Burnaby has a proud history of agricultural production that spans 150 years. The City supported the creation and the ongoing protection of 234 hectares of land within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) within the Big Bend district of South Burnaby under the A1 and A3 Agricultural District zoning.
The ALR was established in partnership with the City and Regional District by the Provincial Government through the Land Commission Act passed by the B.C. Legislature on April 18, 1973. The ALR is managed through the provincial Agricultural Land Commission. In addition to the ALR the Big Bend Community Plan also supports the retention of the agricultural and residential land use of the Riverside neighbourhood under the A2 Agricultural District.
Burnaby’s ALR and Riverside neighbourhood have by rich alluvial soils formed from the Fraser River delta. Within the ALR approximately 117 hectares of these highly productive lands are in agricultural production with minor supporting commercial retail and residential uses. This represents a significant increase in land under production as compared with only 42 hectares in production in 1982. In the Riverside neighbourhood an additional 15 hectares of lands remain in agricultural production which represents a increase from the twelve hectares under production in 1982. As of 2011, 43 farms were in operation in Burnaby, most growing field vegetables and greenhouse products. As well, cranberries are one of Burnaby's best known crops. Burnaby's largest farm is operated by Mayberry Farms Ltd., which has 70 hectares of cranberry fields in production.
Protecting Agricultural Land
The long-term protection of Burnaby’s agricultural lands is important for sustainability and is recognized in the City's overall planning framework. Burnaby's Official Community Plan supports protection and expansion of agriculture in the Big Bend area, among other community development objectives.
The City supports and encourages urban agriculture through a number of policies, regulations and initiatives, including those within the following strategic plans:
- the City’s Official Community Plan (OCP), Agriculture Section
- the State of the Environment Report (SOER)
- the Economic Development Strategy 2020 (EDS) which classifies a number of short, medium and long-term agricultural actions; and
- The City’s recently published Social Sustainability Strategy (SSS)
Urban Agriculture Initiatives
Key Civic initiatives and projects to support Urban Agriculture include:
In 2009, City Council approved modifications to the Zoning Bylaw (Section 3 “Accessory Use”) to permit beekeeping (apiculture) in seven residentially zoned districts of Burnaby and within the three agriculturally zoned districts, as shown on this map. Burnaby residents who meet both municipal and provincial requirements are encouraged to explore this rewarding activity.
For more information on Burnaby’s regulations regarding urban apiculture, a brochure is available. Please be aware that all bee colonies must be registered with the Province.
The City of Burnaby also has a bee condo program managed by Parks staff to provide homes for Blue Orchard Mason Bees in the City’s Parks. These native bees are important pollinators, however unlike honey bees do not form colonies nor produce honey.
Farmers Markets offer a lively and fun atmosphere with colourful displays of locally grown produce, baked goods and gourmet products. It's a great place to support the community and meet other locals
Other Farmers Markets in Burnaby include:
- SFU Pocket Farmers Market
- BCIT Farmers Market
If you aren't able to garden at home, community gardens are a great option for you to still be involved in gardening. Community gardens in Burnaby are shared lands where residents can grow food or ornamental plants for personal or household use or for donation.
Community Gardens are not just places to grow food. They also provide community gathering places, offer you a chance to get to know your neighbours, improve community food security, and are a way to learn more about the environment and the natural world. Gardening is also great exercise!
Find out more about Community Gardens in Burnaby.
- Metro Vancouver – Agriculture
- SFU Local Food Project
- BCIT Food Process Resource Centre
- Burnaby Food First
- Vancouver Fruit Tree Project Society
- Feed the Bees
- Farm Folk City Folk
- City Farmer News