Project Title:

Pilot Project Grows Into Full-Scale Urban Farm near Sechelt

Project Organization:

Salish Seas Regenerative Farm Society

Project Investment:

  • Island Coastal Economic Trust: $50,000
  • Total Budget: $1,238,027

Project Highlight:

Salish Sea Regenerative Urban Farm growth bolsters food security and employs indigenous youth within the Shíshálh First Nation territory.

The Salish Seas Regenerative Urban Farm is growing after a successful 2-acre pilot phase proved its viability. With a strong foundation in place, including existing partnerships with the Sechelt Hospital and shíshálh First Nation’s Good Food Box program, the society looks to expand into a 6-acre urban farm.

By transforming into a full-scale urban farm, the organization aims to address two core community needs: increasing local food production and increasing local agricultural knowledge, capacity, and skills. These priorities were informed through the Sunshine Coast Regional District Agricultural Area Plan and the Tsain-Ko Agricultural Opportunities Assessment.

The project began in May 2024 and targets a November 2025 completion. Read the project announcement for more information.

Strengthening Community Wellbeing:

Through this urban farming project, the Salish Seas Regenerative Farm Society strives to contribute to the Sunshine Coast’s overall food security. They are prioritizing educational opportunities, increasing local agricultural knowledge and capacity, and continuing economic development measures to realize the agricultural potential of the region.

Economic Prosperity: Since establishing the urban farm as a viable business through its pilot phase, the expanded farm will generate an annual profit to increase the resiliency of the farm and society. This will result in opportunities through services and contracts with local businesses. Partnerships, like the Shíshálh First Nation’s Good Food Box program, will also realize savings by having access to locally grown produce rather than relying on more expensive imported items.

Climate Resiliency: Between its permanent population and a booming tourism economy, the Sunshine Coast’s demand for food has never been higher. Yet only 3% of locally consumed food is grown in the region. This project aims to reduce dependency on imports by creating a local food system that also supports the local economy and local jobs.

The farm also emphasizes regenerative agriculture. By producing food and enhancing soil health, biodiversity, and ecosystem resiliency, it will showcase a model for sustainable farming in urban contexts.

Social Empowerment: The pilot phase of this project was supported by dedicated volunteers; however, to establish the long-term success and sustainability of the farm at its full scale, several permanent and temporary staff will be required. At least two permanent, full-time positions—as farm manager and lead grower—will be required for day-to-day operations. Temporary full-time labour jobs will also be created to help push the initiative through the project phase. Once completed, the farm will also create two or more seasonal jobs.

The project also has a unique focus on offering training and employment opportunities to Indigenous youth. Through a hands-on learning model, 15 Shíshálh First Nation youth will participate and earn an income each summer.

Cultural Vitality: The society envisions a future where regenerative agriculture becomes intertwined with Indigenous skills and knowledge to re-establish how food can be cultivated on Shíshálh Nation ancestral lands. Through an unwavering commitment to working alongside Shíshálh First Nation, this project looks to build agricultural capacity as a step towards the Nation successfully reclaiming its food sovereignty.

Media Contacts

Jeff Bartlett
Communications and Impact Manager
Island Coastal Economic Trust

Aaron Joe
Salish Seas Regenerative Farm Society

Island Coastal Economic Trust approved funding for this project in March 2024 through the Capital and Innovation program.