Community Farming

People who care about protecting farmland and healthy, local food come together to build and support community farms in their neighbourhoods. Some assist the community groups that are needed to govern the farm, some want to farm and value the collaborative approach of the community farm model, and others simply wish to enjoy fresh, healthy food, or visit a farm.

Community farming offers many benefits to farmers who want to practice sustainable agriculture and to communities who want fresh, healthy, locally-produced food. By supporting community farms, local communities can invest directly in their food system, secure farmland for the future, help create sources of healthy, locally-produced food, and enjoy social, economic, environmental, and agricultural benefits.

People who want to farm sustainably on a small scale are investing in community farming. Today in BC, there are more than 20 farms that have experience and knowledge in sustainable organic farming practices and cooperative living.

With the Community Farms Program, we’re helping create more farms like this in BC, and supporting them with a network and many other useful resources.

If you are interested in joining the Community Farms Program, find more information about participating at Starting a Community Farm.

A farm may be considered eligible for support from the Community Farm Program when:

  • The land is held “in trust” for community
  • Governed by a community group or cooperative
  • Shared by a community of farmers
  • Farmers are provided with long-term tenure
  • Focused on local food production using sustainable agricultural practices
  • Multiple activities complement food production
  • Land holders, land managers, farmers, and CF Program partners work together by mutual agreement
  • Farmers are housed on or near the land


In the Community Farms Program, a nonprofit community group is responsible for the overall management of what happens on the land, rather than a private individual.

The community group is made up of people willing to take responsibility for fulfilling the farm's vision and mandate. It governs all land use agreements with the farmers and the landowners (if a land trust or government). In the Community Farms Program, the community group is requested to incorporate as either a nonprofit cooperative or a nonprofit society.

The community group leads the development of a Whole Farm Plan. These documents describe the characteristics and capacity of a farm, and identify resources and opportunities to be an economically successful community farm with diverse agricultural, ecological and social activities.

Farms participating in the Community Farm Program are requested to prepare and follow a Whole Farm Plan.

A farm may participate in the Community Farms Program when:

  • an established community group is in place; OR,
  • key leadership components are present to support formation of a community group; OR,
  • there is demonstrated interest to participate in the CFP and a commitment to become a community farm as defined in the program.


On a community farm, the primary activity is local food production, and agricultural uses of the land are shared by a community of farmers.

In the Community Farms Program, farmers are responsible for managing and operating their farm business(es).

Decisions about farmland use allocations and general management principles are made through the development and implementation of a Whole Farm Plan. These documents support farmers' efforts to use environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable farming practices and principles in their operations, and protect and enhance biodiversity.

Farmers in the Community Farm Program are requested to follow a Whole Farm Plan, and ideally, to participate in its development. The Whole Farm Plan defines each farmer's relationship with the farm and each other. Individual farm business plans reflect the Whole Farm Plan, and are compatible with all other farm business plans.

created by: Barbara Joughin

Last Modified: October 10, 2014