5. Agriculture and Food Security

Potential Adaptation Strategies and Actions for Agriculture and Food Security


Potential Actions

Doing Already


5.0 General agricultural practices

Encourage local growers to use adaptive methods to deal with a changing climate



Use seasonal climate forecasts to plan each season



Implement local seed banks



Establish additional water storage and more efficient irrigation



Diversify crops, particularly to high-value crops with low water needs



Update erosion control practices


Enhance pollinator attraction


Enhance monitoring and refine practices to minimize damage from weeds, insects and disease


5.1 Monitor changes in food production capabilities due to climate change

Monitor changes in crop diseases and pests


Monitor increases or decreases in crop viability due to climate changes


5.2 Promote increased local food production, food preservation and seasonal eating

Encourage pilot projects to develop and expand local food production


Monitor and communicate information on current financial agricultural incentives to food growers


Promote increased local food production, food preservation and seasonal eating in school programs


Encourage backyard gardening through mentoring programs and workshops


Permit chicken raising within municipal boundaries


Help re-establish grower support organizations such as farmers’ institutes and farm equipment co-ops


Support community gardens, community greenhouses, school gardens and education programs


5.3 Encourage local growers to use adaptive methods to deal with a changing climate

Encourage local growers to use seasonal climate predictions to plan their growing season


Encourage local growers to diversify crops, use succession planting and intensive cropping


Encourage the construction and use of greenhouses


Support and promote local seed banks


Encourage local growers to attract pollinators by planting appropriate habitats, building bee homes and discouraging insecticide/ pesticide use


Promote appropriate irrigation, water retention and soil management methods among growers


5.4 Maximize access to agricultural land for local growers

Conduct an Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) survey to establish why land is not being used for farming


Assess ways to maximize uptake of agricultural land for agricultural purposes


Support policies that provide access to land for food growing within municipal and regional district boundaries


Encourage growers seeking land to network with relevant local and regional stakeholders to increase their chances of securing land


Designate unused public lands suitable for growing as community gardens, greenhouses or demonstration farms


5.5 Protect agricultural land and topsoil

Utilize OCP policies, zoning bylaws, development permits and other tools to protect agricultural land and topsoil within municipal boundaries


Maintain nutrient holding capacity of soils by organic matter additions, crop rotation, and use of nitrogen-fixing crops



5.6 Support opportunities for local food producers to increase their food sales

Assist with the establishment and promotion of farmers’ markets and co-ops


Participate in and promote community-supported agriculture



Explore the re-launch of farmers’ institutes


5.7 Prepare for short-term food shortages

Update municipal emergency plans to address short-term shortages


Undertake community awareness programs regarding the need for all residents to have a minimum three-day store of food and water


5.8 Engage in proactive highway maintenance to reduce the risk of food shortages due to road closures

Ensure storm drains and creeks that flow under highways are kept clear of debris


5.9 Ensure climate change adaptation is reflected in Agriculture Area Plans and other long-term food plans

Encourage regional district representatives to address climate change adaptation in regional Agriculture Area Plans


5.10 Secure water resources for agricultural land

 Conduct land use inventories (using Ministry of Agriculture Standards) to help develop an agriculture plan


Use the Agriculture Water Demand Model to determine current and future agricultural water needs



Useful Resources

Climate Change and Food Security in the Columbia Basin - This background report was prepared for communities participating in Phase 2 of the Communities Adapting to Climate Change Initiative.

Report: Every Bite Counts - Climate Justice and BC's Food System - This report calls on the BC government to take action to make BC’s food system work better for farmers, eliminate hunger, shift away from imported products, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Food Security PowerPoint Presentation - This presentation outlines key issues on the topic of food security in the Kootenay region of the Columbia Basin.

BC Agriculture and Food Climate Action Website - This site provides information for BC’s agricultural producers and food processors about how climate change is impacting the sector and the challenges and opportunities associated with taking action.