A petition has been launched by Surrey’s Heppell’s Potato Farm to save their land from being sold and becoming industrial property by the federal government.
Located on 192 Street and 36 Avenue, the Heppell family has been running their farm on the 220-acre plot of land for 50 years, according to a news release from Surrey First Coun. Linda Annis on Tuesday (June 21).
“If you’ve tasted fresh B.C. field vegetables (think nugget potatoes, carrots, cabbage) in the summer – between May-Long and Canada Day – there’s a good chance they were produced on this farmland parcel,” the farm states under its petition.
The Heppell’s lease the land from the federal government, but it is now contracted for sale to be developed into industrial buildings.
The province’s Agricultural Land Reserve does not protect the property as it does other farms, and the federal government is not bound by the ALR’s protection system, the Heppells further state.
“One of the biggest lessons we learned during the pandemic was the need for food security and protecting our food supply chain,” Annis said, adding that Heppell’s farm needs to be protected.
Wanting to spread the word, Tyler Heppell took to TikTok to inform British Columbians about how they can help save their farmland and the services their produce serves.
The petition had gained over 26,000 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon, with other Surrey farmers included in the count.
“Surrey is fortunate as a big city that still has farmland, and we should be holding onto that capacity to grow our own food,” Annis said. “The federal government needs to make the agricultural value of this land a priority, and so should Surrey City Hall.”
The Heppell family is urging the public to continue signing the petition, especially, the family notes, as food costs continue to rise throughout the province.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum stated support for keeping the land as-is.
“If the federal government were to make this property available to the City of Surrey, I would ensure an offer would be made. If successful, I would pledge that the property would remain as farmland so it can produce harvest after harvest for generations to come,” he said.
To view the petition, visit www.change.org/p/protect-early-farmland-in-bc.