Farmland Access Research Project

Farmland Access Research Project

Project Team

Hannah Wittman, Professor, Academic Director, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability


Real Estate Foundation of BC Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

About the Project

The Farmland Access Research Project is a community-based participatory research project which aims to contribute to the understanding of and to providing solutions for sustainable, community-based farmland management for local food production in British Columbia. The research project is currently based out of the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC and is working in partnership with the Community Farms Program and Young Agrarian program of FarmFolk CityFolk. The research project and the development of this website has been funded by the Real Estate Foundation of BC.

Research Project Development

The research project began in 2008 as a partnership between FarmFolk CityFolk, The Land Conservancy of British Columbia (TLC) and Dr. Hannah Wittman who was then a researcher at SFU’s Centre for Sustainable Community Development and Department of Sociology. The initial phases of the research contributed to the development of the Community Farms Program and the Community Farms Network and Dr. Wittman has remained involved as a researcher and advisory member to the Community Farms Program and Network. In 2009 a research report documenting the operations of community farms, the motivations for establishment, the models being used, and challenges and benefits was undertaken by Dr. Wittman with support from FarmFolk CityFolk and TLC. This report was the first documentation of community farm models and exploration of the concept of community-based land reform applied to agriculture in British Columbia.

In 2011 Dr. Wittman began a three-year multi-site global ethnography study to examine unconventional land tenure, community-based land reform and agrarian citizenship in Brazil, Guatemala and British Columbia. The British Columbia portion of the research was a furthering of the research being done in collaboration with the Community Farms Program on alternative land access and tenure in BC. In 2012 Jessica Dennis joined the research project as a Master’s Student working with Dr. Wittman with a research focus on the BC portion of the overarching research project. The current research was expanded to include an examination of emerging beginning and young farmer networks in British Columbia and an integration of beginning and young farmer challenges and needs with the alternative land tenure and access research. Community-based farmland management requires both a sustained and accessible agricultural land base as well as continuing generations of farmers to farm on the land.

Survey, interview, ethnographic and secondary source research was conducted between 2012 – 2014. Preliminary results were shared in a presentation to community stakeholders. See links to other project outputs below.

External Links