Sowing the Future: Land to Table’s Ongoing Commitment to the BX Ranchlands

As we approach the end of 2023, it’s time to shine a spotlight on one of our favourite projects. The BX Ranchlands (BXR) represents the opportunity for community-led growing and infrastructure development for greater food security and resilience, all wrapped up in a beautiful 135 acre parcel of land! Land to Table (L2T) Network has been deeply rooted in the plans for this site since our inception in 2018 – mostly in supporting the visionaries (i.e. the BX/Swan Lake Residents Association and RDNO Electoral Area Directors for areas B and C) and advocating for it to remain in public hands. As the year draws to a close, it’s heartening to see our collective efforts continue to sprout opportunity, and step-by-step progressions toward  a vision for community resilience through farming.

Nurturing a Vision

We turned our attention to the BX Ranchlands in 2020 when the future of the land’s ownership was uncertain. We advocated for a vision that highlighted the crucial role that such agricultural land plays in our local food system and community food security. Fast forward 2-3 years and L2T has been privileged to play an ongoing role in the planning and development of the land as a public asset, now zoned as an agricultural park guided by a site development plan.

Collaborative Planning

In 2021, we joined forces with the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems (ISFS) to craft a five-year development plan for BX Ranchlands, with oversight and guidance from  the Regional District of the North Okanagan (RDNO). This plan ensures that the site, nestled at 4122 East Vernon Rd., remains a protected community resource for agriculture, recreation, and conservation, for years to come.

Infrastructure for Growth

This fall, L2T collaborated with RDNO to identify priority site infrastructure needs crucial for fostering land access. While the RDNO continues to hold the overall vision for the site, and is committed to developing core infrastructure like irrigation, fencing, power, roads, and parking access by 2025, we at L2T are seeking grants to provide critical infrastructure that will support program development, such as land matching for farmers and the production of affordable, healthy food for community programs and services. We see great opportunities to support the creation of a BX Ranchlands community farm; inviting school groups, developing training programs, and providing support for new entrant farmers.

Growing Together

Most recently, the goal for the BX Ranchlands is to invite ten small-scale growers to the land, in partnership with the Young Agrarians (land matching program), to access plots ranging in size from a quarter to five acres. By spring 2026, we envision these farmers not only supporting local food security but also establishing connections with various community stakeholders, including food access agencies, schools, residents, and other farmers engaged in aggregation initiatives for broader market reach.

Why is Land to Table Involved?

At L2T, we are committed to strengthening food systems in the North Okanagan. Our involvement in the BX Ranchlands project stems from our connection to the local agricultural community and our intimate knowledge of the North Okanagan food system. The vision for BX Ranchlands aligns with our core values, including: to work collaboratively, support local farmers, increase access to local food, decolonize our food system, and foster local food resilience.

As the year winds down, our commitment to the BX Ranchlands remains steady. We are excited to continue to work with the RDNO, cultivating not just the potential of young farmers but a resilient and interconnected community through the power of farming. Stay tuned for updates as we continue to support next steps  at BX Ranchlands!

Further Reading

The following provides links to a series of blog posts, written by Land to Table, outlining our engagement in the BX Ranchlands over the years, as well as history of the site: