On December 4, 2022, the government of the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) announced that it is partnering with the Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust on a new regenerative agriculture project that will help to economically revitalize local food producers, restore soil health and mitigate the effects of climate change in the Fraser River estuary.
“Healthy soils are vital for growing food on B.C. farmland, and our government is committed to supporting producers move toward regenerative agriculture practices that will improve soil health,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food.
“Regenerative agriculture is a strong defence against the effects of climate change and implementing these practices will help ensure we have a resilient ecosystem, while strengthening local food security,” she added.
The $150,000 project will provide educational support and offer funding for specific programs that promote the sustainable use of agricultural land in Metro Vancouver, including:
- grassland set-aside program promoting the incorporation of perennials in annual crop rotations to improve soil health;
- winter cover crop program in which participants plant cover crops after the summer harvest to improve soil fertility and protect soils from erosion over the wet, winter months;
- blueberry rest program, which will offer financial assistance to blueberry growers who remove blueberry fields that have become unproductive due to scorch virus and plant soil-regenerating cover crops; and
- climate-focused soil health educational materials featuring annual field tours, printed resources and online content.
Aman Singh, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough said “The rich soil of farmland surrounding the Fraser River estuary is what made a lot of farmers choose Richmond or Delta as their home. By working with local organization like the Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust to implement regenerative agriculture practices, we can maintain this area’s legacy of food production and its bird and wildlife habitats for generations to come.”
The project will contribute to healthier soils, increased food production and stronger local food security over the long term.
Ravi Kahlon, MLA for Delta North said “Through climate-focused initiatives like regenerative agriculture, we are strengthening the legacy of complex ecosystems like the Fraser River estuary. The importance of soil health is front of mind as we work towards creating a strong and secure future for Richmond/Delta farmers and wildlife alike.”
Christine Schmalz, executive director, Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust said “We are pleased to partner with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to support farmers in implementing regenerative practices. The funding will result in hundreds of acres of winter cover crops within the Fraser River estuary.”