UFV Life in Agriburbia research project on exhibit at The Reach

Showcases changes to agricultural and environmental landscape in valley

As suburban development expands into rural areas, the urban/rural divide gets blurred.

A new “agriburbia” is emerging, where food producers and suburban development converge, creating new and complex challenges.

Life in Agriburbia, led by Dr. Lenore Newman, who holds the University of the Fraser Valley Canada Research Chair in food security and the environment, is a multi-partner research project involving UFV geography students who engaged with a cross-section of the community to understand and examine the evolution of the land reserve. The project also studied land excluded from protection.

The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford is supporting the project with its own Life in Agriburbia exhibit from Nov. 18 to 30. The exhibit showcases maps and photographs clearly illustrating the changes to the agricultural and environmental landscape in the Fraser Valley over the past 40 years.

As the provincial Agricultural Land Reserve marks its 40th anniversary this year, and significant changes to it are being considered by the provincial government, it’s timely to examine the impact that the ALR has had on the B.C. landscape, said Newman.

Understanding the issues that the ALR faces is important for Abbotsford as applications to have land excluded regularly occur, according to Newman.

As the value of farmland continues to increase, fueled in part by demographic changes, pressures to review and revise regulations and property protected in the ALR continue, she notes.

The project was funded in part through a grant from the Abbotsford Community Foundation, and is a project of the Agriburban Research Centre (ARC). For more information, see ufv.ca/agriburban.