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Agricultural Land Use in the ALR


Protection is Not Enough: Policy Precedents to Increase the Agricultural Use of British Columbia's Farmland


The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) was established in 1973 to stop the rapid loss of the province's limited agricultural land to urbanization. While the establishment of the ALR reduced the rate of farmland loss from an estimated 4,000-6,000 ha/year (2% annually) to 600 ha/year1, approximately 50% of the ALR is currently not used for farming.2  In the summer of 2017, the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems hosted an intensive policy research lab to review policies from around the world that address key challenges underpinning the utilization of BC's farmland, including agricultural land prices, land use competition, current fiscal policies and farmland speculation. Research was compiled into a white paper and complementary policy brief. The goal of the white paper is to present instructive policy precedents to stimulate dialogue and promote policy development that addresses the utilization of BC's agricultural land. 


Download the PDF icon Full White Paper.

Download the PDF icon White Paper Brief.

Download the File Appendix.



1. Smith, B. E. (2012). A work in progress - The British Columbia farmland preservation program. Retrieved from 
2. BC Ministry of Agriculture. (various). Agricultural land use inventory reports.  Retrieved from: