An organic farmer wades into the muck of the legality of on-farm weddings, because ultimately it’s about food

The weather. The most memorable aspect of the 2015 growing season must be the weather. Although to be honest, at this point it’s little more than a remote impression consisting mainly of heat, flies and forest fire smoke. As always, it seems the minute the snow flies and the kale freezes I have trouble recalling the specific rigours of over-heating, over-working and general discomfort. And now that I am really thinking about it, I detect a sense of unease around my performance level, particularly to do with the carrots, which explains why the recent summer has been so easily consigned to the garbage can of memory specifically intended to carry things upon which I don’t prefer to dwell. Yes, it is quite a full vessel, thank you so much for asking.


To extend this useful metaphor, and perhaps to create more room, I will declare my intention to do some poking around in the trash, certain that there could possibly be interesting or at least useful things in there.

Ah. It’s coming back to me now. I learned a really useful trick for getting heavy tires re-mounted. Also, we employed a very successful method for Tissue Culture plantlet planting.

Seasonal memories and markers flooding the keyboard now: I almost ran over some irrigation pipe in the tall grass, Jennie finished the fence, we skipped the bike ride, dad fixed the unfixable, the carrots were not managed to perfection…

…and it was really, really hot. That part goes back in the trash. In fact, allow me to officially remove the distinction of being memorable. I am now in denial. Please do not disturb.


With that, I turn to this issue of whether or not the province should allow commercial wedding venues on farmland. Currently, and contrary to what you might have heard, the regulations are crystal clear: commercial weddings are officially a non-farm use of farmland (because they are not farming) and therefore the landowner must go through a lengthy process to gain permission to hold a commercial wedding. It’s not confusing. It’s clearly onerous.

It might have been simplistic, but back in the 70’s there was a feeling in BC that if development was not curbed, farmland might be lost. It’s very easy to make more money off farmland by doing things other than farming –event hosting and subdivision as examples. Therefore it is unlikely that a land buyer intending to farm can compete for that land against a buyer intending to make money by doing things other than farming. The Agricultural Land Reserve was thusly created and the economic case for doing anything with arable land other than farming it was removed. It kind of worked better than nothing.

rustic weddings are all the rage

I suppose I might not be so keen to defend the ALR if I didn’t know so much about the fragility of our current mainstream food system, which is making us fat and sick. In fact, I am given to understand that we are degenerating as a species because we are not getting the nutrients we need from over-processed and poorly grown food. It is therefore with utmost conviction that I urge a strong ALR: at least we’ll have land. There is always a chance that an actual farmer may get their grubby hands on it.

Also, from a philosophical standpoint, I’m not really clear on why couples want to get hitched in an environment so completely divorced (irresistible) from the reality of the rest of their lives together. The corollary to it is the humorous droll vignette of farmers choosing to get married on the 18th floor of a downtown high-rise office building, in the boardroom of a medium sized law firm hoping to augment their income a little. It’s not a bad idea: weather not an issue, no bugs, plenty of caterers to choose from, and perhaps there could also be a tour of the filing system as some of the guests might have an interest in law.





One thought on “An organic farmer wades into the muck of the legality of on-farm weddings, because ultimately it’s about food

  1. Bruce Miller says:

    People come to a working farm get married and then leave. Yes we had better control that, it sounds like farmland will suffer .(not) Or will it be an opportunity for a hard working farm family to pay some bills and keep their family farm . I understand local noise bylaws should be followed ,but how else would it bother people? This will be an interesting discussion.

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