Statistics Canada has started releasing information from the 2011 census, including information on farm and farm operator data.
In 2011 Canada had 205,730 farms, a decrease of 10.3 per cent (or 23,643 farms) since 2006.
In British Columbia, there were 19,759 farms, a decrease of 0.4 per cent since 2006. The total land of those B.C. farms was 6,452,967 acres, down 7.9 per cent since 2006.
Of note, is the fact that B.C. had the second smallest decrease in the number of farms across the country. The only province that did better in retaining farms was Nova Scotia, who actually increased their number of farms by 2.9 per cent. The biggest losers? – Manitoba and Saskatchewan, with decreases of 16.7 per cent and 16.6 per cent respectively.
For the first time, operators of these farms in the age group of 55 and over represented the largest share of total operators at 48.3 per cent, compared to 40.7 per cent in 2006, and 32.1 per cent in 1991.
This is a statistic of concern, as it shows our farmers are getting older, and their children are generally not taking over the family farm upon the older generation’s retirement.
This in turn means that our food sustainability should become of greater importance to all communities across Canada.
As we lose more farms, so will we lose our ability to produce sufficient food for our own means; therefore becoming more dependent on importing our food. This is definitely “food” for thought.
For more information about sustainability, check out the website: bcfoodactionnetwork.com. This is the homepage of the North Thompson Food Action Network, a non-profit working group of dedicated North Thompson volunteers whose purpose is to help improve food security in the North Thompson Valley by strengthening our local food system through communication, education, and by championing local food security initiatives.