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CBT to support local food growers adapting to climate change

The Columbia Basin Trust is providing grants aimed at supporting adaptation to climate change to 26 farms around the region.

“These farms are taking this opportunity to more confidently address the challenges associated with climate change,” said Justine Cohen, Manager, Delivery of Benefits, Columbia Basin Trust. “The benefits will also stretch beyond the climate, including helping to ensure that people in the region have access to locally produced food and supporting businesses that provide local livelihoods.”

CBT officials said the program was open to farms and First Nations that grow grains, vegetables, fruit or forage; produce honey; or raise livestock for meat, dairy or eggs.

The projects fit into four general categories.

“This includes adding solar panels to generate electricity or doing energy retrofits to improve a farm’s energy efficiency, such as adding roof insulation or heat pumps to farm buildings,” said CBT officials. “It also includes adapting to climate change impacts, such as adding shade to protect crops or livestock, or improving site drainage. Finally, it could involve reducing greenhouse gas emissions, such as switching to electric machinery.”

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More than $1 million is being split between 28 projects. You can see details on these initiatives below.

Wycliffe, Apple Quill Farm – $42,700

CBT officials said Apple Quill Farm will use its grant to install a solar array, in-ground radiant tube heating system, thermal curtain and shade cloth.

“With a changing climate and unpredictable summer heat waves, consistent local produce throughout the year is food security at its best,” said Marie-Eve Fradette, Owner. “In the cooler season, more effectively warming and maintaining the growing environment increases plant growth, reduces plant stress and lengthens our growing season. Plus, going solar aligns with our values, reducing our carbon footprint.”

The farm grows raspberries, garlic, beets and tomatoes which are sold on-site and at nearby farmers’ markets.

Cranbrook, Jordan Thibeault – $28,000

The Trust said Jordan Thibeault, a cattle and sheep rancher, will use the grant to upgrade the farm’s irrigation system. This will be used to grow feed and hay for livestock.

“While enabling us to produce a more healthy and productive forage crop, our project will increase our climate adaption by allowing us to use less water by reducing evaporation,” said Thibeault. “Also, the improved pumping system will allow us to use less electricity for every gallon of water pumped.”

Salmo, Salix and Sedge Farm – $21,700

CBT officials said Salix and Sedge Farm has been in operation for 10 years, and their grant will be used to help them stay in operation.

The money will help pay for and install a solar array and two hoop houses.

“The solar array will improve our farm’s energy efficiency by generating renewable solar electricity,” said Brendan Parsons, Co-owner. “The hoop houses will increase our climate resiliency by allowing us to grow more food earlier and later in the season, as well as protect our crops from extreme weather events such as hail, windstorms and unseasonable frosts.”

Creston, Shukin Orchards – $77,100

The Trust said Shukin Orchards will use its grant money to help electrify their farm equipment.

The orchard has been around since 1935 and boasts over 280 acres, with four varieties of cherries on offer.

They will use their grant funding to replace their gas tractors with four electric tractors.

“Adopting electric tractors will help with decreasing the amount of fossil fuels our farm uses on a daily basis, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and creating less noise pollution within farming communities,” said Ken Shukin, President. “Electric tractors offer a viable solution for farmers who are looking to reduce their environmental impact and still increase profitability.”

Nelson, Sitkum Creek Farms – $28,600

CBT officials said Sitkum Creek Farms had new owners since 2015, who have since expanded from garlic and into pumpkins, honey and eggs.

Their funding will be used to upgrade its irrigation infrastructure.

“Improving watering efficiency and ensuring that water gets delivered adequately will help us maintain current operations in light of climate change, plus enable our farm to grow,” said Catherine Rice, Owner. “In addition, increased local food production will increase local food security and diversity, reducing reliance on imports.”

The rest of the projects and their funding amounts can be found below.

More: CBT Farm Smart grants

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