New Director – Rolf deBruin

What do you know about what LAFS is doing? I am aware of a few things: initiatives around a slaughterhouse, educational workshops, the brand development of Lillooet Grown foods.

What made you want to join the LAFS Board of Directors?
I was part of the working group that created the Agricultural Plan.  I was on the Agriculture Advisory Committee for the SLRD in 2011.  I am excited about the fact that there is lots of opportunity for agriculture here, we have one of the best growing seasons in Canada for all kinds of crops.  I’d like to see that get more attention. The food security goal is fantastic, and I’d say that was my trigger to join the board: I want to see more focus on the underutilized ALR.

What do you plan to bring to the LAFS board?
I hope to come to a number of initiatives to encourage and assist in the development of more added-value acreages.  I would love to see more grapes!  But as a LAFS board member, I’m not solely focusing on that.  Part of the issue here is the huge lot sizes, we need to work with the ALR to create more reasonable farm sizes.  There is much higher productivity with smaller parcel sizes.

What part of LAFS mission are you most passionate about?
Land and farmers.  There is lots of talk of small scale agriculture demanding a premium, and we can’t realise that if we only have huge pieces of land for people to try and use.  For example, Chris Billion produces amazing carrots.  We need more Chris Billions.  So we need to work with the ALR to encourage smaller lots for better access and availability of land.

Future ideas?  Vision for agriculture?
We need to put Lillooet on the map! We need to brand to be able to sell our produce and be recognized as an agricultural region.  This will help bring in new farmers.  We’ve been working on that as a winery – the branding, and now Lillooet is a VQA. Ten years down the road, I’d like to be able to say that we helped found that, and bring more growers and vineyards to the area.
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