UBC Undergraduate Research

Young farmers in the Lower Mainland Gichungwa, Hazel


Currently less than 5% of the farmers in the Lower Mainland are below the age of 35. With an increasingly aging population, questions are being raised on the consequences concerning the impacts of so few young farmers in the agriculture sector. The research question for this paper is: what are the barriers and opportunities facing young barriers in the Lower Mainland? In this paper, the term “young farmer” will be coined to farmers under the age of 35. The paper is based on a literature review and expert and farmer interviews. It concludes the barriers facing young farmers to be: land accessibility, financial constraints and insufficient knowledge and training. Young farmers have tackled each obstacle in diverse ways. There is a shift from mechanization and large scale farming (i.e., industrial farming) to a more small-scale organic farming practice. New methods of farming have been formed to overcome the land accessibility obstacle; land sharing and backyard farming being the most common. Low interest loans by Farm Folk City Folk and other organizations are aimed at providing start-up capital. Additionally, there have been multiple training and apprenticeship programs that have been developed over the last few years tailored to assisting new and current young farmers. The study recommends that there should be more incentives for people to convert their backyards to farms, such as tax reduction for people who produce a certain amount in the backyard or communities that engage in a certain amount of agriculture. Further research is recommended on the contribution to climate change by agriculture, especially with the increase in the mechanization of agriculture. Lastly, further research should be directed on the impact industrial food production has had on the perception the population has on the cost of food.

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