Agriculture

Avtar Dhillon is having success growing saffron flowers on his Abbotsford blueberry farm. The stigmas are removed from the plants, dried out and sold as a spice for cooking and other purposes. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford farmer among first in B.C. to grow and harvest ‘world’s most expensive spice’

Avtar Dhillon has success with saffron, normally produced in arid climates

Avtar Dhillon is having success growing saffron flowers on his Abbotsford blueberry farm. The stigmas are removed from the plants, dried out and sold as a spice for cooking and other purposes. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)
Mink farms are being phased out in B.C. and will be shut down entirely by April 2025. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

BC plans to phase out mink farming industry by 2025

The government is doing this over four years to allow farmers and workers a transition period

Mink farms are being phased out in B.C. and will be shut down entirely by April 2025. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)
From left to right: Officials Cathy Finley (Fields Forward Director), Danny Turner (Fields Forward Board Chair), Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham, and Elizabeth Quinn (Fields Forward Executive Director) cut the ribbon to the Kootenay Farms Regional Food Hub and Innovation Centre on Oct. 15. (Submitted)

Regional food hub officially opens in Creston

Farmers and producers across the Columbia Basin will start using the facility this week

From left to right: Officials Cathy Finley (Fields Forward Director), Danny Turner (Fields Forward Board Chair), Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham, and Elizabeth Quinn (Fields Forward Executive Director) cut the ribbon to the Kootenay Farms Regional Food Hub and Innovation Centre on Oct. 15. (Submitted)
Trent Mason and Emily Chambers made the move to Creston from Fernie to fulfill their dream of owning an orchard. (Photo Submitted)

First-time orchard owners in the Creston Valley reflect on lessons learned

Half the crops at Blue Canoe Orchard were lost to the summer heatwave

Trent Mason and Emily Chambers made the move to Creston from Fernie to fulfill their dream of owning an orchard. (Photo Submitted)
Warfield’s first harvest picking day goes in the community hall on Saturday, Sept. 25. Photo: Kayla Smith

Warfield to host first harvest picking day

Residents will get a flyer in their mailbox outlining the steps to register for the Sept. 25 event

Warfield’s first harvest picking day goes in the community hall on Saturday, Sept. 25. Photo: Kayla Smith
On Aug. 3, Pender Island residents Chris Hall and Stef Lowey will have officially completed a year of only eating what they can grow, harvest, catch or raise themselves. (Courtesy of Chris Hall and Stef Lowey)

From salt to stevia: B.C. couple nears full year without buying food

Pender Island’s Chris Hall and Stef Lowey have produced everything they’ve eaten since Aug. 3, 2020

On Aug. 3, Pender Island residents Chris Hall and Stef Lowey will have officially completed a year of only eating what they can grow, harvest, catch or raise themselves. (Courtesy of Chris Hall and Stef Lowey)
Cherries at Pravin Dhaliwal’s family farm in Oliver, B.C., are seen cooked on their trees, when the temperature hit a record 41.5 C in a June 2021 handout photo. Dhaliwal is trying to maintain his passion as a third-generation farmer while dealing with the reality of climate change and says farmers need more support from provincial and federal governments. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Pravin Dhaliwal

Farmers say heat wave, drought show vulnerable agricultural sector needs support

Farmers across Canada look to provincial and the federal governments for help

Cherries at Pravin Dhaliwal’s family farm in Oliver, B.C., are seen cooked on their trees, when the temperature hit a record 41.5 C in a June 2021 handout photo. Dhaliwal is trying to maintain his passion as a third-generation farmer while dealing with the reality of climate change and says farmers need more support from provincial and federal governments. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Pravin Dhaliwal
A sign hangs at an entrance to the Stanko Ranch, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, near Steamboat Springs, Colo. Members of the third, fourth and fifth generations of the Stanko family currently work on the ranch, which includes about 90 head of cattle, but Jim Stanko says due to drought conditions this year, if he can’t harvest enough hay to feed his cattle, he may need to sell off some of his herd. (AP Photo/Brittany Peterson)

As drought cuts hay crop, U.S. cattle ranchers face culling herds

Choices increasingly centered around how herds can sustain drought conditions

A sign hangs at an entrance to the Stanko Ranch, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, near Steamboat Springs, Colo. Members of the third, fourth and fifth generations of the Stanko family currently work on the ranch, which includes about 90 head of cattle, but Jim Stanko says due to drought conditions this year, if he can’t harvest enough hay to feed his cattle, he may need to sell off some of his herd. (AP Photo/Brittany Peterson)
B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham. (Screen shot)

Government to allow ‘more residential flexibility’ in agricultural lands, says B.C. minister

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham was guest speaker Friday during Surrey Board of Trade-hosted Zoom meeting

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham. (Screen shot)
Agriculture depends on irrigation in many parts of B.C., and licences are required for using groundwater sources such as wells for agricultural or industrial use. (B.C. government photo)

B.C. farms, industry risk losing water rights as licence deadline nears

Non-domestic groundwater claims must be filed by March 2022

Agriculture depends on irrigation in many parts of B.C., and licences are required for using groundwater sources such as wells for agricultural or industrial use. (B.C. government photo)
Indigenous community leader Kim Robertson tending to the stand of camas that grows along the waters edge near Gyro Park. Camas is a rare find in the Columbia Basin, restricted to low-elevation sites in the West Kootenay. Photo: Submitted

Pollinator Week recognized with planting camas in the Kootenay-Columbia

Pollinators sustain ecosystems and produce natural resources by helping plants reproduce.

Indigenous community leader Kim Robertson tending to the stand of camas that grows along the waters edge near Gyro Park. Camas is a rare find in the Columbia Basin, restricted to low-elevation sites in the West Kootenay. Photo: Submitted
A volunteer delivers food to families as part of a West Kootenay EcoSociety program. Photo: Submitted

Farms to Friends delivers 2,500th bag of food to families in need

The program services communities in the Nelson, Trail and Castlegar areas

A volunteer delivers food to families as part of a West Kootenay EcoSociety program. Photo: Submitted
Blueberry harvest in the Fraser Valley relies mainly on older Indo-Canadian workers provided through labour brokers. (Maple Ridge News)

B.C. ‘moving very cautiously’ on minimum wage for farm workers

Most workers support piece-rate pay for picking, survey says

Blueberry harvest in the Fraser Valley relies mainly on older Indo-Canadian workers provided through labour brokers. (Maple Ridge News)
B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)

UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham promotes the government’s BuyBC food program in 2019. (B.C. government)

Money running out for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in B.C. schools

‘Looking at ways to support this type of program,’ minister says

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham promotes the government’s BuyBC food program in 2019. (B.C. government)
Cows from Creekside Dairy in Agassiz experienced 2021’s spring weather for the first time on Thursday, April 22, early in the morning. (Screenshot/Creekside Dairy)

VIDEO: B.C. cows react with joy to springtime pasture

Creekside Dairy spreads joy as their cows see their home fields for the first time since winter

Cows from Creekside Dairy in Agassiz experienced 2021’s spring weather for the first time on Thursday, April 22, early in the morning. (Screenshot/Creekside Dairy)
A mink at a farm, taken on July 9, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins

Quarantined B.C. mink farm resumes breeding after COVID-19 outbreak

Province approves resumption of breeding at Fraser Valley farm, and 8 others not in quarantine

A mink at a farm, taken on July 9, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins
Farmland in Surrey. (Photo: Surrey.ca)

B.C. Agriculture minister sends Surrey ‘stern’ letter for nixing agriculture advisory committee

Cities intending to restrict or prohibit agriculture within a farming area may need to be ‘regulated,’ Lana Popham warned

Farmland in Surrey. (Photo: Surrey.ca)
In honour of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month, a national organization has received federal money to expand its programming. (U.S Department of Agriculture/Flickr)

Agriculture education in Canadian schools gets $1.6M boost from the feds

It’s imperative students know where their food comes from: Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau

In honour of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month, a national organization has received federal money to expand its programming. (U.S Department of Agriculture/Flickr)
Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward