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Parks, Recreation & Culture » Sustainable Kamloops » Environmental Sustainability » Land

Farm Business Incubator Program

With the adoption of the City of Kamloops’ first Agriculture Area Plan (AAP) in December 2013, the City took an important step towards a thriving, resilient and sustainable local agricultural sector. The AAP contains a set of goals and actions designed to preserve, grow and diversify local agriculture, while responding to challenges identified by the farming community.

One of the main challenges identified was the need to support and educate new farmers. High land prices have been an insurmountable barrier to many new farmers and those that are able to start an operation are often then unable to afford necessary equipment let alone training or education programs. A Farm Business Incubator Program (FBIP) is one way to address these challenges by offering new farmers access to land, training, and shared equipment.

Concept Map

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What is a Farm Business Incubator Program?

A FBIP functions as a start-up for farmers: potential farmers prepare a farm business plan, are given access to a suitable parcel of land via a short-term lease.

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The details of the Kamloops FBIP will be developed over the next few months but models used elsewhere see the participating farmers receive training and mentorship opportunities with established farmers, equipment (potentially a shared tractor) and support to sell and market their products. As farmers move through the program they gain skills, develop their business plan and build relationships with the farming community. Kamloops’ FBIP will start out as a pilot with the ultimate goal of becoming a permanent program graduating skilled farmers that become cornerstones of Kamloops’ growing agricultural sector.

Why a Farm Business Incubator Program?

The FBIP model addresses a number of goals of the AAP by directly tackling the two main barriers faced by new farmers (cost of land and training) identified during industry and public consultation.

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The model has been used successfully in Ontario (Farmstart) and elsewhere in BC (Haliburton Community Organic Garden) to support new farmers and create viable farm businesses. The City believes a FBIP can launch new growth in what has been an important part of the City’s economy, but has been neglected in recent years. A June workshop co-sponsored by the City and Community Futures Thompson Country, demonstrated ample interest in the program from both new farmers looking to launch farm ventures, and established farmers interested in introducing a new generation of farmers to the land.

The Partnership

The City of Kamloops has partnered with Community Futures Thompson Country for the pilot FBIP: The City has identified a plot of serviced city-owned land at the Tournament Capital Ranch to act as the pilot site for the future incubator farms.

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While the City will continue to provide advisory support as the project moves forward, Community Futures Thompson Country, will lead development of the FBIP pilot, including program design and will bring their considerable project management expertise to managing the program’s operations.

Join the Farm Business Incubator Program

The City is looking for existing, new and aspiring farmers interested in participating in the FBIP.

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If you are interested in becoming a farmer or you have expertise or resources that could benefit the program please get in touch. For more information or to sign up to receive project updates contact:

Shirley Culver, Community Futures Thompson Country: Sculver@communityfutures.net
250 828-8772
www.communityfutures.net

Community Planning, City of Kamloops: communityplanning@kamloops.ca


Contact
Planning and Development
105 Seymour Street
Kamloops, BC V2C 2C6
ph 250-828-3561
fax 250-828-3848
email planning@kamloops.ca

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