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smart farm project

A smart farm is an innovative land use model that provides below-market land access for farmers, while increasing the housing density on small acreages outside of the Agriculture Land Reserve. The Smart Farm project was envisioned by Chad Hershler and Sandy Buck, co-founders of Deer Crossing The Art Farm, based on their own experience trying to maximize use of their land while minimizing their personal footprint.

The Smart Farm Project explores whether increased density on such lots using low footprint cluster designs could catalyze small farms and provide affordable housing for the younger generation of farmers we so desperately need.

The consultant and management team selected four case study properties that reflected a diversity of geography, ownership and potential farm yield. The team then collaborated on a Smart Farm proposal for each property, including: farm plans; designs; legal recommendations; and a feasibility analysis.

The case study approach allowed the team to explore this innovation using real land, real people and real numbers across a spectrum of potential Smart Farm proposals, from the unconventional co-operative driven model through to the more conventional developer-driven one.

Dates: 2011 – present

where are we now?

We are currently in the process of a rezoning application through the local regional district to lead a Smart Farm pilot. This pilot project would allow for two auxiliary dwellings and assembly use for cultural gatherings. Translated into non-“planning” language, this means adding two tiny homes, no bigger than 800 square feet, to our 5-acre property and allowing for a limited number of small gatherings (no larger than 50) of children, youth, adults, and elders to continue facilitating the cultural work of The Art Farm. The pilot would provide much needed affordable housing to members of our community, while also building on the lands potential for food and cultural production.