation i s also frequently r e f l e c t e d in a desire for s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y i n terms of growing and r a i s i n g one's own food. This seemed an important goal to some although f u l l s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y i s very d i f f i c u l t to achieve. An adequate annual supply of protein and dairy 61 products and f r u i t and vegetables had been achieved by three of the Surrey farm owners but most were far from r e a l i z i n g t h i s goal. The desire for s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y r e f l e c t s the appeal of separation or i s o l a t i o n as i t i s a deliberate attempt to remove oneself from depending on the larger society. This s u r v i v a l i s t mentality can possibly be i n t e r -preted as a fear of the future or an insecurity associated with dependency on others. The Setting Surrey hobby farmers perceive themselves as t r u l y rural. Some writers characterize hobby farmers as having strong urban t i e s but t h i s was c l e a r l y not the case with Surrey farmers. The farm operators were asked to i d e n t i f y how frequently they t r a v e l l e d to Vancouver and for what pur-pose. From t h e i r responses i t was obvious they displayed a strong anti-urban, bias and perceived Vancouver as crowded, d i r t y , noisy and dangerous. A few suggested vandalism, theft and trespassing i n r u r a l areas was i n s i g n i f i c a n t in comparison to what was l i k e l y to occur in the c i t y . Only twelve owners worked dai l y in Vancouver and three of these volunteered the comment they would much prefer to remain on t h e i r farms. Three women interviewed said they l i k e d to shop and v i s i t friends in Vancouver and f i v e families made occasional t r i p s to Vancouver for hockey games and theatre. Almost half of those interviewed sais they very seldom or never v i s i t e d Vancouver and t h e i r comments 62 suggest t h e i r negativity toward the c i t y : "We don't ever go i f we can help i t , " "We go as l i t t l e as possible," "I f e e l claustrophobic in the c i t y , " "We never go unless we're desperate," and "I hate the c i t y . " Most of the hobby farmers had l i v e d for some time i n the c i t y and had chosen to leave. The " p u l l " of the countryside was probably matched by a variety of "push" factors from the c i t y . Many of thi s group obviously f e l t uncomfortable in a s t r e s s f u l and crowded urban milieu. Some were escaping from the pressures associ-ated with urban l i f e and were seeking the open space and peaceful seclusion of the r u r a l environment to achieve a more s a t i s f y i n g l i f e s t y l e . WHAT SETTING DO HOBBY FARMERS CHOOSE FOR THEIR RURAL LIFESTYLE? Location Surrey's hobby farmers have generally p o s i t i v e feelings toward t h e i r rural-urban fringe environment, They perceive t h e i r setting as r u r a l rather than suburban yet a few are very aware of the a c c e s s i b i l i t y of t h i s location to shop-ping centres and freeways. Thirteen owners i d e n t i f i e d the location of t h e i r property as i t s most valuable feature. The owners were asked to i d e n t i f y s p e c i f i c p o s i t i v e q u a l i -t i e s of t h e i r area. Thirty-two mentioned privacy, seclusion and peace and quiet as the most desirable c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s Almost one t h i r d of the group mentioned space and open area 63 and a further sixteen commented on the fresh a i r and clean, healthy surroundings. The contentment hobby farmers f e e l toward t h e i r environment suggests they are not p a r t i c u l a r l y disturbed by the rapid changes and land use c o n f l i c t s of an urban fringe setting. Unlike commercial farmers who are frustrated by the changing nature of t h e i r area, hobby farmers have chosen to l i v e in t h i s setting. As a group they have come more recently when the freeways, shopping malls and sub-divisions were i n place nearby and are less affected by the r e s t r i c t i o n s that an increasingly urban setting imposes on agriculture such as l i m i t a t i o n s on noise lev e l s and spraying r e s t r i c t i o n s , problems of moving farm equipment on busy roads and vandalism.reported by the Delta farmers referred to previously. Over one t h i r d of those i n t e r -viewed could not i d e n t i f y a single problem associated with hobby farming i n the rural-urban fringe. However, not a l l were content. T h i r t y - f i v e farmers i d e n t i f i e d problems that were location a l in nature rather than a g r i c u l t u r a l . The complaints could a l l be considered in c o m p a t i b i l i t i e s with nearby land uses and were f a i r l y evenly divided between negative effects from commercial farms and problems associated with neighbouring urban uses. The close proximity of commercial farms brought complaints of odours, dust and noise associated s p e c i f i c a l l y with feed-l o t s , mushroom farms and poultry farms. Leaching and run-off from next door farms were mentioned by three owners and 64 two complained of c a t t l e wandering into t h e i r f i e l d s from nearby dairy farms. Those r u r a l residents i d e n t i f i e d by hobby farmers as " c i t y people" l i v i n g in subdivisions or on one-acre holdings were accused of stealing, vandalism and trespassing. Six farmers said dogs belonging to " c i t y people" were allowed to run loose harassing livestock and k i l l i n g chickens. Other "urban" problems included spraying complaints, the spread of weeds from non-farm properties and speeding and increased t r a f f i c levels on r u r a l roads because of recrea-t i o n a l land uses such as the golf course at Hazelmere and the race track. Although almost a l l hobby farmers were enjoying t h e i r community at present, many expressed uncertainty about the future of r u r a l Surrey and were pessimistic about over-coming anticipated c o n f l i c t s . There seemed to be l i t t l e confidence present a g r i c u l t u r a l zoning would be i n place much longer. Owners were aware of. the rapidly changing nature of areas outside the A g r i c u l t u r a l Land Reserves and rumours of impending changes were apparent everywhere in the d i s t r i c t . Almost everyone interviewed had heard about something going on "just down the road," a piggery, an o i l depot', a shopping centre, a golf course extension, or a condominium development. Many assumed the area would inevitably become urbanized and they would be forced to move. Some no doubt were ant i c i p a t i n g the r i s i n g property values that would, inevitably accompany land use change. 65 Features Important in Choice of Property In order to assess the a g r i c u l t u r a l orientations of the hobby farm group i t was necessary to establish what pa r t i c u l a r features had attracted them to choose a s p e c i f i c property and what improvements they had subsequently made to t h e i r farm. It was assumed that owners committed to farming would choose property with desirable farm features as well as amenity features and would invest i n making what-ever improvements were necessary to make the farm a smoothly functioning and viable production unit. The owners were asked to i d e n t i f y the feature or features of the property that were important to them in the decision to purchase (see Table VI, page 66). The findings are rather i n t e r e s t i n g because a l l owners were seeking a farm, rather than just a r u r a l home, and yet very few mentioned any farm features as important i n t h e i r choice. Only 16 of 95 responses were features of a farm nature such as good s o i l , good drainage or a good barn. The location and price of the property and a whole range of amenity features such as a pretty setting, view, stream on the property, type of house were a l l mentioned more frequently than any farm feature. In view of the fact that owners intended to farm when they bought the property, t h i s suggests they f e l t the physical quality of the land was consistent throughout the d i s t r i c t and was therefore not an important variable, or they f e l t as long as they had a piece 66 TABLE VI FEATURES IDENTIFIED AS IMPORTANT IN THE CHOICE OF A PROPERTY (Arranged in order of frequency mentioned) 1. Location (close to Vancouver, near freeway, near workplace, close to r e l a t i v e s ) 13 2. At t r a c t i v e physical setting (pretty area, l o t s of trees, pleasant looking) 9 3. Size, type of quality of house 9 4. Affordable price 8 5. Privacy (quiet area, secluded) 7 6. View 6 7. Water features on property (pond, stream) 4 8. Good drainage (high land, dry land) 4 9. "Quality of land" 4 10. Appropriate zoning for intended use 4 11. Good s o i l 3 12. Good investment 3 13. Others (mentioned once each) good barn, sunny property, good barn, good farm layout, right s i z e , park across street, good for horses, had artesian well, history of the area i n t r i g u i n g , reminded of former farm, farm improvement p o s s i b i l i t i e s 14. Don't know, not sure, chance, inheritance 11 67 of farmland they could choose to develop i t as they wished. Both of these perceptions are inaccurate and r e f l e c t a certain naivete on the part of the buyer. Previous Status of Property Hobby farmers have sometimes been accused of outbidding farmers for viable farm units and then allowing valuable farmland to be wasted through u n d e r u t i l i z a t i o n . The owners were questioned about the status of t h e i r property at the time of purchase to compare types and levels of usage before and after purchase. While some of the responses were vague and probably inaccurate the findings are suggestive. Only twelve of the sixty-eight properties were commercial farms operated on a f u l l - t i m e basis by the previous owner and three of these had been subdivided just p r i o r to purchase. One 32 acre hobby farm had been part of a 104 acre unit and two f i v e acre holdings were both subdivisions of 20 acre farms (see Table 7, page 68). Twenty-two properties were not farmed by the previous owner. Eleven of these were residences only although at least two and probably more had been farmed at some e a r l i e r time. These previously r e s i d e n t i a l properties were r e l a -t i v e l y recent purchases and had been owned an average of 7.7 years. The other eleven farms were undeveloped land when purchased and were subsequently improved by clearing and f i l l -ing. Only four of these were recent purchases, the newest being a 1977 purchase of boggy, bush covered lowland that has required considerable work on the part of the owner. 68 TABLE VII PREVIOUS STATUS OF HOBBY FARM PROPERTY Hobby farms purchased before December 1972 Full-time: 10 Part-time, Hobby farm: 10 Non-farm, Residential: 3 Non-Farm Undeveloped: 7 Hobby farms purchased after December 1972 18 (Status undetermined Total 12 28 11 11 6) The remaining farms were previously farmed on a part-time or hobby basis. These too tended to be f a i r l y recent purchases with 18 of the 28 bought within the la s t ten years. It was impossible to determine how intensively these farms were used as the responses were vague and uncertain such as, "He kept a few c a t t l e l i k e I do" or "I think the last owner sold his hay." It i s very l i k e l y that some of these were commercial part-time farms, more intensively farmed and more productive than now. Some owners described t h e i r land as "neglected" or "run down" at time of purchase. It seems, reasonable to speculate that many of these farms were 69 economically marginal enterprises which became non-competi-t i v e to the point of sale. A few had been bought from r e t i r e e s . Since the imposition of the land freeze i n December 1972, there have been twelve new farms developed and only two farms, previously f u l l - t i m e operations, put to less intensive use. This i s a rather i n t e r e s t i n g finding because i f i t can be generalized i t suggests a trend to increasing numbers of producing farms i n t h i s area. The number of Surrey farms reported i n the 1976 Census was 516, twelve fewer than the 528 of the 1971 Census, but the 1981 property tax assess-ment r o l l l i s t s over 800 farms. Confirmation of an increase of t h i s magnitude must await the results of the most recent census but t h i s increase almost c e r t a i n l y r e f l e c t s the grow-ing number of hobby farms within Surrey. It does not, however, suggest either an increase in the number of commer-c i a l farms or an increase in a g r i c u l t u r a l production within the d i s t r i c t as many hobby farms are operating at minimum levels of production to achieve farm status for taxation purposes. It simply means a greater number of properties are being used as farms and more people are involved in farming. Hobby Farm Size and Land Quality The small s i z e of many hobby farms l i m i t s the possi-b i l i t y of t h e i r becoming viable commercial units. Seventy-six percent of those i n the sample were ten acres or less. 70 TABLE VIII HOBBY FARM SIZE Size Number Percentage 5 acres or less 26 38 6 to 10 acres 26 38 11 to 20 acres 9 13 21 to 51 acres 7 10 Clearly a viable farm size i s linked to the type of pro-duction being attempted. Most commercial farms with f r u i t , vegetables, dairying or livestock need considerably more than ten acres to achieve reasonable f i n a n c i a l returns. Small acreages are s u f f i c i e n t for intensive enterprises such as mushroom farms, feed l o t s and poultry operations but these require c a p i t a l i z a t i o n , s p e c i a l i z e d equipment and technical s k i l l s beyond the means of hobby farmers. Hobby farmers understood the siz e l i m i t a t i o n s of t h e i r farms. When asked to speculate on possible purchasers for th e i r farm only f i v e of the sixty-eight f e l t t h e i r units were large enough to be commercially farmed and three of these owners had r e l a t i v e l y large properties. Many of those questioned commented t h e i r property was "too small for any-thing but hobby farming." 71 When the small size of hobby farm properties i s consid-ered i n conjunction with the quality of land the problem of economic v i a b i l i t y as commercial units becomes more obvious. Owners were asked to rate t h e i r s o i l quality and condition with p a r t i c u l a r reference to drainage. Only ten farmers rated both the s o i l quality and drainage and "good", "very good" or "excellent". Almost half the group rated t h e i r s o i l quality as " f a i r " or "poor" mentioning problems of rocky or gravelly composition. F i f t y - f o u r percent rated t h e i r drainage as " f a i r " or "poor" mentioning low, swampy areas, rock or clay layers under thin t o p s o i l and summer drought on slopes. Those with upland farms often had good drainage but i n f e r t i l e , stony s o i l while owners of r i c h peat and loam bottom land on the flood p l a i n had frequent winter flooding and poor drainage for several months of the year. Only nine farms had underdraining, an e f f e c t i v e but expensive solution to drainage problems. The usual hobby farm response to drainage problems was to widen, deepen and clean out existing ditches, an inexpensive but far from s a t i s f a c t o r y long term solution. The actual land c a p a b i l i t y of Surrey's farmland confirms the hobby farmers' assessment of t h e i r land. There i s no Class I land and only very small parcels of Class II and Class III land, mostly located between the Nicomekl and Serpentine R i v e r s . 1 1 Most Surrey farmland i s Class IV and Class V, described as land with s o i l and climate l i m i t a t i o n s 72 demanding special management and seriously r e s t r i c t i n g the range of crops, possibly l i m i t i n g the land to forage crop 12 usage. Manning and Eddy found 93.6% of th e i r farm sample, randomly drawn from within the Surrey A.L.R. boundaries, had predominant a g r i c u l t u r a l c a p a b i l i t y ratings of Class IV or Class V. 1^ The physical quality of the land resource was not an important factor i n the choice of a p a r t i c u l a r farm property for most owners interviewed. Only eleven hobby farmers mentioned s o i l quality, adequate drainage or quality of the land as a feature a t t r a c t i n g them when they were seeking a property to purchase.(see Table VI, page 66). It i s l i k e l y many owners neglected to make an adequate assessment of the land quality before purchase. Some farmers expressed f r u s -t r a t i o n i n dealing with the li m i t a t i o n s of the land and were disappointed with crop y i e l d s . Some undoubtedly had unreal-i s t i c expectations. Improvements Made to Properties The improvements hobby farmers made to t h e i r properties varied considerably i n types and in investment levels of money, time, and energy. Farm improvements such as clear-ing, ditching and barn construction were f a i r l y well balanced with amenity improvements such as landscaping and home reno-vation (see Table IX, page 73). A l l farms had been improved to some extent since purchase although eight had only minimal changes. Eleven farms were developed from raw land so were 73 TABLE IX RESIDENCE AND AMENITY IMPROVEMENTS FARM IMPROVEMENTS Constructed new house Renovated house (addition of rooms, updating) Landscaping (extensive - 7) Paved driveway added Pool added Tennis court added Miscellaneous ornamental additions (entrance archway, fountain) 27 Constructed new barn 19 Renovated barn (re-roofed, increased or decreased si z e , cement f l o o r added) 22 Constructed new outbuild-ings 6 (storage sheds, chicken house, stable, green-1 house) Renovated/removed outbuildings Drainage - improvements - ditching - u n d e r t i l i n g Clearing - o r i g i n a l - subsequent Pasture f e r t i l i z a t i o n - regular Pasture reseeding - regular - occasional Orchard planted Blueberry acreage I n f i l l i n g , l e v e l l i n g Miscellaneous (well, root c e l l a r ) 31 15 26 6 37 21 9 11 15 38 4 8 8 3 3 3 74 t o t a l l y "improved" while ten others, purchased more recently, had been extensively changed and improved. Three proper-t i e s were in f a i r l y deteriorated condition with poor quality houses, untidy grounds and disintegrating outbuildings. The remaining 36 properties had moderate improvements made by the present owners. Many owners had replaced older s t y l e frame cottages and farmhouses with modern homes or had extensively renovated and updated the e x i s t i n g home. The inside renovations were sometimes surprising in r e l a t i o n to the r u s t i c farmhouse exterior. Almost a l l homes had the conveniences of sub-urban homes such as modern kitchens with dishwashers and microwave ovens, bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and wall to wall carpeting. Eight of the homes were of superior quality, very large, modern and well-furnished with sun rooms, games rooms, extensive lawns and gardens, patios and swimming pools. The other homes were more modest and had more p r a c t i c a l improvements such as the addition of a bedroom or family room. Most were neatly landscaped with garden borders and ornamental shrubs. Some farms had match-ing paint colour and decorative trim on house, barn, stable, outbuildings and sometimes fences, unifying the property into a cohesive unit v i s u a l l y . The commercial farms in the area r a r e l y r e f l e c t t h i s , choosing instead to separate the home from.the farm buildings. Perhaps th i s can be regarded as v i s u a l evidence of the contrasting viewpoint of two d i s t i n c t i v e groups of landowners, the hobbyist who views 75 the farm as a l i f e s t y l e and the commercial farmer/who sees the farm as a l i v e l i h o o d . Four of f i v e property owners had added fencing to t h e i r property. Most chose board or r a i l fencing, always painted, usually white. Wire fencing i s cheaper to i n s t a l l and maintain and i s more p r a c t i c a l for farm purposes but doesn't have the aesthetic appeal of board fencing, so was seldom used at least around the v i s i b l e parts of the property. People with horses used e l e c t r i c fencing inside the white r a i l paddock fencing. The improvements of a farm nature included barn and outbuilding construction and renovation, fence building, drainage i n s t a l l a t i o n , brush clearing, orchard planting and pasture maintenance. Almost half the hobby farmers had b u i l t new barns and f i f t e e n others had renovated barns. In many cases t h i s was a replacement process with large, older, deteriorating barns being replaced with smaller, better constructed barns more appropriate to present needs. Some owners had added cement f l o o r s and re-roofed t h e i r barns but in other cases the objective seemed to be to tidy up and beautify rather than to make them more functional. Very few of the barns and outbuildings were metal sheathed in contrast to most commercial farm buildings, perhaps a hint that appearance was at least as important as p r a c t i -c a l i t y . 76 Drainage and pasture improvements were carried out extensively but perhaps in a less regular fashion than on commercial farms. Many hobby farms cleaned out ditches "when they need i t " but only nine had attempted to deal with drainage problems by unde r t i l i n g t h e i r f i e l d s . Many knew t i l i n g would improve t h e i r land quality but simply d i s -missed i t as being too expensive or costing more than i t was worth. Almost a l l had f e r t i l i z e d t h e i r pastures, many on an annual basis but ten reported i t "was not worth doing i t . " Only a few had any idea of the n u t r i t i o n a l value of th e i r hay crop. Three farmers reseeded a section of t h e i r land each year on a rotation basis and eight had reseeded once or more. Some said they planned to do i t "when i t needs i t . " A rather surprising amount of tree clearing had been done. The eleven farms developed from raw land had a l l been cleared extensively and f i f t e e n others had done some clearing, often the removal of scrub trees such as vine maples and alders to increase pasture s i z e . A few had cleared several acres with contracted bulldozing for stump and rock removal and l e v e l l i n g . Only eight owners had planted an acre or more of trees although most had added a few f r u i t trees, berry bushes, ornamental evergreens and garden shrubs. It i s perhaps in t e r e s t i n g that many commented on the b e a u t i f u l setting of t h e i r farms and six s p e c i f i c a l l y mentioned choosing t h e i r property because there were lo t s of trees, and yet tree cutting was a common practice. Again 77 the clearing seemed to r e f l e c t a compromise between the aes-t h e t i c and the p r a c t i c a l . One farmer mentioned his c a t t l e needed access to four acres of woods for summer shade, so he had s e l e c t i v e l y cleared so i t would "look l i k e Stanley Park". Perhaps the hobby farm group could be characterized as being good caretakers of a g r i c u l t u r a l land i n that they maintained t h e i r land to at least a minimum l e v e l . None of the properties was t o t a l l y neglected or overgrown with weeds. Many of the properties were very well cared for in aesthetic terms, painted and decorated, neatly landscaped and appealing to the eye. The cropland and pasture land was cared for on a somewhat "hi t and miss" basis as need demanded and time, money and interest allowed. This casual approach to farm land care i s i n keeping with the hobby orientation of the owners. The farm was not needed for income purposes so the improvements were made on the basis of choice rather than economic need, and p r a c t i c a l i t y and f u n c t i o n a l i t y were options. The r e l a t i v e unimportance the Surrey owners placed on farm features i n t h e i r choice of a property and the type of improvements they made are t y p i c a l of hobby farmers in other parts of Canada. Found and Morley report the most commonly sought after property c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s by exurban-i t e s in the Toronto region were r o l l i n g or h i l l y t e r r a i n , winter ploughed roads, access to Toronto and streams and wood 78 l o t s on the property. Punter surveyed 500 advertisements for exurban properties from the Toronto Daily Star and found the most often mentioned features, and therefore presumably the most appealing to customers, were water features, wooded areas on the property, high r o l l i n g topography, scenic or 15 picturesque setting, views and a c c e s s i b i l i t y . Farm features, other than stables and barns, were tenth on the l i s t . Troughton found s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t differences among f u l l - t i m e , part-time and hobby farmers i n the London area i n both th e i r choice of property features and in recent 16 improvements they had made. Full-time farmers sought land that was Class One arable with t i l e drainage i n s t a l l e d while hobby farmers sought property on r o l l i n g land with a stream, lake, pond, wood l o t and orchard. The improvements made by f u l l - t i m e farmers were building s i l o s , i n s t a l l i n g t i l e drainage and fencing land; part-time farmers put i n fencing and renovated t h e i r homes; hobby farmers b u i l t or renovated homes, landscaped and planted trees. Clearly hobby farmers everywhere are choosing property and making improvements that hold the promise of a comfortable l i f e -s t y l e in amenable surroundings. They are not simply choos-ing a functional setting where production p o s s i b i l i t i e s are optimum and economic returns most achievable. 79 Summary The hobby farmers are a f a i r l y heterogeneous group i n terms of s o c i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s although a disproportionate number are employed i n professional and managerial capacities. Most moved recently to t h e i r present properties from non-farm settings in urban or suburban locations but many had l i v e d on a farm i n t h e i r childhood. They showed no common p o l i t i c a l orientations although most of them favoured, at least philosophically, the p r o v i n c i a l zoning l e g i s l a t i o n to preserve a g r i c u l t u r a l land. The opportunity to l i v e i n a quiet, safe, uncrowded area seemed the most important quality of r u r a l l i v i n g to the hobby farmers. In t h i s relaxed setting they f e l t they could be somewhat independent of others by growing t h e i r own food, caring for t h e i r animals and r a i s i n g t h e i r children with the values they espoused. For some, creating and manag-ing the farm became t o t a l l y absorbing, and t h i s , along with a desire for privacy and independence, tended to i s o l a t e them from the community. Surrey hobby farmers are generally s a t i s f i e d with t h e i r rural-urban fringe location although some complained of nuisance factors associated with neighbouring land uses such as feed l o t s . The sample group considered themselves to be a r u r a l population and displayed a somewhat surprising degree of anti-urbanism. The urban t i e s , so commonly men-tioned i n other studies, had been severed with the move to 80 the country by most of the Surrey sample group. They appar-ently had t r i e d and rejected c i t y l i f e as s t r e s s f u l and unpleasant. P a r t i c u l a r properties were usually chosen on the basis of t h e i r amenity features such as a view, an at t r a c t i v e or secluded setting or a p a r t i c u l a r house s t y l e rather than farm features such as good s o i l or adequate drainage. Most of the properties were small and many were of marginal quality. Almost a l l of the properties had been improved since purchase with a combination of farm and amenity improvements. A great deal of construction and renovation had been completed as well as considerable "tidying up" of many properties. Farm improvements such as fencing and clearing tended to be done on a casual basis r e f l e c t i n g the hobby orientation of the owners. Despite the d i v e r s i t y of the group some common threads can be i d e n t i f i e d i n the s o c i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , attitudes, goals and choices of hobby farmers. The s a t i s f a c t i o n with the hobby farm setting and the l e v e l of improvements to properties suggest most of the hobby farm group i s firmly committed to an a g r i c u l t u r a l l i f e s t y l e . 81 NOTES 1. Cof f i n , Raymond and Lipsey, Mark, "Moving Back to the Land: An Ecologically: Responsible L i f e s t y l e Change," Environment and Behaviour, Volume 13, Number 1, January 1981, p. 47. 2. Troughton, M.J., Land Holding in the Rural-Urban Fringe Environment: The Case of London, Ontario, Lands Direc-torate, Environment Canada, Occasional Paper No. 11, Ottawa, 1976, p. 104. 3. Carvalho, Mario, The Nature of Demand for Exurbia Living, Winnipeg Region Study, University of Manitoba, 1974, p. 42. 4. De Jong, G. and Humphrey, C , "Population Redistribution," Rural Sociology, Volume 41, Number 4, Winter 1976, p. 536. 5. Layton, Ronald, Hobby Farming: A Characterization. A Case Study of the Rural-Urban Fringe of London, Ontario, Unpublished M.A. Thesis, University of Western Ontario, 1976, p. 42. C o f f i n and Lipsey, op. c i t . , p. 49. Troughton, op. c i t . , p. 121. Coff i n and Lipsey, op. c i t . , p. 53. Punter, John., The Impact of Exurban Development on Land and Landscape in the Toronto Centred Region: 1954- 1971. Central Mortgage and Housing, Ottawa, 1974, p. 314. Ibid., p. 333. Taken from A g r i c u l t u r a l Capability and Land Use Map 92 G2, (G.V.R.D.) Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, Talisman Projects, 1979. Agriculture and Land Capability in B r i t i s h Columbia, B.C. Environment and Land Use Committee Secretariat, A.R.D.A. Project, Number 89077, September 1976. 13. Manning, E. and Eddy, S., The A g r i c u l t u r a l Land Reserves of B r i t i s h Columbia: An Impact Analysis, Lands Director-ate, Environment Canada, 1978, p. 47. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 14. Found and Morley, A Conceptual Approach to Rural Land Use (1972), reported i n Punter, op. c i t . , p. 14. 82 15. Punter, op. c i t . , compiled from Toronto Daily Star, Saturday Edition, A p r i l 17-July 17, 1971. 16. Troughton, op. c i t . , pp. 70 and 85. 83 CHAPTER FOUR THE HOBBY FARM Hobby farmers c l e a r l y consider themselves farmers and not merely owners of r u r a l properties. A few even i d e n t i -f i e d themselves occupationally as "farmer" despite f u l l - t i m e off-farm employment, low farm returns and small scale pro-duction. Retired people p a r t i c u l a r l y were l i k e l y to c a l l themselves farmers although none had farmed f u l l - t i m e pre-viously. Other people, usually the young and the most recent a r r i v a l s , c a l l e d themselves farm people i n terms of residence but not occupation. They were most l i k e l y to immediately c l a s s i f y themselves as hobby farmers and either stated or implied t h e i r needs and expectations were quite dif f e r e n t from those of commercial farmers. Are hobby farmers j u s t i f i e d in c a l l i n g themselves farmers? Does hobby farming have a legitimate role to play in the a g r i c u l t u r a l industry? Or, are hobby farms merely playgrounds for those who want to have fun playing farm? This chapter attempts to document the a g r i c u l t u r a l aspects of hobby farming by assessing the current s i t u a t i o n on Surrey hobby farms with respect to land use, production, marketing, labour inputs and information gathering. The " f i t " of hobby farming within the a g r i c u l t u r a l industry can then be better understood. Does the actual farm s i t u a -t i o n provide the s a t i s f a c t i o n s hobby farmers said they were 84 seeking and does i t f u l f i l t h e i r goals and expectations? What do the future intentions of hobby farmers reveal about t h e i r commitment to hobby farming? Some owners may be content to continue t h e i r farming i n i t s present form while others plan to expand t h e i r holding, change t h e i r produc-tio n , make further improvements or s e l l t h e i r properties. In short, we attempt to i d e n t i f y the present nature of the Surrey hobby farm and assess i t s s t a b i l i t y as a continuing form of a g r i c u l t u r a l enterprise. THE PRESENT SITUATION Land Use What use are hobby farmers making of t h e i r farmland that has previously been i d e n t i f i e d as small in size and often marginal in quality? Land on each holding in the sample group was c l a s s i f i e d as cropland, pasture or unused land, excluding the area used for buildings, driveways, lawns and the family vegetable plot. Most farms used 80% or more of t h e i r acreage for income generating purposes. The most common land use was pasture, with six t y of the sixty-eight hobby farms having at least some pasture. In most cases t h i s pasture was improved f a i r l y regularly with f e r t i l i z i n g , manuring and occasional reseeding. It was usually used for grazing beef c a t t l e , although some was used for dairy c a t t l e , horses, sheep or goats. Twenty-two farms had both pasture and cropland: twelve had pasture and hayland, nine had pasture and acreage i n vegetables or 85 f r u i t , and one had pasture, hayland and vegetable acreage. Only six farms were a l l cropland: two in hay, two in hay and vegetables, one i n Christmas trees and one in nursery stock. The remaining farm had only rabbit hutches. The amount of unused.or i d l e farmland on hobby farms was surpr i s i n g l y small. Thirty-nine of the farms had no unused land of any type including wooded areas. Ten farms had unused land, but i n f i v e cases t h i s was unusable because i t was swamp, ravineland or creekbed. The other f i v e farms had i d l e land t o t a l l i n g 13 acres, the only r e a l l y "wasted" land in the sample of properties, and six of these acres were being cleared at the time of the interviewing. Nineteen farms had wooded areas ranging i n siz e from a half acre to eight acres, averaging two and a half acres. In no case did the wooded area exceed 17% of the farm area and at least half of these areas had been cleared of scrub and underbrush. Eighteen of the nineteen farms with wooded areas had browsing c a t t l e and some owners commented on the value of wooded areas as summer shelter for t h e i r c a t t l e . Two mentioned the aesthetic value of wooded areas. It was clear hobby farmers were making some use of almost a l l t h e i r land but an inter e s t i n g contrast was the amount of useable but i d l e land held on f i v e of the twelve commercial farms whose owners were also interviewed. The mink farm had two unused acres of a f i v e acre holding while the two b r o i l e r oeprations, both on ten acre holdings had seven and eight and a half acres of i d l e land. The nursery 86 owner had almost half of his nine acres uncleared although he considered i t future expansion land. One of the two dairy farms in the sample had 25 acres of i d l e land on an 80 acre farm. The land on four of these f i v e farms was "excess" i n that the holding size was inappropriate to the intensive nature of the enterprise and yet the land could not be subdivided and sold because i t was held within the a g r i c u l t u r a l land reserve. These f u l l - t i m e farmers did not have the time or money resources to make use of land that was surplus to t h e i r commercial enterprise. In the case of the dairy farm the 25 acres was not improved and used because he had a marginal operation and could not afford the increased cost of additional shares of dairy quota to make use of his i d l e land to increase the size of his dairy herd. His land too was i n the reserve and was not subdividable. While f i v e f u l l - t i m e farms cannot be considered a legitimate sample, there i s a hint i n these findings of an interes t i n g circumstance i n Surrey. The hobby farmer, with the freedom to choose an appropriate sized holding, i s able to make very r a t i o n a l use of his land. The commercial farmer who buys an ex i s t i n g unit with the needed f a c i l i t i e s and correct zoning may well have land excess to his intended purposes that he cannot s e l l . Perhaps i t i s i d l e land "locked" i n inappropriately sized commercial holdings that i s r e a l l y the "wasted" farmland. 87 Farm Production Hobby farms produce a great variety of products but an important d i s t i n c t i o n must be made between production for income-generating purposes and production for family use. Most of the a g r i c u l t u r a l production of hobby farms i s used by the farm owners, di s t r i b u t e d to family and friends, or occasionally exchanged for other farm products. The majority of hobby farms produce only one item in marketable quanti-t i e s so while 82% of hobby farms have three or more types of products, an equal proportion s e l l only one or two products. TABLE X NUMBER OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF PRODUCTION PER FARM Number of product types 1 2 3 4 5+ Number of farms 5 7 13 15 28 Percentage of farms 7 10 19 22 41 NUMBER OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF PRODUCTION FOR INCOME PURPOSES PER FARM Number of types of products sold 1 2 3 4 5+ Number of farms 38 18 10 1 1 Percentage of farms 56 26 15 1 1 88 Hobby farms are c l e a r l y mixed enterprises. Only f i v e of the 68 in the sample were producing a single product type and the group as a whole were involved in most types of a g r i c u l t u r a l enterprise possible within the climatic l i m i t a t i o n s of Surrey, as Table XI suggests. The most common livestock found on hobby farms are beef c a t t l e , kept on f i f t y of the sample farms. This i s an obvious choice for hobby farmers because of the low l e v e l of care necessary and the r e l a t i v e ease of marketing. Beef i s a popular product for family use and i s readily sold p r i v a t e l y or at the l o c a l auction. Most hobby farmers winter over t h e i r animals, although a few buy calves i n the spring and s e l l or slaughter then in the f a l l to save winter feed costs. Other livestock kept included dairy c a t t l e , pigs and sheep and goats, usually :kept on marginal grazeland. Hobby farmers are popularly i d e n t i f i e d as the horse owners of the Fraser Valley but the Surrey farms had sur-p r i s i n g l y few. Seven farmers bred horses, four of them s p e c i a l i z i n g in race horses. Only three other families kept horses as pets, a single horse or ponies for t h e i r children. The low l e v e l of horse ownership can probably be explained by a number of factors, p a r t i c u l a r l y the small siz e of the farms and the lack of t r a i l s and open areas suitable for r i d i n g i n Surrey. Some farmers dismissed horse ownership as being too expensive and others claimed 89 TABLE XI TYPES OF PRODUCTION ON SAMPLE FARMS Production Type Number of Farms Beef c a t t l e 50 Dairy c a t t l e 8 Sheep 9 Goats 6 Pigs 5 Horses (breeding) 7 Chickens (eggs) 39 Ducks 11 Geese 10 Rabbits (for meat) 5 Vegetables 50 F r u i t , berries 35 Hay (cutting) 14 Honey bees 3 Nursery stock 2 Nut trees 2 Christmas trees 1 Maple syrup 2 Trout 1 Show birds (turkeys, peacocks, 3 canaries) 90 horses ruined pasture for any other use and said they pre-ferred to keep t h e i r limited supply of grazeland for c a t t l e , sheep or goats. A few even said they were too busy farming to spend a l o t of time caring for a horse, c l e a r l y relegat-ing horse ownership to the category of a f r i v o l o u s pursuit. Chickens were a popular choice of hobby farmers as a source of both eggs and meat. Ducks and geese were kept on a dozen farms and rabbits, raised for meat, were kept on f i v e others. A l l of these are i d e a l l y suited to hobby farming needing low lev e l s of care and very l i t t l e space. Eggs are e a s i l y marketed. Almost a l l farms had vegetable gardens often as large as an acre in s i z e . The vegetable plot was usually care-f u l l y planned to provide both variety and s u f f i c i e n t y i e l d to be frozen, preserved or stored for winter use. Some people grew enough vegetables to s e l l surpluses. More than half the farms had some f r u i t trees and berry bushes, par-t i c u l a r l y apples and blueberries. Fourteen farms had s u f f i -cient hay acreage to supply t h e i r own winter livestock feed and six sold hay surpluses. There was a variety of specialty items, some more exotic than others, produced on hobby farms. The mundane included nuts, honey, nursery stock and Christmas trees; the exotics were canaries, peacocks, show turkeys and maple syrup. One farm generated income from sales of trout raised in large ponds to finance the owner's f i r s t choice of enter-prise, breeding race horses. 91 The variety of produce from a single small farm was often quite surprising and c e r t a i n l y i n d i c a t i v e of the hobby aspects of t h i s kind of farming. Many owners were experimenting with d i f f e r e n t types of production and par-t i c u l a r breeds of livestock for a variety of reasons which w i l l be discussed more f u l l y l a t e r . The variety also r e f l e c t e d an attempt by some owners to be s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t in terms of food production, a goal a few had almost reached. Perhaps a description of the production of two of the sample farms w i l l exemplify t h i s variety. The f i r s t farm i s a well managed f i v e acre holding owned by a young family with goals of a family-focussed l i f e s t y l e and s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y i n food production. The family raises and breeds Highland c a t t l e , keeping s i x head4.on the i r three acres of pasture. Two are slaughtered annually, one for t h e i r own use and one for sale. The son i s responsible for the care of eight to ten pigs which are kept penned and fed p a r t i a l l y on garden and house scraps. These are sold as they reach optimum size . The daughter feeds the three dozen chickens whose eggs are used by the family and sold to several regular customers. The farm has an acre of orchard with several kinds of f r u i t trees, grape vines used for ju i c e and wine making, three kinds of berry bushes and a large vegetable garden. Produce i s stored in two freezers and a recently constructed root c e l l a r for winter use. Every February, 92 weather permitting, the family taps the large maple tree in t h e i r front yard and makes syrup to give to t h e i r " c i t y friends". Another f i v e acre hobby farm i n the same neighbourhood keeps two milk cows, several goats, chickens, geese, ducks and honey bees. The family i s vegetarian and makes cheese and yogurt from both cow's milk and goat's milk. Their diet i s supplemented by t h e i r own vegetables and f r u i t , and they s e l l milk, kids, and honey to provide enough income to maintain and improve t h e i r farm. Farm Sales and Marketing Arrangements Over half the hobby farms in the sample group s e l l only one product, usually beef, and only twelve farms s e l l three or more products. The range of products sold i s l i s t e d in Table XII. Beef c a t t l e are e a s i l y sold, although often at less than s a t i s f a c t o r y prices. Many hobby farmers have a few head of t h e i r c a t t l e slaughtered and butchered l o c a l l y each year and then s e l l sides or quarters of beef to friends or regular customers. There i s apparently no shortage of buyers for what i s perceived as healthy, grass-fed beef "without a l l those hormones injected i n them", as one farmer explained. Other farmers s e l l t h e i r animals l i v e at the Surrey auction which was c r i t i c i z e d by a few owners as paying much lower prices to hobby farmers than to commercial farmers. Some said they were forced to accept whatever price was offered, 93 TABLE XII MARKETED HOBBY FARM PRODUCTION Product Number of Farms Beef 50 Eggs 12 Milk: cow 1 goat 2 B r o i l e r chickens 2 Sheep: meat 6 wool 1 Pigs 4 Rabbits 3 Ducks 1 Geese 2 Foals 7 Hay 6 Vegetables 4 Blueberries 3 Fr u i t 2 Honey 1 Other sources of farm income: Canaries Horse boarding Dog kennel Nursery stock Christmas trees Trout 94 even when they knew i t was too low, or they would have to pay the return trucking costs for th e i r animals. The reason for the low price might well be the p o t e n t i a l l y poorer quality of hobby farm beef because a few owners didn't seem to have a good understanding of n u t r i t i o n a l needs for t h e i r livestock. Others sold at an inappropriate time when prices were low or before t h e i r c a t t l e were optimum weight. Usu-a l l y t h i s was necessary in order to generate the income necessary to claim a farm property tax exemption. Almost a l l other products are sold d i r e c t l y to con-sumers through private contacts, roadside stands or by means of farm gate advertising. A l l the eggs, f r u i t and vege-tables produced were sold t h i s way with the exception of one farmer who sold p i c k l i n g cucumbers to the Surrey vegetable co-op on a contract basis. Lambs, rabbits and trout were sold p r i v a t e l y to restaurants." i n Vancouver. Three or four owners of goats and sheep sold lambs and kids to Greek and I t a l i a n ethnic organizations for f e s t i v a l days. One hobby farmer sold ducks to neighbouring Chinese vegetable growers who appreciate his "organically" raised products. The marketing s i t u a t i o n i s very informal but seems to be reasonably s a t i s f a c t o r y . Almost a l l who sold p r i v a t e l y said they had no problem finding customers for t h e i r produce. Many commented that c i t y people l i k e d to drive out to the countryside on the weekend to buy fresh organically grown vegetables, brown eggs from chickens that are allowed to roam fr e e l y , blueberries that have not been sprayed with 95 chemicals, black sheep wool for weaving and goat's milk fresh from the source. The elimination of middle marketing levels often means lower prices to buyers and higher returns to hobby farmers. However, the r e a l attraction for the cus-tomer i s probably the alternative source of supply to the supermarket. Despite lack of quality control and regulation, the customers' perception seems to be that they are receiving fresher, healthier food from direct farm sales. Perhaps they l i k e the idea of small scale production and enjoy the f r i e n d l y face-to-face contact with the producer. By d e f i n i t i o n the hobby farm sample was limited to farms with low value sales with l i t t l e importance attached to farm income. The farm income tended to vary considerably year by year and many farmers said i t was sometimes a struggle to meet the $1600 sales requirement for preferred property taxation. One of the frustrations of the exemption c r i t e r i a was the necessity of having sales of at least $1600 every year by a s p e c i f i e d date, sometimes forcing farmers to s e l l : calves before optimum marketing weights or other livestock that could be used to b u i l d up a flock or herd to more viable l e v e l s . A rainy season with poor blueberry crops was causing concern for three farmers who depended on blueberry sales. Because marketing i s informal economic returns are highly variable. There are two main reasons for hobby farmers to s e l l t h e i r farm produce. Many save considerable amounts of property tax by attaining farm c l a s s i f i c a t i o n for assessment 96 purposes, as indicated. Others attempt to s e l l enough to fund improvements and pay annual maintenance costs on t h e i r farm. Few make any sizeable p r o f i t and some claim losses each year. It i s possible to claim up to a $5000 farm income loss each year against personal income for federal tax purposes. Four farm owners who were interviewed were high income earners with th e i r own business and a l l routinely claimed the f u l l farm loss. This i s a controversial deduc-tion which Punter c a l l s a "legal form of tax evasion.""1" However, as he goes on to suggest, " i t has led to the main-tenance of productive land i n good a g r i c u l t u r a l condition and has led to increased maintenance of the landscape for the v i s u a l enjoyment of a l l who use the r u r a l landscape i n Ontario." The same i s undoubtedly true for the Fraser Valley. Property and income tax savings are necessary incentives, at least for some of the hobby farmers, to make very good use of t h e i r farmland. Like commercial farmers, hobby farmers are f e e l i n g the effects of the cost-price squeeze. They are experiencing rapidly escalating input costs, p a r t i c u l a r l y high interest rates on mortgages and loans and soaring costs for f u e l , feed, seed and f e r t i l i z e r while farm returns remain low. Unlike commercial farmers, hobby farmers do not depend on t h e i r farm income so can postpone purchases, decrease pro-duction levels or change types of production. They usually have low investments i n sp e c i a l i z e d equipment and can there-fore be more f l e x i b l e in t h e i r adjustments and approach. 97 The attitude toward farm income i s possibly the most c l e a r l y distinguishing feature of hobby farmers. They do not depend on farm income for t h e i r l i v e l i h o o d and therefore they are not as f r u s t r a t i n g when sales are poor and expenses are high. One farmer suggested, "Hobbies are always expen-siv e . " The expectation was that sales would cover costs of production and possibly provide funds for further improve-ments. But i f sales did not reach anticipated l e v e l s , only minor adjustments in expectations were necessary. Only sixteen hobby farmers i d e n t i f i e d any farm produc-tion or marketing problems. Low prices, p a r t i c u l a r l y of beef c a t t l e sold at the auction, high costs of inputs and the lack of farm labourers were the three problems most frequently i d e n t i f i e d . Lack of f a c i l i t i e s for slaughtering sheep and processing rabbits were mentioned. In general, those i n t e r -viewed were far more concerned about the nuisance factors in t h e i r area, as discussed previously, than any actual farming problems. Most were reasonably content with t h e i r own farm s i t u a t i o n . Farm Labour Requirements and.Sources Almost a l l hobby farm labour i s done by hobby farmers themselves without hired help. Five women and fourteen men.run t h e i r farms alone. Almost half the farms were run by husband and wife and sometimes children were also i n -volved with animal care. There was sometimes a structure to the chores with each member of the family responsible for some aspect of the farm management. Some children received 98 the p r o f i t s from the sales of t h e i r own animals and p a r t i -cipated in 4H a c t i v i t i e s . Farmers received occasional help from other r e l a t i v e s , notably grandchildren, nephews and sons-in-law and some depended on friends to help at busy times such as haying or blueberry picking. A few hobby farmers mentioned t h e i r c i t y friends l i k e d to come out and help on the farm once or twice a year and one held an annual "harvest" party which was a s o c i a l occasion as well as a work day on the farm for his friends. Only f i v e farmers had regular hired help, a l l part-time. These farm helpers were involved i n planting and weeding, c a t t l e care, and horse t r a i n i n g and exercising. Three farmers hired students for fu l l - t i m e work each summer. Three other owners complained that they wanted regular help but were unable to f i n d trained, r e l i a b l e farm labourers in Surrey. Many of the farmers used occasional custom services. Although twenty-five had never received any assistance, the remaining forty-three mentioned a variety of services they used from time to time, p a r t i c u l a r l y hay cutting and baling (see Table XIII). These services usually require s p e c i a l i z e d equipment which i s too expensive for hobby farmers to purch-ase. Custom work i s almost always done by commercial farmers in the area and provides a source of cash income for them. One commercial farmer who was interviewed owns a modern baler which keeps himself, his wife and two teenaged sons busy a l l summer cutting hay on neighbouring farms in the Hazelmere 99 TABLE XIII CUSTOM FARM SERVICES USED BY HOBBY FARMS Service Number of farms using service Hay cutting and baling 19 Bulldozing, ploughing, t o t o t i l l i n g 11 Land clearing, tree or stump removal 9 Drainage improvements, under-t i l i n g , ditching (backhoe) 8 Digging of fence post holes 5 Custom butchering (on farm) 2 Manure spreading 2 Berry picking 1 Cattle hauling 1 Liming of f i e l d s 1 General repairs 1 F a r r i e r services 1 Valley of Surrey. He operates on a non-cash basis, as many others do, taking a share of the crop as payment. He keeps his own sizeable herd of c a t t l e i n winter feed without using his own pasture for hay and s e l l s several hundred bales each year. Another commercial farmer interviewed does c a t t l e hauling for cash income and a t h i r d operated a backhoe service. 1 0 0 The h i r i n g of custom farm services i s a great help to commercial farmers, and sometimes t h e i r sons, who can better r a t i o n a l i z e the purchase of expensive equipment for t h e i r own farm i f they know they can use i t to generate cash income when time permits. The use of custom services was sometimes less than optimal for hobby farmers. They had no option but to wait u n t i l the service could be provided and t h i s sometimes meant waiting past the best time for ploughing or hay cutting. Some farm operators complained they had d i f f i c u l t y h i r i n g anyone to do small jobs such as cutting three acres of hay, digging a short length of ditch or roto-t i l l i n g a vegetable plot. Most hobby farmers chose to do as much of t h e i r farm work as possible partly for f i n a n c i a l reasons and partly to avoid the f r u s t r a t i o n s of try i n g to hire someone to get a job done when i t was required. However, there was also considerable s e l f - s a t i s f a c t i o n with handling t h e i r own needs and getting the job done themselves. Some expressed pride in t h e i r accomplishments and f e l t s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y i n labour terms was a worthy goal to s t r i v e for. A few hobby farmers either owned, or were planning to purchase equipment that didn't seem j u s t i f i a b l e in r a t i o n a l economic terms for use on a f i v e acre farm. Some hobby farms had quite a b i t of equipment and the ownership of a small tractor was common. One hobby farmer, a r e t i r e d executive, drove his tractor across h i s expansive, well-trimmed lawn to the front door of his home for the interview. Apparently owning a tractor i s an important part of at least the image of farming. 101 Information Flow It was hypothesized that hobby farmers, many with no farm background and most with no recent farm experience, would need considerable technical advice in establishing and operating t h e i r farm enterprise. The hobby farmers in the sample were asked to i d e n t i f y t h e i r information sources, p a r t i c u l a r l y in terms of formal farming courses and help from the d i s t r i c t a g r i c u l t u r a l o f f i c e . The data suggest the lack of economic success and the variety of production problems encountered by hobby farmers can be p a r t i a l l y accounted for by th e i r informal approach to gathering i n f o r -mation . None of the hobby farmers had taken any kind of a g r i c u l -t u r a l t r a i n i n g except for Surrey or Langley School Board night school courses, although the son of one owner was currently enrolled i n the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia. Thirteen hobby farmers had taken a variety of night school courses including poultry r a i s i n g , organic farming, pig farming, horse t r a i n i n g , veterinary care, bee keeping, small farm management and, the most popular choice, beef c a t t l e r a i s i n g . These courses were short-term and introductory in nature, but were des-cribed as useful by most of the thirteen. Fewer than half of the hobby farmers had ever sought help or advice from the Ministry of Agriculture o f f i c e i n Cloverdale despite the fact the o f f i c e i s well-staffed, highly v i s i b l e and a maximum twenty minute drive from a l l 102 the sample farms. Some hobby farmers had read the pamphlets issued through the o f f i c e and some had attended f i e l d days, an on-site informational meeting on some aspect of a s p e c i f i c type of farm enterprise. A few farmers had sought i n d i v i d u a l advice, most often on treatment of stock or poultry, or con-t r o l of insect infestations on crops. Reaction to the advice varied. Some found i t useful while others said the help came too late or was not of p r a c t i c a l value. It seems l i k e l y in some cases the expectations for help were too high so could not be s a t i s f i e d and in other cases the advice was rejected by the farmer who was reluctant to invest the money needed for changes or to make changes that were philosophically unacceptable such as chemical spraying. A few people found sources of help i n neighbouring com-mercial farmers. Three young families, including a family moving toward f u l l - t i m e farming, had established a good relat i o n s h i p with an older, experienced farmer and depended on his advice for decision making. Others sought advice from friends and family, the Surrey co-op, the stock s e l l e r s and the seed suppliers. There was obviously a serious shortage of time to take courses or seek information i n any structured way. Many families had both adults working f u l l time and farm chores took up v i r t u a l l y a l l free time. However, there also seemed to be a curious reluctance to seek advice. Many suggested, with a certain amount of pride, they had learned on t h e i r own from books or experience. Some farmers were c l e a r l y 103 reluctant to formalize t h e i r information gathering and saw "hi t and miss" experimentation as part of the learning experience. The independent, do-it-yourself attitude was quite apparent although some would have undoubtedly benefit-ted from some kind of outside help. Others simply said they "knew how to farm" because they were raised on a farm, sug-gesting current farm practices were apparently of l i t t l e concern. There was almost a deliberate attempt to distance themselves from the type of knowledge that might demand more ra t i o n a l , rather than whimsical, decision making. These people were choosing farming as a hobby and were disassociat-ing themselves from the type of farming one would practice for a l i v e l i h o o d . In deliberately refusing to formalize, they were ensuring farming would be "fun". LEVELS OF SATISFACTION Surrey hobby farmers are strongly committed to a r u r a l l i f e s t y l e and, in general, are s a t i s f i e d and content with farm l i f e . They expressed pleasure in t h e i r accomplishments and regarded operational problems and production f a i l u r e s as part of the learning process. Considerable time, energy and money was invested in farms with low economic but high psychic returns. The expressions of pleasure and contentment with hobby farm l i f e suggests these farmers made a wise choice in moving to the country. The d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n s expressed were minor in nature and complaints tended to be focussed on changes in 104 the community which were perceived as threatening, p a r t i c u -l a r l y the i n f l u x of urbanites to one acre properties and therefore the potential r e p l i c a t i o n of an urban milieu that had been rejected. Negative features of commercial a g r i -culture were usually nuisance factors associated with large-scale or intensive farming that r e s t r i c t e d potential peace and quiet. In general, the problems associated with hobby farming i n the rural-urban fringe were merely i r r i t a t i n g annoyances and the s a t i s f a c t i o n levels were high. Coff i n and Lipsey comment: Considering the rigors of r u r a l l i f e ( p a r t i c u l a r l y when s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y i s a goal) the f i n a n c i a l loss that accompanied the move for most of the sample, and the discrepancy between l i f e s t y l e desired and that actually attained, i t i s pertinent to ask whether anyone was happy with the outcome. On balance the answer was a resounding 'yes'.2 Eighty-eight percent of t h e i r respondents said r u r a l l i f e was " s a t i s f y i n g " or "very s a t i s f y i n g " and only 7% were "somewhat discouraged". Surrey hobby farmers too are a s a t i s f i e d and contented group of r u r a l landowners and, i n general, are far less frustrated by the economic problems and rural-urban fringe environment than the few commercial farmers who were interviewed. Hobby farmers cheerfully accept temporary set-backs, enjoy t h e i r setting, and few have intentions to s e l l , move or make major changes in either t h e i r farm management or r u r a l l i f e s t y l e . For many th e i r chosen hobby has become an engrossing, challenging and s a t i s f y i n g way of l i f e . 105 THE FUTURE The hobby farmers in the sample were asked about t h e i r future intentions in terms of ownership, changes in levels and types of production and intended improvements. Despite further probing after the i n i t i a l response, almost half the group stated t h e i r farm was "fi n i s h e d " and they had no plans beyond, maintaining t h e i r present property and l i f e s t y l e . Some had put considerable time and e f f o r t into developing t h e i r farms and perhaps would agree with one owner who stated quite emphatically, "Enough changes have been made— i t ' s r esting time!" Only twenty-three farmers planned further improvements to t h e i r properties. Ten had plans to b u i l d a new house or renovate t h e i r e x i s t i n g one, or add a barn or outbuildings. Other planned improvements included additional fencing, improved drainage systems, reseeding of pastures and further clearing and i n f i l l i n g of swampy areas. Most owners were quite vague about the scheduling of these intended improve-ments. However, in view of the amount of e f f o r t which had already been expended on most of the farms in the sample i t seemed l i k e l y these changes would also be carried out as time and money permitted. Some depended on produce sales to finance changes to th e i r farms and recent low prices, p a r t i c u l a r l y for beef, had discouraged them. Twenty-two farmers had plans to increase t h e i r produc-tion levels or change t h e i r type of production and three had 106 bought additional land i n the la s t year. Layton found 26.7% of London area hobby farmers were anticipating a move to ful l - t i m e farming and a further 9.9% were moving toward 3 part-time farming. One might assume some owners in Surrey would also use hobby farming as a stepping stone toward a part-time or fu l l - t i m e enterprise as c a p i t a l , expertise and circumstances permitted. However, surpr i s i n g l y few hobby farmers had any plans to farm on a commercial basis i n the forseeable future. Only one Surrey hobby farmer was planning to farm f u l l - t i m e and four others were hoping to achieve pro-duction increases which would allow them to farm part-time while supplementing t h e i r income with some off-farm work. The family with f u l l - t i m e intentions was a young couple with small children. Both husband and wife worked f u l l -time to b u i l d up c a p i t a l to purchase a larger property for fu l l - t i m e c a t t l e breeding. They were seeking a property outside Surrey because they couldn't afford the high land costs of the Fraser Valley. Both husband and wife had urban backgrounds and were hobby farming in order to b u i l d up the expertise necessary to move successfully into commercial farming. The four who were moving toward part-time enterprises were planning to breed horses, raise pigs and increase the size of t h e i r c a t t l e herds to more viable l e v e l s . Three . of these had bought additional adjoining land to allow for expansion. A l l were hoping to cut back on t h e i r off-farm employment as the income from the farm increased. 107 Three other families were increasing production but saw no l i k e l i h o o d of ending t h e i r f u l l - t i m e off-farm employment. The farm of one of these families was run by the woman who seemed quite serious in her intention to b u i l d her sheep flock to commercially viable levels although her husband would continue to run his construction company. Their farm was large and had recently been improved with u n d e r t i l i n g and the construction of a new barn. She had sought advice from other sheep breeders and the d i s t r i c t a g r i c u l t u r a l i s t to ensure her expansion plans were fe a s i b l e . A rabbit pro-ducer hoped to solve processing problems so he could f i l l his newly constructed rabbit shed to i t s f u l l capacity of 400 rabbits. He kept fewer than 100 rabbits at the time of the interview but had developed his own market among restaurants in Vancouver and planned to use his farm to generate consid-erably more income i n the future. The t h i r d family was developing a small s p e c i a l i z e d nursery business which they hoped would fund the educations of t h e i r three teenagers. The small number of Surrey hobby farmers planning a move into commercial farming probably r e f l e c t s an awareness of the very large step now required to move from a hobby farming s i t u a t i o n to anything commercially viable. The sp e c i a l i z e d nature of modern agribusiness requires high le v e l s of c a p i t a l investment, technical knowledge and astute management s k i l l s . Most hobby farmers don't have the desire to farm f u l l - t i m e and, i f they do, they don't have the resources to make thi s major move. 108 The six part-time commercial farmers with small-scale production who were interviewed were a l l struggling to sur-vive economically. Although by d e f i n i t i o n they were gener-ating about half t h e i r t o t a l income from t h e i r farms t h e i r sales were s t i l l very low. One of these farmers was a cucumber grower who had been i n business for f i v e years and anticipated i t would be several more years before she made a clear p r o f i t . Although she had a modern, well-equipped greenhouse, worked long hours and sold through the marketing board, she was s t i l l putting a l l her p r o f i t s back into loan repayments. It i s no longer easy to move into commercial farming and the gaps between the stepping stones seem to be widening. Fourteen hobby farmers, 20% of the sample, were planning to make changes in t h e i r type of production i n the near future. Experimentation was apparent as some farmers changed from r a i s i n g sheep to keeping pigs; others sold t h e i r goats and bought calves; some ploughed over t h e i r vegetable plot and planted nursery stock. At least some of the experimen-tation was attributable to lack of success, usually because of unforseen problems. The expectations were not always r e a l i s t i c and problems were not always anticipated. Some hobby farmers expressed surprise at the cost of feeding t h e i r c a t t l e , the expense of veterinary care or the d i f f i -culty of dealing with insect pests on t h e i r f r u i t trees. On one farm the death of a valuable brood mare stimulated a change to holstein h e i f e r r a i s i n g . On another the l e v e l 109 of care needed for livestock became tiresome so the pasture was converted to Christmas tree production. When marketing problems were encountered i t was sometimes easier to switch production type than wait out low prices and temporary setbacks. Low beef prices at the time of interviewing caused some to contemplate changing enterprise. While commercial farmers were t i e d to uneconomical enterprises and were b i t t e r about low farm returns, hobby farmers had low investments and f l e x i b i l i t y allowing them the freedom to change. Much of the experimentation was by choice and very much in keeping with the hobby orientation of the farm owners. Some admitted they became bored with one kind of enterprise so decided to try something new. Others wanted to have a l i t t l e of everything, either to achieve t h e i r goal of s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y or to recreate the mixed farm of t h e i r past experience. Some of the improvements and renovations under-taken were t i e d to changes in enterprise as mink sheds became chicken houses and horse stables became sheep barns. Two or three owners admitted t h e i r future plans would be whatever took t h e i r fancy. One hoped to raise horses "someday" while another had plans for constructing a hydroponic greenhouse with a c i r c u l a t i o n system t i e d to an adjoining aquaculture pond. The sample farmers were com-mitted to farming as a hobby and a l i f e s t y l e , but generally exhibited l i t t l e commitment to any p a r t i c u l a r type of enterprise. While economic returns were of l i t t l e impor-tance., the personal f u l f i l l m e n t of doing something i n t e r e s t -ing and challenging was of prime concern. 110 The exceptions were those few farmers interviewed who were attempting to develop a high quality breed of l i v e -stock for show or breeding purposes. Several farmers proudly displayed t h e i r championship ribbons and cups for t h e i r Black Angus c a t t l e , purebred shorthorns, Suffolk sheep and Welsh ponies. Two families that bred race horses were successfully producing occasional winners which brought them great s a t i s f a c t i o n and considerable monetary returns, as breeders receive a proportion of a l l future winnings for that p a r t i c u l a r horse. One family had financed the expansion of t h e i r farm and the construction of t h e i r new barn from the constant returns from a consistent winner. These farmers too were not so much interested i n economic returns as personal f u l f i l l m e n t but they were very involved in one p a r t i c u l a r enterprise and had considerable expertise in t h e i r f i e l d . Thirteen landowners had d e f i n i t e plans to s e l l i n the near future. Seven of these were elderly r e t i r e d people, including four widows who could no longer cope with farming. At least two of the remaining s i x were f i n a n c i a l l y unable to maintain t h e i r property. While four of the thirteen considered themselves to be "pushed" from t h e i r land by encroaching subdivisions with attendant nuisance factors, at least four others were s e l l i n g to p r o f i t from zoning changes. One farmer owned a 46 acre property on Cloverdale's c i t y l i m i t s which was recently downgraded to quarter acre zoning. His farm was subdividable into 120 lo t s worth two m i l l i o n d o l l a r s , a strong incentive to stop farming. Three I l l owners planned to subdivide t h e i r properties, s e l l one part and re t a i n the rest. Eighty percent of the hobby farm owners were optimis-t i c about the land market in Surrey. T h i r t y - s i x owners said they would have no problem at a l l s e l l i n g t h e i r prop-erty i f they wished to or were forced to. Nineteen others f e l t high interest rates at the time of interviewing might l i m i t buyers but t h e i r perceptions were s t i l l p o s i t i v e toward the land market. Many of those interviewed mentioned the frequent v i s i t s from r e a l estate salesmen hoping to l i s t the property for sale and the apparent ease with which other sales were'made in t h e i r neighbourhood. Some mentioned the size or quality of t h e i r homes or amenity features such as a nice view as good s e l l i n g points. Only one owner mentioned a farm quality, "cleared and fenced land" as a posi t i v e attribute although some said land, and p a r t i c u l a r l y farmland, was the "best investment possible." Only four owners f e l t s e l l i n g t h e i r present property would be d i f f i c u l t . The owner of a 37 acre property said the large size of his farm made i t too expensive for a hobby farm purchase but the land was too marginal to attract any other farm buyers. Another owner suspected, quite corr e c t l y no doubt, that his very expensive and very unusual home, a r e p l i c a of a sixteenth century Spanish farm-house complete with windmill, would have a somewhat limited appeal. 112 Owners were asked to speculate on possible buyers for the i r farms. Almost 70% suggested hobby farmers would be the most l i k e l y buyers and only f i v e owners saw a p o s s i b i l i t y of s e l l i n g to a fu l l - t i m e farmer. Three of these owners had large properties of 20, 30 and 36 acres. The hobby farm units are for the most part not large enough for viable farm operations unless they are used very intensively. The market i s limited for these because of zoning r e s t r i c t i o n s and high sta r t up costs including the purchase of market quotas. Neighbouring commercial farmers who may be searching for additional pasture or cropland cannot afford to buy land with an expensive home on i t and inclusion in the land reserve makes home l o t subdivision impossible. Land on hobby farms i s b a s i c a l l y unavailable to f u l l - t i m e farmers except as leaseland. Fourteen owners saw the l i k e l i h o o d of t h e i r farm being put to i n d u s t r i a l or r e s i d e n t i a l use i n the future. A l -though most, did not want to lose t h e i r a g r i c u l t u r a l land the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of t h i s happening was often i m p l i c i t in the responses. Eleven of these fourteen properties, t o t a l l i n g 137 acres, have been rezoned and can now be subdivided and put to other uses. Most have been changed to one acre r e s i d e n t i a l use but two farms have recently received indus-t r i a l zoning. The remaining three farms are presently a g r i c u l t u r a l l y zoned but they border areas recently downzoned. 113 Summary Surrey hobby farms are generally mixed enterprises producing several types of products for family use but probably marketing only one or two. Farm sales are minimal, often at a l e v e l designed to achieve tax r e l i e f and meet maintenance costs. Most marketing arrangements are private and informal but sa t i s f a c t o r y to the owners. Hobby farmers use the custom services of commercial farmers in the d i s -t r i c t when necessary but generally prefer to remain inde-pendent of outside help and advice. Most hobby farmers are content with t h e i r present s i t u a t i o n . They are aware of the investment value of t h e i r farm and the healthy land market but f e e l no pressure to s e l l at present. They are generally content to keep t h e i r farms small-scale and very few are w i l l i n g or able to make the move into part-time or f u l l - t i m e commercial production which increasingly needs considerable f i n a n c i a l resources and expertise, and a t o t a l time and energy commitment. Hobby farmers experiment with types and level s of production through a desire to successfully meet a variety of challenges. A growing number of nuisance factors and uncertainty about the future uses of the area may push some into leaving farm-ing eventually but at present most have no plans to s e l l and are finding t h e i r present l i f e s t y l e i nteresting, challeng-ing and f u l f i l l i n g . 114 NOTES 1. Punter, John, The Impact of Exurban Development on Land and Landscape In the Toronto Centred Region: 1954-1971, Central Mortgage and Housing, Ottawa, 1974, pp. 117-18. 2. Cof f i n , R. and Lipsey, M., "Moving Back to the Land: An E c o l o g i c a l l y Responsible L i f e s t y l e Change," Environ- ment and Behaviour, Volume 13, Number 1, January 1981, p. 54. 3. Layton, Ronald, Hobby Farming: A Characterization. A Case Study of the Rural-Urban Fringe of London, Ontario, Unpublished M.A. Thesis, University of Western Ontario, 1976, p. 51. 115 CHAPTER FIVE IMPACT, IMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS This f i n a l chapter considers the impact and some of the implications of hobby farming and p a r t i c u l a r l y attempts to specify the role of hobby farming as an in t e g r a l part of the a g r i c u l t u r a l system and as preserver of r u r a l landscape. Having previously i d e n t i f i e d the form the hobby farm i s l i k e l y to take, we now consider i t s f u n c t i o n — e s p e c i a l l y noting the po s i t i v e relationships between hobby farming and commercial farming. The amenity function of hobby farms i s also s i g n i f i c a n t . City dwellers need a spacious green zone beyond the suburban l i m i t s , a r i c h and varied country-side with a d i v e r s i t y of farm types and a c t i v i t i e s . THE ROLE OF HOBBY FARMING IN THE AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY As a farm enterprise, the hobby farm i s t y p i c a l l y quite d i f f e r e n t i n scale and form from the commercial farm. It has been described in t h i s study as small i n size , mixed in production and l i k e l y to have a low l e v e l of sales achieved through informal marketing arrangements. Total hobby farm production i s f a i r l y i n s i g nficant i n economic terms as both the volume of production and the value of sales are low. Hobby farms are not competing with commercial farms for markets and are l i k e l y to be t o t a l l y removed from 116 the sophisticated system of marketing i n which modern a g r i -business i s involved. However, hobby farm production does play an important role in furnishing a wide variety of products, alternatives for the consumer to the usual commercial p o s s i b i l i t i e s . Full-time farmers have no option but to produce the most highly valued and e a s i l y marketed types and breeds of animals and plants. They must use whatever modern a g r i c u l t u r a l technology offers to produce the highest y i e l d s and best quality to gain the highest prices. Experimentation i s risky when contracts must be met, quotas must be f i l l e d and mortgage and loan payments made. The hobby farmers, less constrained by the need to generate income, can exercise more choice and take more r i s k i n providing the unusual for a select group of buyers. Hobby farmers can choose to keep t h e i r blueberries unsprayed" and t h e i r f i e l d s free of chemical f e r t i l i z e r s . With a large urban market nearby, they know they can s e l l small amounts of unpasteurized honey, rabbits, goat's milk and duck eggs to those few who seek that p a r t i c u l a r product. Hobby farms add to the richness and d i v e r s i t y of Valley agriculture by providing the alternatives. Hobby farmers may also be o f f e r i n g amenity s p e c i a l t i e s , defined as recreational, diversionary or aesthetic services for enhancing the quality of l i f e . 1 Amenity agriculture, which i s well suited to the urban fringe hobby farm with i t s proximity to customers i n the c i t y , i s often an appropriate enterprise for the hobby 117 farmer with limited resources of time, labour and c a p i t a l . The Surrey hobby farms that provide Christmas trees, paddocks and stables for boarding horses and dog kennels may be considered examples of amenity a g r i c u l t u r a l enterprises. Throughout the Valley there are also "pick-your-own" berry and vegetable farms, trout farms with well-stocked ponds and a pheasant shooting preserve a l l of which provide enrich-ing experiences for an urban population increasingly mobile and in search of new diversions. Hobby farms, although small i n si z e and scale of pro-duction have at least the potential of being very e f f i c i e n t i n terms of labour and c a p i t a l inputs. A recent U.S. Depart-ment of Agriculture study revealed the greatest production value per acre on American farms was generated on the farms 2 owned and operated by a farm family with no hired help. Another study suggested there were no economies of scale achieved by increasing size beyond the one or two operator 3 farm. Surrey hobby farms are cer t a i n l y not a l l operating at optimum e f f i c i e n c y , but some rather small parcels of poor quality farmland are producing quite a surprising range and volume of products. Very l i t t l e land i s l e f t unused on the Surrey hobby farms and land i s undoubtedly being farmed that would not be viable cropland for a commercial enterprise. Since economic gain i s not the prime objective for hobby farmers, low y i e l d s from marginal land may be acceptable returns. Poor quality land i s kept i n low levels of production which 118 i s more e f f i c i e n t in a g r i c u l t u r a l terms than abandonment or conversion. There are outspoken c r i t i c s of modern agribusiness who see the s p e c i a l i z a t i o n and large-scale technological approach to farming in very negative terms. Ecological damage re s u l t i n g from the e f f e c t s of continuous cash crop-ping, s o i l compaction by heavy equipment, the waste products from feed l o t s and other intensive enterprises and the high l e v e l of chemical pesticides i n run-off have a l l been iden-4 t i f i e d as major ecological concerns. Berry i d e n t i f i e s economies of scale, which he interprets as the dispossession of thousands of farm families and the r i s e of an a g r i -business e l i t e , and s p e c i a l i z a t i o n , "the abandonment of the ancient, proven p r i n c i p l e of a g r i c u l t u r a l s t a b i l i t y through d i v e r s i t y , " as the "most degenerative, dangerous, costly and s o c i a l l y disruptive achievements of American a g r i c u l -5 ture." The mixed production, family run hobby farm may be growing in popularity as i t symbolizes an alternative, small-scale production which can be e f f i c i e n t and e c o l o g i c a l l y sound. Hobby farming i s not competing with commercial agriculture i n volume or sales but i t has i t s own special role to play in adding d i v e r s i t y to an a g r i c u l t u r a l industry that i s increasingly becoming r a t i o n a l i z e d and specialized. A g r i c u l t u r a l land held in hobby farms may be a t r a n s i -t i o n a l land use between a former commercial a g r i c u l t u r a l use and a future urban use. On the other hand, i t may be considered a permanent form of land use i n an area which 119 supports the philosophy of preserving a green zone of farm-land around a major c i t y and where there i s a desire and commitment on the part of many owners to have t h i s kind of l i f e s t y l e . Hobby farming would seem to be an ideal land use in a rural-urban d i s t r i c t with reserves of a g r i c u l t u r a l land more extensive i n s i z e than can be r e a l i s t i c a l l y j u s t i f i e d in present economic terms. If we are preserving farmland as possible future foodland, i s i t not better to preserve i t as hobby farm land i n production than to leave i t i d l e which i s the only other alternative use for a g r i c u l -t u r a l reserve land? RELATIONSHIPS WITH COMMERCIAL FARMING On t h i s basis of the findings of t h i s study, the r e l a -tionship between hobby farming and commercial farming must be considered more po s i t i v e than negative. Hobby farmers are not competing with commercial farmers for markets, they may be providing cash income for the commercial farmer o f f e r i n g custom farm services, and they are more l i k e l y to be outbidding each other rather than commercial farmers for land. Many commercial .farms i n the Valley are intensive i n nature and require c a p i t a l inputs rather than land, and in fact they may have land in t h e i r holding in excess of t h e i r needs. The Valley agriculture that does require large acreages to be viable includes dairying and vegetable and berry production. Most berry farms are located i n an upland area of well-drained gravelly s o i l s near Abbotsford, at a 120 distance somewhat beyond the commuting zone where the demand for hobby farm land i s high. Dairy and vegetable farmers, those most l i k e l y to need land for expansion, are often limited by t h e i r marketing board quotas to certain produc-tion l e v e l s . In any case, at a time when many farmers are caught in a cost-price squeeze, the major investment of a land purchase might well be postponed, especially i f lease land i s available as an alternative. Hobby farmers play a p o s i t i v e role in the land market by purchasing farmland within the a g r i c u l t u r a l land reserves which has not survived the t r a n s i t i o n into r a t i o n a l i z e d agriculture on the basis of i t s size or quality. One r e a l estate agent in the Valley who deals exclusively i n farm properties said there had been almost no demand for commer-c i a l farm properties for f i v e years as marketing board quotas were no longer r e a d i l y available and successful commercial farms were usually passed along to family members. In his experience marginal enterprises and small holdings 6 were almost always bought as hobby farms. Hobby farmers are the obvious buyers for these properties and the demand for them i s high so prices are also high. E a r l i e r fears of f a l l i n g land values within the land reserves have not been r e a l i z e d because of t h i s continuing high demand. Another p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p between commercial and hobby farming i s the p o s s i b i l i t y of hobby farmers leasing land to commercial farmers. Thirty-eight of the properties in the sample group were too small to have any extra land 121 but the remaining owners were questioned about leasing arrange-ments and p o s s i b i l i t i e s . Seven of t h i s group of t h i r t y were currently leasing out up to 80% of t h e i r land for pasture and crops of hay, corn and potatoes. Another seven farmers would consider leasing out part of t h e i r land i f they cut back on t h e i r own production and they could f i n d careful tenants with good conditions of lease. Eleven owners would not consider leasing because they anticipated problems such as over-use and constant fencing repairs or simply because "the rent i s never commensurate with the land value or problems." Four hobby farmers also lease i n land from other hobby farmers: f i v e acres for horse pasture, six acres for sheep pasture, ten acres for hay and a variable amount of summer pasture for a dozen head of beef c a t t l e . Because of the small size and intensive use of most hobby farmland leasing i s not a viable option. However, almost half those with larger sized holdings are at least interested i n the p o s s i b i l i t y i f they are not actually leasing at present. There i s also some land i n Surrey leased out by absentee owners. This land i s obviously valuable to commercial farmers who wish to expand t h e i r enterprise but cannot afford the very high prices of farm-land. One problem i s matching the limited supply of leasable land to the limited demand, but the most serious drawback to leasing arrangements i s the reluctance of some owners to sign long term leases because of the uncertainty of future development p o s s i b i l i t i e s for the land. This i s p a r t i c u l a r l y 122 true of properties owned by non-residents. One commercial farmer interviewed attempted to lease i n 100 acres of pasture each year but claimed he could seldom get more than a one year lease so there was no incentive for him to improve the pasture he rented. Having to search out leasable land each year i s time consuming and makes long term planning very d i f f i c u l t . However, with farmland priced at $10,000 an acre many farmers have l i t t l e choice but to lease in needed land. The lease payment can be used by hobby farmers as income for farm property tax exemptions so t h i s can be a f a i r l y s a t i s f a c t o r y mutual arrangement. It would be a much improved s i t u a t i o n i f there were more certainty that a g r i c u l t u r a l zoning was permanent and rezoning was not a future p o s s i b i l i t y despite pressures from developers on the Surrey municipal p o l i t i c i a n s , the Land Commissioners and the p r o v i n c i a l cabinet. Long term leases could then be arranged and a higher l e v e l of care could be expected from those leasing in land. There i s at least a good pote n t i a l for b e n e f i c i a l leasing arrangements between commercial farmers and hobby farmers. In general, hobby farming seems to have an important role to play as part of the a g r i c u l t u r a l system. It f i t s quite comfortably in the rural-urban fringe s e t t i n g and the relationships between commercial farming and hobby farming are generally p o s i t i v e . Jake Brown, the Dean of Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan, suggests the trend to r u r a l resettlement by hobby farmers "may be part of the 123 solution to r u r a l depopulation, back-to-the-landers have a tremendous impact on the r u r a l economy. They have time for animals . . . they make good use of the land and some are 7 excellent farmers." And not only do they play an impor-tant role in preserving agriculture, but they also pre-serve a r u r a l way of l i f e . THE ROLE OF HOBBY FARMING IN PRESERVING THE COUNTRYSIDE Hobby farms have a role to play i n preserving a heritage and providng a r i c h countryside landscape for urban dwellers who seek and need open green space. A recent report to the Greater Vancouver Regional D i s t r i c t suggests the existence of the a g r i c u l t u r a l lands in prox-imity to urban areas i n B.C. has enhanced the l i v e s even of g those urban residents who choose to remain i n the c i t y . The amenity role of green countryside i s well expressed by Higbee i n writing about the highly urbanized region of northeastern United States: "To most people i n Megalopolis, the country i s not just farmland. It i s open space where a man can stretch and f e e l free. The more urban congestion increases, the greater becomes the urge in some people to 9 get away to the country . . . ." The role of hobby farming i n providing a r i c h and varied r u r a l landscape i s clear. Jackson suggests the engineered environment of agribusiness has "coarseness of d e t a i l ; the lack of men, of animals, of small woodlots, of i s o l a t e d barns and sheds" . . . [a] factory in the f i e l d " has l i t t l e 124 to o f f e r the c i t y dweller. The small mixed farm, on the other hand, has variety and colour. On hobby farms animals wander free l y rather than being hidden from view i n metal sheds and vegetable gardens, duck ponds, f r u i t trees, ponies and chickens are a l l v i s i b l e in a single farmyard. The sights, sounds and smells of farmscape are there for passers-by to experience. Hobby farms add a f i n e r texture to the countryside landscape; they o f f e r the alternative, the small-scale, the unusual, the d i v e r s i t y . They enhance the image of r u r a l countryside. Vidich and Bensman ty p i f y farmers as either r a t i o n a l or t r a d i t i o n a l . 1 1 The r a t i o n a l are those who have adopted and developed the s c i e n t i f i c , technological and commercial aspects of farming while the t r a d i t i o n a l farmer, c l i n g i n g to older ways, tends to r e s i s t change and refuses to adopt innovations. They suggest hobby farmers f i t well within the t r a d i t i o n a l group, refusing to t i e into the outside economic forces that would force them to increase t h e i r scale of production, s p e c i a l i z e and become more e f f i c i e n t . Yet they "glory in a l l the ceremonial and r i t u a l complexity of farming" and are " i n a peculiar sense, the custodians of 12 h i s t o r i c agrarianism." They espouse the Jeffersonian ideals of freedom and independence and the natural virtues associated with an a g r i c u l t u r a l way of l i f e . Surrey hobby farmers r e f l e c t t h i s t r a d i t i o n on t h e i r farms as they r e p l i c a t e the small mixed farm of an e a r l i e r time when the farm family owned a cow or two and some 125 chickens, grew a few vegetables and shared i n the work and 13 rewards of the farm. Who i s more l i k e l y today than the hobby farmers to have a red wooden barn surrounded by flowers and topped with a rooster wind vane? Who but the hobby farmer has the names of his seven goats painted above thei r i n d i v i d u a l s t a l l s ? Who but the hobby farmer spends hours carving designs i n the oak beam above the door to his newly constructed root c e l l a r ? Hobby farming can be seen as nostalgic, old-fashioned and even i r r a t i o n a l , but i t also represents a t r a d i t i o n a l way of l i f e that i s probably worthy of preservation. Michie suggests, "Among the public there i s a new perception of a unique h i s t o r i c countryside 14 which i s to be valued and preserved." At a time when we value our past and search for our roots, when we v i s i t farm museums to see threshers and take our children to "petting farms" so they can touch a goat or a pig, the hobby farm i s a l i v i n g and functioning h i s t o r i c a l c u l t u r a l form. It i s a human scale landscape, r i c h i n imagery, with d e f i n i t e amenity value to an urban population. "Farmlands should form an i n t e g r a l part of the environment of urban man, because they are islands of t r a n q u i l l i t y that allow the urban dweller to be connected to two worlds: the bustling world of concrete and p l a s t i c , and the tranquil and green world 15 of farming." Who better preserves the tranquil and green world of farming than the hobby farmer? 126 NOTES 1. Cotton Mather in Preface, Amenity Agriculture, Irving, R., Tantalus Research, Geographical Series No. 11, 1966. 2. U.S. Department of Agriculture Studies: "The One-Man Farm" (Warren) U.S.D.A./E.R.S. 519 August 1973. "Farm Income S t a t i s t i c s " U.S.D.A./E.R.S. 547 Table 3D, July 1975. Quoted i n Lappe, F.M. and C o l l i n s , J., Food First-Beyond the Myth of Scarcity, Houghton, M i f f l i n , Boston, 1977, p. 241. 3. Ibid. 4. P a r t i c u l a r l y well a r t i c u l a t e d in Milk, R., "The New Agriculture i n United States: A Dissenter's View," Land Economics, Volume 48, Number 3, August 1972, and in Romahn, J., "Mining the S o i l , " Harrowsmith, Number 23, Volume 3, October 1979. 5. Berry, Wendell, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture, S i e r r a Club Books, San Francisco, 1977, p. 36. 6. Konrad Loehndorf, Block Brothers Realty, personal interview. 7. Quoted in Brunton, D., "The Land of the Dispossessed," Harrowsmith, Number 23, Volume 3, October 1979, p. 26. 8. Davis, H.C. and Rees, W., Agriculture and Uncertainty: Keeping the Options Open, Greater Vancouver Regional D i s t r i c t Report, 1977, p. 9. 9. Higbee in Megalopolis, Gottman, J., Plimpton Press, Massachusetts, 1961, pp. 318-19. 10. Jackson, J.B., "The New American Countryside: An Engineered Environment," Landscape, Volume 16, Number 1, Autumn 1966, p. 18. 11. Vidich, A. and Bensman, J., Small Town in Mass Society: Class, Power and Religion i n a Rural Community, Princeton University Press, 1958. Quoted i n Rohrer, W. and Douglas, L., The Agrarian Transition i n America: Dualism and Change, Bobbs-Merrill, New York, 1969. 12. Ibid., pp. 80-81. 127 13. However, the r e p l i c a t i o n i s one of form only. The pioneer family depended on t h e i r farm for t h e i r food supply and surpluses were marketed to buy basic necessities. The hobby farmer i s not r e l y i n g on his farm for his economic well-being. 14. Michie, G., "Perceptional Change in Attitudes Toward Rural Land Use i n Southern Ontario," International Geography, 1972, p. 739. 15. de Vries, Jan, "The Role of A g r i c u l t u r a l Land Use in an Urban Society," Paper given at Land Use i n the Fraser Valley—Whose Concern? Conference, Centre for Continuing Education, 1972, p. 2. 128 CHAPTER SIX SUMMARY Hobby farming i s a curious mix of the r u r a l and the urban. Most Surrey hobby farmers spent a considerable portion of t h e i r l i v e s i n an urban setting before moving to the countryside.and some s t i l l have urban based employment. Although they now consider themselves r u r a l and express a strong d i s l i k e of the c i t y , t h e i r properties are located within a short drive of a major c i t y . They have not f l e d the c i t y f or the northern f r o n t i e r or the wilderness but have chosen a countryside se t t i n g that provides most urban amenities including business services, recreational f a c i l i -t i e s and shopping centres. And, unlike many commercial farmers, they perceive the rural-urban fringe as a s a t i s -factory and comfortable l i v i n g environment. Hobby farmers choose the most t r a d i t i o n a l r u r a l l i f e -s t y l e and pastime—farming, yet few have economic goals and the deliberately choose to remain outside the commercial agriculture network. They seek instead to create t h e i r own private, peaceful retreats where they can raise t h e i r crops and animals without outside help or interference. They market at level s required to meet property tax exemptions and to provide funds for maintenance and improvements on the i r farm and prefer to market informally to friends and customers who drive by t h e i r farm gate. 129 The selection of a p a r t i c u l a r property again r e f l e c t s an urban orientation as i t i s most commonly made on the basis of a p a r t i c u l a r house s t y l e , a view, a wooded area or a creek, rather than for desirable farm features such as good s o i l or drainage. Hobby farmers are, however, good stewards of t h e i r land and are serious in t h e i r intentions to keep t h e i r land i n production. They do not waste land by leaving i t i d l e and are l i k e l y to make good use of a l l t h e i r land, even the most marginal sections. Farm improvements are done on a casual basis as time and interest dictate, so progress i s slow, but most see the development of th e i r property as a gradual and ongoing project. Hobby farmers exhibit a strong commitment toward the preservation of farmland and the a g r i c u l t u r a l industry. The majority are sympathetic toward the problems of the commercial farmers and support p o l i c i e s such as crop insur-ance and low interest farm loans designed to keep commercial farms viable. Most also favour the continuation of the a g r i c u l t u r a l land reserve system. Hobby farms co-exist comfortably with commercial agriculture and may well create opportunities for wage labour and b e n e f i c i a l leasing arrangements for fu l l - t i m e farmers. Hobby farmers show high le v e l s of contentment with the r u r a l l i f e s t y l e . They enjoy the opportunities for experi-mentation and s e l f - f u l f i l l m e n t that l i v i n g on a hobby farm provides. Hobby farming holds a powerful appeal to many who perceive t h i s way of l i f e as s a t i s f y i n g , nurturing, peaceful and secure. 130 Hobby farming i s undoubtedly a v a l i d land use and a valuable part of the a g r i c u l t u r a l system. Hobby farms often supply the alternative and unusual products and pro-vide the amenity services that are most desired by urban dwellers. At a time when commercial agriculture i s becoming less a t t r a c t i v e a e s t h e t i c a l l y , hobby farms add a f i n e r v i s u a l texture to the r u r a l landscape, retaining a form of agriculture that has existed in the Valley for a hundred years but i s no longer economically viable. Only the hobby farmers with his other sources of income can afford to preserve the small-scale, mixed farm so common i n the past. Punter suggests "the landsape i s a l i v i n g record of what exurbanites desire most from l i v i n g in the countryside . . . and not only does i t provide insights into t h e i r l i f e s t y l e but into t h e i r aspirations and motivations as well . . . the landscape i s the legacy which i s passed to to the next generation." 1 The hobby farmer provides us with a much needed backward glimpse at a time when we tend only to look ahead. Hobby farming plays a valuable role i n preserving farm-land that may be needed for future food production and in preserving the r u r a l infrastructure of farm goods and s e r v i c e s — t h e feed stores and tack shops, the machinery and equipment suppliers, the veterinary c l i n i c s . The popularity of hobby farming ensures a healthy land market in an area with s t r i c t a g r i c u l t u r a l zoning yet pockets of land that must be considered unproductive in purely economic terms. 131 Hobby farming may be a permanent form of a g r i c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t y and l i f e s t y l e in the rural-urban fringe. It may be a t r a n s i t i o n a l land use in an area that i s gradually urbanizing or i t may be a temporary use of land that w i l l be more intensively farmed for future food needs. However, i t i s currently a v a l i d and valuable a c t i v i t y that holds a strong appeal to many who w i l l no doubt f i g h t to ensure i t s su r v i v a l i n a countryside they perceive as an essent i a l , nurturing environment in a world that i s rapidly changing. 132 NOTES 1. 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A Preliminary Paper on Canadian A g r i c u l t u r a l Land-Use Policy. Reference Paper No. 3, Food Prices Review Board, Ottawa, 1976. Greater Vancouver Regional D i s t r i c t . The Livable Region. 1975. Hardwick, Walter. Vancouver. Collier-Macmillan, Canada, 1974. Irving, Robert. Amenity Agriculture. Tantalus Research, B.C. Geographical Series No. 11, Vancouver, 1966. Lappe, F.M. and C o l l i n s , J. Food F i r s t - Beyond the Myth of Scarcity. Houghton, M i f f l i n , Boston, 1977. Layton, Ronald. Hobby Farming: A Characterization. A Case Study of the Rural-Urban Fringe of London, Ontario. Unpublished M.A. Thesis, University of Western Ontario, 1976. Manning, Edward. A g r i c u l t u r a l Land and Urban Centres. Lands Directorate, Environment Canada, 1977. Manning, Edward and Eddy, Sandra. The A g r i c u l t u r a l Land Reserves of B r i t i s h Columbia: An Impact Analysis. Lands Directorate, Environment Canada, 1978. 135 Manning, Edward and McCuaig, J.D. Changing Value of Canada's Farmland: 1961-1975. Land Use i n Canada Series No. 17, Environment Canada, 1979. Martin, Larry. Land Use Dynamics on the Toronto Urban Fringe. Environment Canada, 1975. McCuaig, J.D. and Vincent, H.J. Assessment Procedures in Canada and Their Use i n A g r i c u l t u r a l Land Preservation. Working Paper No. 7, Lands Directorate, July, 1980. McRae, James. The Influence of Exurbanite Settlement of Rural Areas: A Review of the Canadian Literature. Working Paper No. 3, Lands Directorate, Environment Canada, 1980. Ministry of Agriculture. Annual Reports, 1979, 1980. Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Agriculture P r o f i l e , Cloverdale D i s t r i c t . December, 1980. Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Agriculture Region Report. South Coastal. 1980 Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Taxation and the B.C. Farmer. Report by Wm. Barclay, 1979. Mumford, Lewis. City in History. Chapter 16: "Suburbia and Beyond." Harcourt-Brace, New York, 1961. Neimanis, V. and McKechnie, R. Urban Growth, Infrastructure and Land Capability: A Windsor Example. Land Use in Canada Series No. 19, Environment Canada, 1980. Pahl, R.E. Urbs i n Rure. London School of Economics and P o l i t i c a l Science, Geographical Paper No. 2, 1965. Paton, Smith and Gram Ltd. V i a b i l i t y of Farming Study. Report to the Greater Vancouver Regional D i s t r i c t , 1973. Plaut, Thomas. The Ef f e c t s of Urbanization on the Loss of Farmland at the Rural-Urban Fringe: A National and Regional Perspective. Regional Science Research Institute, Philadelphia, December, 1976. Punter, John. The Impact of Exurban Development on Land and Landscape i n the Toronto Centred Region: 1954-1971. Central Mortgage and Housing, Ottawa, 1974. 136 Raup, P h i l i p . "Societal Goals in Farm Size." In B a l l , A.G. and Heady, E.O., Size, Structure and Future of Farms. Ames, Iowa, 1972. Rawson, Mary. I l l Fares the Land. Ministry of State for Urban A f f a i r s , Ottawa, 1976. Rodd, R. Stephen. "The C r i s i s of A g r i c u l t u r a l Land in the Ontario Countryside. In Irving, Robert, Readings in Canadian Geography. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Toronto, 1978. Rohrer, Wayne and Douglas, Louis. The Agrarian Transition in America: Dualism and Change. Bobbs-Merrill, New York, 1969. Russwurm, Lome. The Surroundings of Our C i t i e s . Problems and Planning Implications of Urban Fringe Landscapes. Sale, Kirkpatrick. Human Scale. Coward, McCann and Geo-hegan, New York, 1980. Siemens, A.H. Lower Fraser Valley: Evolution of a Cul- t u r a l Landscape. B.C. Geographical Series, Number 9, Tantalus Research, Vancouver, 1968. Smith, Barry. The B.C. Land Commission Act 1973. Unpub-lishe d M.A. Thesis, University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1975. Spectorsky, A.C. The Exurbanites. Lippincott, P h i l a d e l -phia, 1955. Stupich, Kathleen. A Study of the Impact of the Land Com- mission on A g r i c u l t u r a l Land Prices i n B r i t i s h Colum- bia. Unpublished B.Sc. i n A g r i c u l t u r a l Economics Thesis, University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1977. Swinnerton, Guy. Small Farm Function: A Study of Small Farms Matsqui. Unpublished M.A. Thesis, University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1969. Toner, William. Saving Farms and Farmlands: A Community Guide. Planning Advisory Service Report Number 333, Washington, 1978. Treleaven, Fern. The Surrey Story. Surrey Museum and H i s t o r i c a l Society, Cloverdale, B.C., 1978. 137 Troughton, M.J. Landholding i n the Rural-Urban Fringe Environment: The Case of London, Ontario. Socio-Economic Analysis D i v i s i o n , Lands Directorate, Envir-onment Canada, Ottawa, 1976 (Occasional Paper No. 11). van Vuuren, W. Problems of Change i n Rural Land-Use i n Southern Ontario. University of Guelph, Centre for Resources Development, Publication No. 58, 1972. Ward, E. Ne v i l l e . Land Use Programs in Canada: B r i t i s h Columbia. Lands Directorate, Environment Canada, 1976. Warren, C.L. and Rump, P.C. The Urbanization of Rural Land in Canada 1966-71, 1971-76. Land Use i n Canada Series No. 20, Lands Directorate, Environment Canada, Ottawa, 1981. Wiltshire, Richard. Analysis of Recent Rural Land Trans- actions Within the Toronto-Centred Region Involving Buyers from Metropolitan Toronto. Department of Geography, York University Discussion Paper Series, 1973. Zube, Ervin H. Landscapes—Selected Writings of J.B. Jackson. University of Massachusetts Press, Massachu-setts, 1970. JOURNAL ARTICLES, CONFERENCE PAPERS, NEWSPAPER ARTICLES Arcus, Peter. "New Directions i n Land Use Control in B r i t i s h Columbia," Canadian Journal of A g r i c u l t u r a l Economics, Volume 21, February 1974. Berry, David. "Effects of Urbanization on A g r i c u l t u r a l A c t i v i t i e s , " Growth and Change, Volume 9, Number 3, July 1978. Brunton, Douglas, "The Land of the Dispossessed," Harrow- smith , Number 23, Volume 3, October 1979. Buttel, F. and Fl i n n , W. "Conceptions of Rural L i f e and Environmental Concern," Rural Sociology, Volume 42, Number 4, Winter 1977. Buttel, F. and F l i n n , W. " S o c i o p o l i t i c a l Consequences of Agrarianism," Rural Sociology, Volume 41, Number 4, Winter, 1976. Buttel, F. and F l i n n , W. "Sources and Consequences of Agrarian Values i n American Society," Rural Sociology, Volume 40, Number 2, Summer 1975. 138 Campbell, R. and Johnson, D. "Propositions on Counterstream Migration," Rural Sociology, Volume 41, Number 1, Spring 1976. Co f f i n , Raymond and Lipsey, Mark. "Moving Back to the Land: An E c o l o g i c a l l y Responsible L i f e s t y l e Change," Environment and Behaviour, Volume 13, Number 1, January 1981. Crown, Robert. "Alternative Strategies for Urban Develop-ment and Their Implications for Agriculture," Pro- ceedings , Canadian A g r i c u l t u r a l Economics Society, 1975. DeJong, G. and Humphrey, C. "Population Redistribution," Rural Sociology, Volume 41, Number 4, Winter 1976. de Vries, Jan. "The Role of A g r i c u l t u r a l Land Use i n an Urban Society," Paper given at Land Use in the Fraser Valley—Whose Concern? Conference, Centre for Con-tinuing Education, Delta, 1972. Dorling, M. and Barichello, R. "Trends in Rural and Urban Land Uses in Canada," Proceedings, Canadian A g r i c u l t u r a l Economics Society, 1975. Hart, John Fraser. "Loss and Abandonment of Cleared Farm-land in the Eastern United States," Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Volume 58, Number 3, September 1968. Hart, John Fraser. "Urban Encroachment on Rural Areas," Geographical Review, Volume 66, Number 1, January 1976. Herbers, John. "Urban Centers' Population D r i f t Creating a Countryside Harvest," New York Times, March 23, 1980. Jackson, J.B. "The New American Countryside: An Engineered Environment," Landscape, Volume 16, Number 1, Autumn 1966. Lewis, Jay. "Counting on C a l i f o r n i a — S e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y on the Brink in B.C." Harrowsmith, Number 23, Volume 3, October 1979. Libby, L.W. "Land Use Policy: Implications for Commercial Agriculture," American'Journal of A g r i c u l t u r a l Economics, Volume 56, Number 5, December 1974. Maclean's, "The Vanishing Land, Volume 93, Number 19, May 12, 1980. 139 Martin, Larry. "Land Dealer Behaviour of the Toronto Urban Fringe," Ontario Geography, 10, 1976. Martin, Larry and Matthews, David. "Recent Land Market A c t i v i t y on the Toronto Rural-Urban Fringe," Urban Forum, June/July 1977, Volume 3, Number 2. Mather, Eugene Cotton. "One Hundred Houses West," Canadian Geographer, Volume 7, Number 1, 1963. Meyer, Peter, "Land Rush: A Survey of America's Land," Harper's January 1979. Michie, George. "Perceptional Change i n Attitudes Toward Rural Land Use in Southern Ontario," International Geography, 1972. Michie, George and Found, W.C. "Rural Estates i n the Toronto Region," Ontario Geography, 10, 1976. Milk, Richard. "The New Agriculture in the United States: A Dissenter's View," Land Economics, Volume 48, Number 3, August 1972. Moncrieff, Patrick and P h i l l i p s , William. "Rural-Urban Interface Acreage Developments: Some Observations and Public Policy Implications," Canadian Journal of Agr i - c u l t u r a l Economics, Volume 20, Number 1, February 1972. Pearson, Norman. "Fraser Valley—Rape It or Preserve I t , " Paper given at Land Use in the Fraser Valley—-Whose Concern? Conference, Centre for Continuing Education, Delta, 1972. Pierce, J.T. "The Land Conversion Process Within B.C.'s Ag r i c u l t u r a l Land Reserves: An Evaluation of the B.C. Land Commission," Conference Paper, The Canadian Association of Geographers Conference, Montreal, May 1980. Raup, P h i l i p . "Urban Threats to Rural Lands: Background and Beginnings," Journal of the American Inst i t u t e of Planners, Volume 41, Number 6, November 1975. Rodd, Stephen. "The Use and Abuse of Rural Land," Urban Forum, Volume 2, Number 3, F a l l 1976. Rodd, Stephen and van Vuuren, W. "A New Methodology in Countryside Planning," Workshop Proceedings, Canadian A g r i c u l t u r a l Economics Society, 1975. 140 Romahn, James. "Mining the S o i l , " Harrowsmith, Number 23, Volume 3, October 1979. Russwurm, Lome. "Country Residential Development and the Regional City Form in Canada," Ontario Geography, 10, 1976. S i n c l a i r , Robert. "Von Thunen and Urban Sprawl," Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Volume 57, 1967. Storm, John. "Pelham South: Farmland Versus Development," City Magazine, February 1978, Volume 3, Number 3. Trant, Michael. "Part-Time Farmers—Who Are They?", Agrologist, Volume 9, Number 3, Summer 1980. Troughton, Michael. "Agriculture and the Countryside," Conference Proceedings, The Countryside i n Ontario, 1974. Ubyssey, "The Fading Dram of Farming i n B.C.," Thursday A p r i l 2, 1981, p. 11. Urban Reader, "B.C.'s Green Acres," Volume 7, Number 5/6, 1979. Vancouver Sun: "Hands Off Farmland!" October 27, 1979, p. 5. "The Farmer: Squeezed Two Ways," November 28, 1979, p. 5. "B i t t e r Harvest Faces Farmers," A p r i l 28, 1980, p. A l . " I n f l a t i o n Plowing Farmers Under," A p r i l 28, 1980, p. A14. "Rising Costs Push Farmers to the Limit," October 3, 1981, p. HI. "Socreds Weary of Land Reserve Flak," June 12, 1982, p. A10. "Canadian Agriculture at the Crossroads," June 14, 1982, p. A5. Vogel, R. and Hahn, A.J. "On the Preservation of A g r i c u l -t u r a l Land," Land Economics, Volume 48, Number 2, May 1972. Walker, Gerald. "Social Perspectives on the Countryside: Reflections on the T e r r i t o r i a l Form North of Toronto," Ontario Geography, 10, 1976. 141 APPENDIX I SAMPLING PROCEDURE 1. The 1981 Property Tax Assessment R o l l for Surrey was used to l i s t a l l properties that had received a farm tax exemption i n 1981. This exemption i s allowable i n B.C. for properties of 4 or more hectares with an annual farm income of at least $1600 on the f i r s t four hectares and an amount equal to 5% of the actual value of the land for farm purposes that exceeds four hectares. 2. The r e s u l t i n g l i s t of 1223 properties was alphabetized by owner to i d e n t i f y multiple parcel ownership. There were 836 owners. 3. Seventy corporate owners of 147 properties were removed from the l i s t . These included both farm corporations such as Mud Bay Nurseries and Vanson Poultry Ltd. and development and holding companies such as Pan American Holdings Ltd. and G i l l Developments. Ninety-seven non-resident owners of 130 properties were also removed from the l i s t . Most of t h i s land was being leased out. 4. The f i n a l l i s t from which the sample was drawn included 669 owners of 957 properties. Multiple parcels were owned by 138 owners and the remaining 531 owners held a single property. 5. The sample was drawn using a random numbers table from Arkin and Colton, Tables for S t a t i s t i c i a n s . A t o t a l of 256 names were drawn in three draws. 6. The Fraser Valley Area Directory was then used to eliminate those i n the 256 who l i s t e d t h e i r occupation as farmer on the assumption these owners would be f u l l - t i m e farmers and therefore would not f i t into the study d e f i n i t i o n of hobby farmer. 7. As a r e s u l t of t h i s procedure, 81 owners, 32% of the sample, were removed. A further 36 owners could not be traced because they had sold t h e i r property within the previous year. This yielded a f i n a l sample of 139 resident owners. 8. The 139 owners were contacted by l e t t e r to describe the nature of the research and to request an interview. Each owner then received a follow-up phone c a l l to arrange a s p e c i f i c interview time. 142 9. Ninety-one owners agreed to be interviewed. Twelve owners refused, nine had moved and the remainder were not interviewed for a variety of reasons including language problems with non-English speaking owners and the u n s u i t a b i l i t y of several owners who were no longer farming but were leasing out a l l t h e i r land. 10. Eighty-two owners were interviewed. The remaining nine were not in at the pre-arranged times and were reluctant to make other arrangements although f i v e l a t e r f i l l e d i n and mailed back questionnaires l e f t i n t h e i r mailboxes. In general t h i s sampling procedure was reasonably s a t i s -factory. The i n i t i a l l i s t i n g of a l l farm properties from the tax r o l l was a tedious procedure but resulted i n a complete population from which to draw the sample. The time lapse of several months between the compilation of the tax r o l l and the f i n a l interview time resulted i n numerous moves and changes which were f r u s t r a t i n g but inevitable. The choice of random sampling was highly s a t i s f a c t o r y because i t resulted i n a much more unbiased and representative cross-section than any other type of sampling would have provided. 143 APPENDIX II QUESTIONNAIRE How large i s your farm property? How long have you owned i t ? Who owned i t before you? ( f u l l - t i m e farmer, part-time / hobby farmer, non-farmer, don't know) Is any of your land leased out? For what purpose? Where did you l i v e before coming to thi s property? Do you have a farm background? Does your spouse? About what amount or percentage of your property i s used for: house and farm buildings? crops? pasture? Woodland? Vacant or unused land? Is your unused land suitable for use or i s i t swampy, etc. ? Which of the following features do you have on your property? good quality s o i l good drainage good pasture wooded area stream, pond a pleasant view i r r i g a t i o n system _. What p a r t i c u l a r features attracted you to purchase thi s property? What i s produced on your property? (types and amounts) crops (including vegetable garden) livestock Which of these are marketed and which are for your own use? Are the t o t a l annual sales from your farm: under $2500? $2500-$5000 $5000-$lQ,000 over $10,000 What changes have you made to your property since purchasing i t ? (new buildings, renovations, land-scaping, fencing, drainage, etc.) What changes do you plan to make to the property in the future? 144 16. Within the next f i v e years do you plan to: increase the siz e of your holding? move into farming full-time? s e l l your property? change or increase your production? 17. Who works on your farm property? s e l f spouse other family members (hours per week) hired labour regular? seasonal? occasional? 18. Are you employed off the farm? Retired? Full-time? Part-time? 19. Is your spouse employed off the farm? 20. What type of employment do you and your spouse have? professional managerial sales c l e r i c a l _ service transport processing/machine operator other 21. How important are your farm sales in r e l a t i o n to your t o t a l family income: provides less than 25% provides between 25 and 50% provides more than 50% _____ 22. What do you l i k e about l i v i n g on a farm property in th i s area? 23. Are there any problems with having a farm in t h i s area? 24. Is your land i n the A g r i c u l t u r a l Land Reserve? 25. Do you f e e l i t should be? Why or why not? 26. Do you f e e l a g r i c u l t u r a l land should be preserved as i t i s in B.C.? Why or why not? 27. Do you f e e l you would have a problem s e l l i n g your property i f you wished to or were forced to? Why? 28. Who would l i k e l y buy your property? ( f u l l - t i m e farmer, part-time farmer, hobby farmer, non-farmer) 29. . Would you agree to lease part of a l l of your land i f requested? Why or why not? 145 Do you make use (.or have you made use) of the following custom farm services: clearing, plowing, harvesting veterinary services governmental a g r i c u l t u r a l services Have you taken courses related to farming at l o c a l schools or colleges? If not, where/how were farm techniques learned? How many times a month do you travel to Vancouver? For what purpose? (business, v i s i t i n g , shopping, pleasure) Are there any government p o l i c i e s that you would l i k e to see changed or put i n place to help commercial farmers or part-time/hobby farmers?
UBC Theses and Dissertations
Hobby farming in the Lower Fraser Valley Hayward, Patricia Margaret 1983
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