Farmers on Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands will have more support to adapt to climate change following the development of the Vancouver Island Adaptation Strategies plan.

The plan identifies key strategies for increasing the resilience of producers in the region. The governments of Canada and British Columbia will provide $300,000 in funding through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to support projects that achieve those strategies.

The projects will help farmers respond to four priority impact areas affecting the islands:

  • warmer and drier summer conditions;
  • changing pests and beneficial insects;
  • increasing variability and shifting suitability; and
  • increasing precipitation and extreme precipitation events.

“Our farmers are on the front line of climate change, and we should all be very proud of the hard work they are undertaking to adapt to changes in conditions,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “By taking a region-specific approach, we are in the best position to support them with solutions customized to the unique challenges they face. At the end of the day, this is all about keeping our farmers’ operations strong and putting more locally grown food on our kitchen tables.”

The Vancouver Island adaptation strategies planning process, managed by the BC Agriculture & Food Climate Action Initiative (CAI), began in summer 2019. Through a series of focus groups, the process brought together 90 farmers to work with six Vancouver Island regional districts, as well as provincial and federal agencies, to identify priorities and actions for agricultural adaptation.

“B.C. farmers are resilient by nature and experience challenges daily on their farms,” said Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture. “We’re helping farmers plan and develop to respond to the challenges of a changing climate and how that affects their livelihood. These strategies, specifically designed for farmers on Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands, will help them adapt so they can continue contributing to our economy and providing the fresh local food our communities depend on.”

A working group with up to 20 representatives from the agricultural sector and regional and provincial governments will oversee the development of priority projects. CAI will manage project implementation.

For further information on the Vancouver climate adaptation plan, click here.

Featured image credit: Nataliya Terskaya @natalioshka

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