B.C. and Yukon partner on strategies to feed the North

Press Release

Jan. 22, 2020

VICTORIA – Farmers, ranchers and food processors in Yukon and northern B.C. may soon have more local customers, as the two governments connect to build food security and increase the supply and production of local food in the North.

“Working together is key to life in Canada’s north, and the partnership between farmers, Indigenous communities, experts and governments will help increase local food production and economic activity,” said Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture. “Our co-operative efforts will encourage greater involvement and awareness of local food, and help more people in Yukon and northern B.C. enjoy the flavours and benefits of products from their communities.”

Ranj Pillai, Minister Responsible for Yukon Agriculture, said, “Yukon and British Columbia share common challenges and opportunities in our efforts to encourage local food production in northern communities. The new memorandum of understanding emphasizes that by working together and sharing expertise, we can better promote food security, promote agricultural production, develop sustainably and grow market opportunities for northern farmers and ranchers.”

The governments be partner with the agricultural sector, as well as academic and community leaders, to develop and share expertise specific to growing in northern latitude. Topics of discussion will include limitations in temperature and duration of seasons, offset by long summer days, as well as supporting business relationships amongst different farmers, food processors and agriculture service suppliers in both areas. Targets include:

  • expanding local food and beverage production through a farmer/rancher forum that supports networking, knowledge transfer and business relationships;
  • developing and sharing expertise around farm management in remote settings;
  • partnering with academic institutions to help northern growers and food-processing sectors grow and commercialize products;
  • reducing barriers to agricultural trade between neighbouring jurisdictions; and
  • increasing producers’ access to processing and retail markets and shared inspection services. For example, increasing access to meat inspections through shared inspection services or mobile abattoirs.

The governments also committed to supporting a larger role for Indigenous peoples in northern agriculture and food production by working with Indigenous communities to:

  • increase Indigenous involvement in sustainable food production and agricultural business opportunities; and
  • facilitate Nation-to-Nation dialogue in and between both jurisdictions to build capacity and develop agriculture and traditional food-based activities and initiatives.

The strategies are described in further detail in a memorandum of understanding signed by Popham and Pillai.

Learn More:

Memorandum of understanding: http://news.gov.bc.ca/files/MOU_BC-and-Yukon.pdf

Yukon Agriculture: State of the Industry Report 2013 – 2017: https://yukon.ca/sites/yukon.ca/files/emr/emr-agriculture-state-of-the-industry-2013-2017.pdf

Local food strategy for Yukon:  https://yukon.ca/sites/yukon.ca/files/emr/emr-local-food-strategy-for-yukon.pdf

Yukon Farm Guide: https://yukonag.ca/yukon-farm-guide/

Statistics about B.C. farms, seafood and food processing: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/statistics/industry-and-sector-profiles

The Buy BC program: https://buybc.gov.bc.ca/

The Feed BC program:  https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/growbc-feedbc-buybc/feed-bc

A backgrounder follows.

Contacts:

Blake Bilmer
Junior Public Affairs Officer
British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture
Government Communications and Public Engagement
[email protected]
250 880-5391

Matthew Cameron
Yukon Cabinet Communications
[email protected]
867 332-7136

Rod Jacob
Communications, Energy, Mines and Resources
Government of Yukon
[email protected]
867 667-3005


BACKGROUNDER

Growing agriculture in B.C. and Yukon

Agriculture in B.C.

  • B.C. farmers, ranchers, seafood and processing workers contributed to a record-setting year in 2018, with annual revenue from businesses in those sectors reaching $15 billion for the first time.
  • B.C. consumers and companies continue to be the main buyers of B.C. products, with an estimated $6.4 billion of purchases.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture began a new mandate in 2017 to support B.C. farmers through a three-pronged approach:
    • Grow BC, which creates a network of food hubs supporting entrepreneurs and food processors around the province, and has programs to increase production and support new farmers.
    • Feed BC, which encourages the use of B.C. products in government-operated institutions and facilities.
    • Buy BC, which is helping more than 200 B.C. companies promote their products in B.C., as well as developing partnerships supporting local foods in retailers.

Agriculture in Yukon

  • Yukon’s agriculture industry is expanding. Recent census information reported an increase in the number of farms and farm receipts between 2011 and 2016. Yukon farms are increasingly supplying vegetables, preserves, dairy, eggs, honey, jams, meats, fresh produce, sod and bedding plants into the local market.
  • In 2019, there were a record number of inspected slaughters in Yukon. A total of 536 cattle, elk, sheep, goats and swine were processed and inspected through abattoirs, and Yukon’s mobile abattoir added stops to two communities, broadening the access to inspected slaughter for farmers outside of Whitehorse. Graded egg production has also increased dramatically since 2016.
  • The Local Food Strategy for Yukon adopted in 2016 encourages the production and consumption of Yukon-grown food, supports local food producers and strengthens the relationship between Yukoners, Yukon farmers and food.
  • Since 2018, Yukon has committed over $1.3 million to 173 agriculture projects throughout Yukon in a bilateral agreement with the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. These programs provide funding for industry projects that further strengthen Yukon’s local food production.

Contacts:

Blake Bilmer
Junior Public Affairs Officer
British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture
Government Communications and Public Engagement
[email protected]
250 880-5391

Matthew Cameron
Cabinet Communications
[email protected]
867 332-7136

Rod Jacob
Communications, Energy, Mines and Resources
Government of Yukon
[email protected]
867 667-3005

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect

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