Agrifood Investment in Niche Crops/Craft Manufacturing, Greenhousing, Fabrics, Aquaculture, Beverage

Agrifood refers to the production of food agriculturally (as opposed to hunting, trapping or gathering from nature). Agrifood includes the associated value chain – beginning with equipment and inputs for production and flowing through to transportation and the transformation of raw agricultural products through to consumer-ready food products. Also associated is the equipment, inputs (seasoning, preservatives, packaging, storage, marketing) required to complete the transformation into ready to buy or consume products and present it to consumers.

The Agrifood sector may be further defined into product types and markets such as hotel and food service, hospital & institutional (often requiring portion sizing) and grocery / retail. From a consumers’ perspective there may be further segregation of food into branded, processed products, fresh products and convenience foods (such as heat and serve). Retailing of food can also be broken into different types of presentation such as grocery stores, convenience stores, farmers’ markets and direct from producers.

Columbia Valley Land Base

Total arable land (Agricultural Land Reserve): 73,100 hectare (180,650 acres) – 7% of Valley lands

Total current land used for agriculture purposes – 2584 hectares (6385 acres)

  • 99% devoted to produce livestock feed (hay/pasture).
  • 24% are in CLI Agricultural Capability Classes 2 through 4 – capable of sustained production of common cultivates field crops.
  • 43% are Class 5 lands – capable of use only for producing perennial forage crops or specially adapted crops.
  • 26% are Class 6 lands, capable of providing only sustained natural grazing for domestic livestock.
  • 7% are Class 7 lands, incapable of use for either arable culture or grazing

Note: the agricultural capability of a soil can be improved by the addition of manure, compost or fertilizer.

Current Valley Production
Canola, vegetables, berries, very small production of potatoes, ornamental shrubs, nursery, beef producers (20), small number of poultry, sheep/lamb/goat, llama producers, equine (73).

Hardiness zone
5a (north end of valley), 5b (south end of valley). Zones have advanced one since 1961 due to climate change.

45% of cropland.

Key Columbia Valley Anchors

Kicking Horse Coffee
120 employees

Columbia Valley Opportunity

  • Farm to table processing (jams, cheeses, berry syrup, meats, fruits, vegetables, etc.)/retail linked to tourism/farmer’s markets/local supply to restaurants. Organic (higher margin) packaged product potential.
  • Greenhousing (energy re-use potential in Canal Flats, hydroponic/vertical greenhousing)
  • Fibre manufacturing (e.g. clothing – alpaca, hemp)
  • Beverage – brewery, distillery, cidery
  • Niche crops – e.g. nutraceuticals, ethnic foods.

…serving the growing Columbia Valley tourism industry and southern Alberta “fresh” market, and informed by a post-COVID world where food security and local food will take on increased importance.

Downloads & Links

BC Land Matching Program

Did You Know?

95 grapevine varietals can be grown in Zone 5.

Source: Double-A Vineyards

Agrifood is identified as a target sector by the Province of BC

BC Advantages: rich production potential, high food standards, innovation, global markets, transportation advantages, skilled workforce, positive business climate.

Agribusiness is identified as a target sector by Invest in Canada. Canada is the 5th largest exporter ($56 billion, 11% of Canada’s good GDP) of agricultural and agri-food products in the world after the EU, U.S., Brazil, and China. Exports have grown 103% in the last 10 years.*

The sector generates 1 in 8 jobs in Canada, and is the largest manufacturing employer in Canada (250,000 jobs). Canada will soon be 1 of 6 countries in the world to be a net exporter of food and agricultural products.**

* Source: CAFTA – Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance
** Source: Sherwood Park News