Get to Know Us

Who:

We are a group of farmers, concerned citizens, and healthy eaters (or at least, aspiring to be) who have purchased shares in the Horse Lake Community Farm Co-operative, which is an agricultural co-op, operating on 133 acres of heritage farm property (aka “the Betty Place”). The Co-op is run by a board of directors, and the Co-op property is leased to member farmers. The land is currently farmed by CEEDS (Community Enhancement and Economic Development Society) who have over 30 years of experience in cooperative agriculture, and whose friends and supporters are the ‘seeds’ of the Co-operative. The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC) is a major shareholder, and provided considerable help and support in the Horse Lake Farm Co-op development. There are also dozens of chickens, sheep and cows involved, as one of the main activities on the property is livestock husbandry. We have gardens, and host rustic retreats, agricultural workshops, and other educational and fundraising events.

 

What:

The Horse Lake Community Farm Cooperative was incorporated in August 2006 with the objective of protecting the agricultural and ecological integrity of a vital lakeshore acreage. A Co-operative Model was chosen because it satisfied the needs of farmers for secure access to land, it facilitated the purchase of a viable size of property, and finally, this model promoted a vision of community land ownership and usage. While monetary profit is necessary to the survival of the farm, it is not the main goal of the Co-op.

 

Our board consists of Co-op members elected to serve 1-2yr terms (enough to sit comfortably around a coffee table). We also have a number of committees to take on small projects such as our finances. TLC has a seat on our board as part of our agreement with them. The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC), a non-profit, charitable Land Trust, was instrumental in setting up our Co-op. The TLC has been working with BC’s agriculture and conservation communities since 1997, preserving farm and ranch land for its environmental, economic, and social benefits.

 

Where:

The Horse Lake Community Farm Co-operative is located near the town of 100 Mile House, in the South Cariboo region of the province of British Columbia, in Canada. We live in a beautiful area; our natural landscapes attract visitors and new residents, and tourism is a growing industry in our region. Although forestry is the economic mainstay, agriculture was one of the earliest industries to be established here, and ranching retains deep roots in the local economy. This area is largely rural, although our population is slowly growing and small housing subdivisions are numerous, especially along our lakeshores. The Co-op property was originally part of a pioneer homestead located on the Bridge Creek inlet and verdant shores of scenic Horse Lake (map). First Nations’ artifacts found over the years, show a long history of human use. The American Badger (red-listed species), deer, bear, moose, skunks, otters, over 45 species of birds, and a wide variety of flora are found on the farm. A rich riparian area along the creek and lakeshore provides habitat for a vibrant wildlife population.

 

Why:

Our goal is to protect and develop local farming capacity and agricultural resources, together with cultivating an ethical and high quality food supply. As agriculture becomes a more challenging practice, many large, local land parcels are being subdivided. Horse Lake is one of many Cariboo lakes facing increasing development pressure, especially impacting the sensitive riparian (natural waterfront) areas. Before the Horse Lake Co-op existed, “the Betty Place” was being rented to farmers (CEEDS), but went up for sale when the owner retired. There was concern in the community about the loss of this unique gem, because of its history, natural areas, and most importantly, its agricultural productivity. Betty Johnson, the owner, was willing to work with CEEDS, community members and the TLC, to make the Co-operative happen. At the same time, there was increasing public awareness on topics such as food security, the “100 Mile diet”, sustainable agricultural practices, as well as the questionable health of imported, industrial foods. There was, and still is, a lot of community support for this project, and without that community support, the Co-op would have had a very difficult time getting off the ground. (Back to the top)