The FARM Community Council

Rate this Entry
As I work to have the BC FARM Knowledge Network gain some traction, it strikes me that it would be useful to give a bit of a brief history of the FARM Community Council, and what it stands for.

Please keep in mind this is from my understand of its history. Some of you may know better, or see things differently. If so, chime in.

If what it stands for in the 13 points offered below sound familiar and interesting, keep in mind that they were developed some 15 years ago. The interesting thing to me is that they are still current and, if anything, more alive and relevant than ever.

The FARM Community Council began in 1995, the same year that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada introduced the Canadian Adaptation and Rural Development Fund (CARD). FARM's establishment was the direct outcome of a 1995 Farmer's and Women's Institute Advisory Board Conference, an event put on by the provincial government of the day.

The turnout to the conference included representatives of Farmer's Institute Districts (there were 60 Institutes in the province at the time), representatives of the provinces 115 Women's Institutes plus, for this occasion, representatives of such associated food and agriculture groups as the BC Farm Women's Network, the Certified Organic Association of BC, the Direct Farm Marketing Association and two rural-urban interface groups, Farm Folk/City Folk of Vancouver and the Cornucopia Coalition of Victoria.

Several of the groups later participated in formalizing the Council. Here is what finally emerged as the FARM Community Council Principles and Beliefs.

The FARM Community Council believes in:
  1. representing rural and community agriculture interests
  2. a confederation of community groups whose common interest is sustainable agriculture
  3. strength through cooperation while recognizing the diversity of the membership
  4. increasing the community's understanding and awareness of sustainable agriculture practice
  5. creating a community culture around local food production
  6. recognizing the value of the direct connection between consumers and producers in local food production
  7. respecting both the vocation and business of agriculture
  8. developing and maintaining communication networks with farm membership, farm organizations, related industry sectors, government and the general public
  9. educating non-agriculture community and business groups and local governments on the economic, social and environmental benefits/contributions of locally based agriculture
  10. agriculture considered and included in local community planning
  11. the quantitative and qualitative benefits and value of agriculture to BC communities
  12. providing a forum for problem solving within the membership
  13. the value of effective communication processes within the membership