Time running out for agriculture co-operative to purchase farm

The CCAC has less than two months to come up with the down payment for a 56-acre farm

The clock is ticking for the Community Created Agriculture Co-operative (CCAC) in its plans to create a large-scale food production co-op in the Comox Valley.

Proposed by engineer Eduardo Uranga, molecular soil biologist Thierry Vrain, and former UBC and McGill University researcher Dave Klassen, the CCAC aims to buy a local farm and convert it into an agriculture co-operative.

(An agriculture co-operative is a farm in which farmers pool their capital and their resources in certain areas of activity).

Read More: Comox Valley group plans large-scale agriculture co-operative

The CCAC’s goal is to produce, process, preserve, store and deliver organic and glyphosate-free food to 300 pre-paid subscribers in the Comox Valley. Uranga said the co-op would operate under community-supported agriculture principles, in which people pay in advance for a pre-specified amount of food. Their money in turn funds the production costs.

Last summer, the production group behind the CCAC — made up of about a dozen farmers, scientists, and other Comox Valley residents interested in the project — aimed to buy a 56-acre plot of land located behind the Wal-Mart in Courtenay for $1.35 million and convert it into an agriculture co-op.

The land currently houses a tree nursery and, according to Uranga, already has much of the infrastructure necessary to be converted into an organic food production hub.

But the down payment for the farm is due March 1, and the group is no closer to purchasing it than they were four months ago, despite securing a purchase agreement with the landowner in August.

Uranga said the group’s crowdfunding campaign to raise $300,000 for the down payment failed to garner much support last fall. The campaign sought to convince 300 people in the Comox Valley to contribute $1,000 to the initiative, for which they would receive $100/year of food from the co-operative, for life.

“It didn’t really go very well,” said Uranga of the crowdfunding campaign. “We only had 14 subscribers out of the 300 we needed.”

Furthermore, Uranga said none of the credit unions in the Comox Valley wanted to get on board with the initiative. The CCAC aimed to apply for a $3-million loan from the federal government through the Canadian Agricultural Loans Act program.

“…all the local credit unions — all of them — refused to participate. When I approached them, they said ‘we’re not interested in agriculture’,” said Uranga.

On a more positive note, the CCAC was able to become incorporated in December, meaning the group can now apply for funds from the B.C. government to prepare a business plan.

Despite the lack of progress thus far in financing the initiative, Uranga says he remains optimistic in his dream of establishing the Comox Valley’s first large-scale agriculture co-operative.

“We’re revamping the campaign now, upgrading it to a more aggressive promotion to raise the funds,” he said.

“We’re looking for an ‘Angel.’ Someone who will put up the money to do the down payment so we don’t need the backers. But we still think having backers not only helps the financing but also locks the consumers.”

Uranga said that refunds to any subscribers would be provided if the 56-acre farm is not purchased by June 30.

Just Posted

Comox Valley teen with autism a spectacular guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in Port Alice exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Seventh annual Campagnolo Lecture coming to Courtenay

Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould to speak

School for students on Hornby Island ‘normal as can be’: portables expected in new year

While it’s not an ideal situation, the return to school for students… Continue reading

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

Spencer O’Brien part of Indigenous Sport Gallery

Olympic snowboarder included in Hall of Fame exhibit

B.C. man who left hospice to run in upcoming election dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Tilray Inc sees $10-billion in market cap go up in smoke

Tilray’s share price closed at $123 US on Friday, a decline from its intraday peak of nearly $300 US earlier in the week

Most Read