Agriculture Based Fundraiser to Help Save the Peace River Valley

An agriculture based fundraiser took place in the Peace River valley last summer along Highway 29 at Bear Flat. All proceeds from a 20 acre oat crop were donated to Peace Valley Environment Association to help in the fight to stop the proposed Site C Dam. All equipment use, input cost and land rent were donated by Ken and Arlene Boon, Nick Parsons and Ardill Ranch. Numerous people also donated funds to PVEA to support preserving local agriculture.
A total of $4,285.00 was raised, not bad considering the drought conditions. A similar project is planned for this coming season.
Photo of Nick Parsons combining. Due to large numbers of grasshoppers, the makeshift contraption on front of combine pick up is to encourage them to jump out of the way and not end up in the hopper.

The unique agricultural lands of the Peace River Valley have an enormous potential to increase BC’s food self-reliance… at least 42 vegetables can be commercially grown in the valley.

Although a recent survey indicates that 91% of British Columbians feel it is important for BC to “produce enough food so [it doesn’t] have to depend on imports from other places”, BC continues to rely on imports for approximately 50% of its food supply.

The Peace River Valley contains a substantial amount of exceptional agricultural land, especially on its lower terraces. Approximately 10% of the valley is classified as premium Class 1 agricultural land, accounting for the vast majority of Class 1 land in Northern BC. Approximately 50% of the valley is classified as Class 2 land. Much of this Class 2 land would have agricultural capabilities equivalent to Class 1 land if irrigated.

The Peace River Valley’s climate is among the best in Canada for agriculture. Less than 1% of Canada’s total land base has the Class 1 climate of the Peace River Valley. The valley contains the only Class 1 climate in Northern BC.

Approximately 5340 ha of the Peace River Valley’s land would be flooded by Site C’s reservoir, over 1000 ha of additional land would be impacted by the project’s construction site and transmission line, and additional lands would be marginalized due to sloughing. At least 60% of the land which would be flooded by Site C’s reservoir has an agricultural capability class rating of 1 and 2; and at least 74% has a rating of 1 to 3.

“BC Hydro has suppressed our top-notch agricultural resources in Northeastern BC by buying up land reserve and consequently killing off the market gardens that used to flourish in the valley,” says Project Manager and Professional Biologist Brian Churchill. “The flooding from Site C would take these amazing fields off the map and put them under water. However, if Site C is stopped, once and for all, farmers could reinvest in vegetable crops, and BC residents would have a reliable local food source that actually grows with climate change.”

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