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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Agricultural planning in the GVRD : identification of sustainable agriculture principles in local community plans Anderson, Elaine Susan


Planners play an important role in shaping communities. Unfortunately, community plans often focus on urban development, overlooking the importance of agricultural sustainability to the community. Little research has been done to link sustainable agriculture principles to community planning, leaving planners with few tools to create sustainable agriculture plans. The purpose of this thesis is to determine whether the agricultural plans of Surrey, Pitt Meadows, and Langley (all communities within the Greater Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia) reflect academic principles of sustainable agriculture, and whether the academic literature addresses the sustainable agriculture planning issues discussed in these plans. This research is important because sustainable agriculture is less likely to succeed at the community level if principles of sustainable agriculture are not clearly articulated and addressed in local agricultural plans. It is also important to understand whether there are gaps between sustainable agriculture theory and implementation of sustainable agriculture principles at the community planning level. A literature review was conducted to find research related to sustainable agriculture and planning. While there is extensive research on both sustainable agriculture and planning, there is very little research linking sustainable agriculture to community planning. The literature was scanned for a model that could be used to evaluate the community plans, but no appropriate model was found. Consequently, characteristics of sustainable agriculture were extracted from the literature in order to develop criteria to evaluate the plans. An evaluation framework and matrix were then developed from these criteria. The plans were examined to determine whether they made reference to sustainable agriculture principles. The evaluation found that all the plans lack some sustainable agriculture principles, and they tend to be reactive, rather than proactive, focusing on short-term issues rather than long-term goals. The evaluation matrix developed for this research was an effective tool in evaluating the plans. It revealed that there is a gap between the principles of sustainable agriculture and the practice of community planning. More effort is needed to link sustainable agriculture to community planning. The Greater Vancouver Regional District could play an important role in coordinating sustainable agriculture planning in the region.

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