Glossary Structure:

Glossary Term: (how the term is used in the database in parentheses) Definition, examples and links to more information.


Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC):  (subtopic) a committee created to inform municipal councils on issues related to agriculture. Committee members are representatives from the agricultural community.

Agricultural Area Plan/Strategy: (document type) an in depth planning document focusing on the long-term viability and sustainability of a community’s agricultural sector.  For details see

Agricultural industry services: (subtopic) ancillary businesses that support and service farming and are necessary for the viability of agricultural operations.

Agri-tourism: (subtopic) tourist activities, services or facilities that promote local farm products and farm operations.

ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve): (subtopic) a provincial land use zone where agriculture is the prioritized land use and non-agricultural uses are restricted. Land use in the ALR is governed by the provincial Agricultural Land Commission Act, which is interpreted and enforced by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), an independent provincial administrative tribunal. See for more details.

ALR exclusion: (subtopic) the process where land is removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve. The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) grants approvals for ALR exclusions.

ALR subdivision: (subtopic) the process where land in the Agricultural Land Reserve in subdivided into smaller parcels. The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) grants approvals for ALR subdivisions.

Amenity density zoning/contributions: (subtopic) the granting of additional development potential by the local government authority in exchange for the voluntary provision of a community amenity by the landowner. 

Aquaculture: (subtopic) the growing and cultivation of fish, shellfish and aquatic plants for commercial purposes.


B.C. environmental farm plan: (subtopic) a provincial program that supports farm operations to complete agri-environmental risk assessments.

‘benefit to agriculture’ language: (subtopic) policies categorized with this subtopic use specific language that suggest changes to the agricultural land base should be largely based on a benefit to agriculture.

Buffer at agricultural edge: (subtopic) a planned space used to separate agricultural land from adjacent non-agricultural uses and mitigate conflict between the two uses. Example of buffering techniques include vegetated strips, fencing, building setbacks etc. For details see


Climate change and greenhouse gases: (subtopic) policies categorized by this subtopic address reducing greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to current or future climatic changes.

Community food market: (subtopic) a venue for farmers or third party vendors to sell fresh, healthy foods directly to the public. Community food markets (also known as pocket markets) aim to provide fresh and healthy affordable and foods to populations that may not have means to access fresh food vending operations, such as farmers’ markets or grocery stores, due to cost or transportation barriers.

Community food system education: (subtopic) policies categorized by this subtopic aim to increase public knowledge of food system issues and promote food literacy and agricultural awareness.

Community kitchen: (subtopic) a publically accessible kitchen facility designed to provide a gathering space to learn about/engage in/share the cost of food preparation and preservation, healthy eating and cooking workshops and other skills trainings.

Covenants: (subtopic) obligations or requirements placed on land titles by a government agency or other that assign certain terms, conditions or obligations for development or land use on that property. See the B.C. Land Title Act Section 219 for more details.

Crops: (subtopic) any cultivated plant, fungus or algae that is harvested for use as food, medicine, livestock feed or fibre.


Deposit of fill and dumping: (subtopic) the act of moving soil, top soil or rock from one location to another.

Development and Productive Use of Agricultural Land: (topic) Policies and practices that prevent the use of agricultural land for non-agricultural uses and/or promote its productive use. Subjects include farmland preservation, ALR exclusion and subdivision, regulations for residential development on agricultural land etc.

Disclosure agreement: (subtopic) notifications on property transactions that communicate specific topics to new property owners. Ex A disclosure agreement on areas adjacent to farmland to increase awareness of new property owners of the realities of living next to agricultural activity with the goal of decreasing neighbourhood conflicts.


Economic Development: (topic) Policies and practices that promote the economic viability of the agricultural sector. Topic includes agri-tourism, farm income, farm business planning, farm marketing etc.

Education: (topic) policies categorized with this topic promote of knowledge and understanding of food system topics. These include, community education campaigns, food system literacy, school education programs, farmer skills training etc.

Endowment fund: (subtopic) an investment fund established by a foundation.


Farm diversification: (subtopic) includes both the diversification of economic activity on a farm as well as the cultivation of more varied farm crops/livestock.

Farm home plate: (subtopic) the area or footprint of a given agricultural lot that is dedicated to non-farm uses, such as residential use. Municipalities with farm home plate regulations can restrict the size and/or siting of the farm home plate with the goal of reducing the loss of agricultural land to residential use.

Farmers’ market: (subtopic) a venue, either temporary or permanent, for producers to sell locally produced foods directly to community members. Note: community food markets and pocket markets are included within this topic.

Farmer training: (subtopic) programs and/or initiatives aimed at developing the skills and/or technical expertise of growers.

Farmland speculation: (subtopic) the purchase of farmland with the hopes that it will increase in value and provide significant financial returns when sold.

Farmland trust: (subtopic) organizations dedicated to the protection of land for agriculture through activities that include the acquisition, management and/or leasing of farmland.

Farm residence maximum setback: (subtopic) regulations to restrict the distance from the property line that residential development can be constructed. These regulations aim to prevent the fragmentation and/or loss of agricultural land resulting from the placement of residential development.

Farm retail/farm gate sales: (subtopic) accessory use of land for the sale of agricultural products grown on the same parcel, including agricultural parcels in both urban and rural settings.

Farm traffic: (subtopic) the movement of specialized, often slow moving, vehicles for farming within an agricultural area.

Farm worker accommodations: (subtopic) the accessory use of buildings and structures for accommodations for farm workers, including both temporary and permanent accommodations.

First Nations and Indigenous Food Systems: (topic) Policies categorized with this topic address First Nations communities and/or traditional First Nations food systems.

Food Charter: (document type) A common set of principles, or vision statement, used to guide food and agriculture policy.

Food policy council: (subtopic) a coalition of food system stakeholders involved that work to influence/advise government on food policy in their region.

Food production: (topic) this topic includes policies, goals and practices that promote the use of human and natural resources to yield edible crops and raise livestock including apiculture.

Food recovery/gleaning/donation: (subtopic) Reducing food waste by recovering food surpluses/unused food from institutions including retail outlets, food distributers/handlers restaurants etc. This subtopic also includes the donation of food to organizations/institutions that increase food access for vulnerable populations, such as food banks.

Food Sales, Access, and Procurement: (topic) Policies categorized with this topic impact food retail, access for residents to food and procurement. This topic includes farm retail, community kitchens, farmer's markets etc.

Food Strategy: (document type) A comprehensive, integrated planning document specific to food planning.


GE/GMO (Genetically Engineered/Genetically Modified Organisms): (subtopic) plants or animals with DNA that has been directly manipulated by humans using techniques that do not rely on natural recombination. 

Guideline: (document type) municipal standards for a particular activity or procedure. Depending on the document, adherence to guidelines can be either recommended or mandatory. 


Hunting/ fishing/gathering: (subtopic) catching wild game, fish or seafood or the harvesting of non-timber forest products such as mushrooms, berries, medicinal plants etc.


Irrigation and drainage: (subtopic) Policies categorized with this subtopic address the provision, quality, accessibility and application of water for irrigation and livestock watering as well as the provision and maintenance of proper water drainage for agricultural activity.


Land access: (topic) policies categorized by this topic promote land accessibility to producers.

Leasing of land for agriculture: (subtopic) renting public or private land for the purpose of using it for agricultural activity.

Livestock: (subtopic) animal agriculture, including apiculture. Policies categorized with this subtopic address the keeping of livestock in either urban or rural settings.

Local food culture: (subtopic) an appreciation of local food and/or engagement in the local food economy. Examples of policies categorized with this subtopic include local food celebrations, harvest festivals and local marketing/buy local campaigns.

Local procurement: (subtopic) the purchase of goods or services from local sources by institutions.


Mobile/street food vending: (subtopic) the sale of prepared food in public spaces or rights of ways by either travelling or stationary food retailers.


New entrants to farming: (subtopic) policies categorized by this subtopic address the recruitment and support of new farmers and new types of farming to a region.

Nuisance complaints: (subtopic) policies categorized by this subtopic address conflicts between agricultural activities/agri-food operations and adjacent non-agricultural activities that could result in conflict/complaints.  Examples include education initiatives to inform the public about normal farm practices and the Right to Farm Act or initiatives to encourage good neighbour-to-neighbour relationships.

Nutrition and Public Health: (topic) policies categorized with this topic promote the health and proper nutrition of residents. 


Official Community Plan: (document type) a high-level comprehensive plan that provides guidance and direction for future community decisions and development.


Partnerships/advocacy/liaising: (subtopic) policies categorized by this subtopic 1) promote partnerships among government branches, community organizations or private sector actors etc., 2) advocate for particular policies outside the scope of that level of government and/or 3) promote the communication and interaction between government and other food system actors (e.g. the agricultural community, agri-food operators etc.)

Pesticide and pest management: (subtopic) policies categorized by this subtopic address the use of pesticides and other methods of agricultural pest management.

Pilot program: (document type) A short-term trial of a particular program that is administered on a smaller scale for testing purposes.

Pocket market: See farmers’ market.

Policy: There are two definitions for the term “Policy” in this database.

  1. (general) An over-arching term (ie policy database) to describe all types of legislature and local government practices.
  2. (document type) A specific type of document that is a recognized way a municipality acts/makes decisions, but is not a bylaw. E.g. a municipality’s local procurement policy where a certain proportion of catered food is purchased from local sources.  This category of document also includes regulations from the Agricultural Land Commission.

Policy partnerships, advocacy and development: (topic) policies categorized with this topic address the development/advocacy for policies and/or the creation of partnerships.

Pollinators: (subtopic) animals that assist in plant reproduction. Policies categorized by this subtopic address apiculture as well as projects aimed at increasing and supporting wild pollinator species.

Processing, Storage and Distribution: (topic) policies categorized with this topic aim to increase the capacity of a region to store, transform and distribute food materials. Processed food includes value-added processing, manipulating, and packaging to create a usable end product for consumption. Includes topics such as agricultural zoning bylaws that allow for food processing, community access to food storage and processing facilities, incentives to attract food processors etc.

Protection of farming development permit areas: (subtopic) In order to promote land use compatibility between farm and non-farm uses, municipal governments may establish a series of development regulations for a specific area (Development Permit Area). Regulations can include buffer requirements, landscaping, fencing, screening etc. For detail see


Recreational use of agricultural land: (subtopic) policies categorized by this subtopic address the use of agricultural land (in and outside ALR) for outdoor recreation. Polices categorized with this subtopic address  golf courses on ALR land, minimizing conflict between the agricultural community and park visitors, designing/managing parkland without impacting agricultural viability etc.

Regulatory Bylaw: (document type) laws established by a municipality.

Research and data collection: (subtopic) policies categorized by this subtopic support food system research and development as well as the assemblage and maintenance food system data and information. Examples include promoting research in climate change adaptation of the agricultural sector, maintain land use inventories etc.


Seeds: (subtopic) Examples of policies categorized by this subtopic include those aimed at increasing seed production capacity, address GE/GM seeds etc.

Signage in agricultural areas: (subtopic) policies categorized by this subtopic support signage in agricultural areas. Signage can be used to caution for slow moving farm traffic, to promote the agricultural products of an area, to educate users of recreational areas about farm practices etc.

Siting and coverage: (subtopic) regulations that relate to the placement, height and footprint of buildings and structures on a lot. Policies categorized by this subtopic most often consider the placement and footprint of buildings and structures on lots zoned for agriculture.


Tax mechanisms: (subtopic) policies categorized by this subtopic address a range of tax related issues. Examples include carbon tax programs, tax breaks for land owners leasing land for agriculture, tax incentives to attract food processors etc.


Urban agriculture: (topic) Policies categorized with this topic promote food production and community engagement in food production in urban areas. Topic includes backyard chickens, edible landscaping, community gardens, urban farms etc.

Urban-agriculture conflict & edge planning: (topic) Policies categorized with this topic promote compatible land use and planning at the urban - agricultural edge to limit the impacts of non-farm uses on farming operations. Topic includes buffers at the agricultural edge, recreational use of agricultural lands, managing slow moving farm traffic etc.

Urban containment/urban growth boundary: (subtopic) an established border to separate urban lands from rural lands, thereby guiding development and preventing sub-urban sprawl.

Urban farm: (subtopic) commercially focused agricultural operations in urban areas. Operations tend to be located on small lots.

Urban gardens/orchards: (subtopic) non-commercially focused food gardens/orchards in cities. Policies categorized by this subtopic address community gardens, backyard gardening, the use of public land and park space for food gardens etc.


Waste management: (topic) Policies categorized with this topic are address reducing food related waste and promoting resource recovery. Includes composting, food recovery programs, food waste reduction targets, on farm waste management, waste to energy systems etc.

Waste to energy: (subtopic) the conversion of agricultural/food waste to energy resources. Examples include anaerobic digestion, methane capture etc.

Water management: (topic) Policies categorized with this topic impact water resources in rural and urban agriculture. Topics include irrigation, rain water harvesting incentive programs, water rates, water conservation etc.

Water restrictions and conservation: (subtopic) policies categorized by this subtopic address the use of water during times of water shortage and/or promote water conservation among agricultural users and private citizens.

Wildlife and ecosystem management: (subtopic) policies categorized by this subtopic address environmental health and the preservation/enhancement of ecological systems.

Wildlife/environmental/pest management: (topic) Policies categorized with this topic are aimed at reducing environmental degradation caused by agricultural systems and promote environmental stewardship including wildlife and pest management.


Zoning Bylaw: (document type) laws established by a municipality that regulate the land use.

Zoning: (subtopic) the practice of local governments to regulate land use and development within its jurisdiction. Subjects include zoning bylaw regulations as well as policies that propose zoning as a tool to achieve diverse food system goals.