The Glen Valley Organic Farm Co-operative owns the stunning 50-acre Glen Valley Organic Farm, located in Abbotsford BC. In existence since 1998, the farm is a successful model of co-operative, organic agriculture. The farm has over 50 shareholders of varying backgrounds, but who all have strong interests in sustainable agriculture and preserving farmland for local food production. The Co-op is incorporated as a co-operative in British Columbia.
Co-operatively preserving and stewarding organic farmland to support farmers in growing quality food for local communities.
The original goals of the co-op when established in 1998 remain priorities today and figure into our decision-making processes. These goals are to: provide access to certified organic food for shareholders and the local community; own and operate the farm co-operatively; steward the entire farm for the mutual benefit of the land, wildlife and people; be a model of sustainable living; and create opportunities to learn about sustainability.
Shareholders and friends of the farm meet regularly for a shared meal and meeting. All major decisions for the co-op are achieved through consensus. We believe this process helps to ensure that issues are carefully thought through before action is taken, that it gives everyone a voice in the process, which results in much greater buy-in by all participants.
Who We Are
Glen Valley Organic Farm Co-operative (GVOFC) acknowledges that we occupy traditional and unceded territory of the Stó:lō First Nation, whose spiritual and cultural traditions have never been extinguished.
Our farmland at 8550 Bradner Road, Abbotsford is certified organic (BCARA) and the whole property is Salmon-Safe Certified. GVOFC is currently home to 4 adults, 3 children, 11 goats, several cats, 2 organic vegetable businesses, a flock of chickens, and many thousands of bees. Our co-operative also has about 50 non-resident shareholding members.
- a co-operative
- committed to environmental sustainability
- a community among communities
- stewards of farmland
- keen on collaborative processes
- endeavouring to expand our self-awareness and personal growth
See below for more details.
- GVOFC is a registered Community Service Co-operative, owned and operated democratically by its members for the good of themselves and the planet. A Board of Stewards provides leadership. Members hold from one to ten shares with a par value of $5,000 each. Read more about the Seven Co-op Principles.
- GVOFC is deeply committed to environmental sustainability. We live and farm with care for the land, air, and water, and for all the wild and domestic life that inhabit this space. We are interested in restoring wetlands and are working on an Environmental Farm Plan. We share and recycle our resources. We are serious: we even recycle our humanure! We farm organically, and our members are active with the BC Association of Regenerative Agriculture, the Community Farm Network, FarmFolk/CityFolk, and the BC Association of Farmers Markets.
- GVOFC is a community, linked to other communities. Farm residents share weekly meals and some holidays, and enjoy each other’s families. Four times a year, the broader community of shareholders meets at the farm and celebrates the seasons. Members keep GVOFC vital with their contributions of work, money, experience, and support. Farm residents often serve as ambassadors for the farm, and host many guests, ranging from university students to shareholders to tourists. We have close relationships with Fraser Common Farm Co-operative, Windsong Co-housing Community, UBC Farm and the Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
- GVOFC stewards the farm and its buildings, providing license agreements to specific farming businesses. Our farmers are responsible for their own business plans, skill development, market research, capital investment, equipment, and building maintenance. We support people informally by sharing experience, knowledge and introductions to other resource people in our networks. Some equipment and building space is currently available for lease with this offering. Glen Valley is a rural space and despite being about an hour from Vancouver, Glen Valley is an isolated part of the Fraser Valley, with no affordable access to high speed internet. The winter nights are long, dark, and quiet which contrasts quite dramatically from the busy, more social summertime.
- GVOFC strives to be very collaborative and relies on a commitment by members to practice and hone our best communication and community-building skills. We find that conflict holds opportunities for identifying needs and generating creative solutions to getting them met. We operate through interweaving circles and committees, and strive to make our decisions by consensus.
- GVOFC’s vision and structure calls us to practice self-awareness and personal growth. We endeavour to clearly articulate our needs, negotiate with others, and work through conflict, without taking it too personally. Personal growth is an ongoing journey: we work at it, get support, fall down, and get up again.
Glen Valley Organic Farm Co-operative
There are lots of ways you can get involved with the Glen Valley Organic Farm community. Come to an open house or become a shareholder or friend of the farm!
Any person over the age of 16 years, who supports the vision, statement of purpose, goals and objectives of the Glen Valley Organic Farm Co-operative (GVOFC), may apply to become a shareholder.
- Own a share of a certified organic farm for only $5,000;
- Enjoy being a part a community where shareholders care about the farm, each other and our planet;
- Participate in management of a successful, dynamic co-op.
GVOFC shares are $5,000 each, payable either as a lump sum, or through a financing arrangement approved by the GVOFC membership team. Please contact Tricia Carpenter at email@example.com for more information on how to do this.
Information about upcoming open houses and special events will be posted on the front page of this website and on our Facebook page.
Glen Valley Organic Farm received its certified organic status in 1992. When the previous owners decided to sell the property there was little interest from potential buyers in keeping the farm in organic certification or growing food for local communities. Given the quality of floodplain soil in the farm’s main fields, members of the local community and organic movement felt it was important to find a way to preserve the farmland.
A group of people formed Glen Valley Organic Farm Co-operative and purchased the farm in 1998. Each member of the Co-operative purchased a $5,000 share. This was initially a risky investment for shareholders. No one knew for sure how the farm would operate or whether farm businesses would be successful enough to pay the rent required to cover a mortgage and various expenses. In order to secure the farm, some members even took out mortgages on their own homes. Vancity Credit Union eventually mortgaged the farm.
Anticipating the creation of the Co-operative, a farm team had already formed and started growng fruits and vegetables in 1997, leasing the land from the previous owners. These farmers continued to lease the land from the co-operative and formed the core businesses that continue to farm the land to this day.
Over the years of operation a number of different businesses and operations have leased land from the Co-operative. By 2007, the farm’s mortgage had been paid off. That same year, the Co-operative welcomed two new farmers who took over responsibility for one of the farm’s business leaseholders as the original farmer retired. In 2009 another long-time farmer left to start her own farm in New Brunswick while a new business moved to the farm.
As an incorporated co-operative, the Glen Valley Organic Farm Co-operative is an example of how a community of individuals concerned about preserving and stewarding organic farmland can take tangible action to achieve their collective goals. In order to operate effectively, the co-operative is structured in the following manner:
Shareholders are the core of the Co-operative’s ability to exist. Through an investment of $5,000, each shareholder provides capital toward the ownership and maintenance of the farm. Many shareholders are also active in decision-making within the co-operative. They attend monthly meetings and participate in committees around subjects such as finances, building and maintenance, communications and housing. The co-operative uses a consensus model for decision-making. All leaseholders on the farm must do work directly related to a farm business and must be shareholders.
Shares in the Co-operative are “par value” shares; they do not increase in value, even if the organization’s assets appreciate over time. This was established to avoid a situation where members might ever try to sell the farm in order to realize capital gains in their investment. A shareholder may redeem their share, provided it does not put the Co-operative in a compromised financial position.
The Co-operative’s Stewards are a team of people who carry out the functions of a Board of Directors, in accordance with strategic direction established by the membership. These volunteers discuss and fine-tune proposals that are to be presented to shareholders, organize monthly shareholder meetings and facilitate communication between various committees and shareholders.
The Co-operative’s Teams function similar to committees. Shareholders with expertise or interest in particular areas of the farm’s operations meet regularly or on an ad hoc basis to establish direction and proposals to the general membership. Examples of teams currently functioning include Finance, Administration and Leases, Housing, Communication, and Building and Maintenance. There is also a Farm Team that includes individuals who work and/or live on the farm.
The Farm Team is comprised of individuals who live and/or work on the farm. These individuals lease land and facilities from the Co-operative and oversee the day-to-day operations of the actual farm. Farm Team members participate at a number of levels of the Co-operative and provide special support to operationalizing the Co-operative’s overall goals. Farm Team members must also be shareholders in the Co-operative.