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The agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915 January 2017 | Vol. 103 No.1 Help wanted

Jobs outlook bright, but workers needed to fill positions by PETER MITHAM

VANCOUVER – Demand for farm workers will hit 45,000 by 2025, up from approximately 43,300 in 2014, and while the increase doesn’t sound like a lot, an older, diminishing farm work force means there are a lot fewer people available than there was once was.

A recent report from the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) pegs the shortfall in workers at 11,200 by 2025, up from approximately 9,000 today. Statistics Canada, in turn, estimates BC’s farm workforce at just 27,500 in 2014, suggesting the gap between demand and available workers could be even bigger.

To address the shortfall, the province announced $43,500 for a BC agriculture-

Tamara Knott left her 14-hour-a-day tech job to start Vancouver Island’s first freight farm. TAMARA LEIGH PHOTO


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1.888.675.7999 Freight Farm feeds local niche by TAMARA LEIGH

SAANICH – From inside a refurbished freight container, the future of farming is extremely bright. Ribbons of red and blue LED grow lights hang from the ceiling, super- charging the growth of vertical columns of greens. Welcome to Bright Greens Canada, one of BC's first so-called 'freight farms.’ “This is a refurbished 40-foot shipping container that is kitted out as an automated hydroponic farm,” explains Tamara Knott, the owner and operator of Bright Greens Canada. “We grow six different types of lettuce, two types of kale, and flat leaf parsley, and we’re able to do it with 90% less water use than traditional farming, and pesticide-free.”

Knott purchased the unit from Freight Farms, a Boston-based manufacturer that has developed a high-tech vertical farm-in-a-box package that includes basic training, software and equipment, and a built-in community of support from other Freight Farmers across North America. It seemed the perfect transition into farming following her career in project management for the tech sector. “I wanted something I could get started in that would be physically active instead of sitting 14 hours a day,” she explains. “With our family’s interest in local food and high-quality food, safe, healthy food, food sustainability, and food self-sufficiency on the Island, this

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