Inverness farm land could be offered to immigrants

A group in Inverness County devoted to increasing local food production has begun an inventory of municipal land that could be offered to immigrants.

Local group creating inventory of unused municipal land

A group in Inverness County is building an inventory of municipal land that could be offered to immigrants. (Geoff Robins/The Canadian Press)

A group in Inverness County devoted to increasing local food production has begun an inventory of municipal land that could be offered to immigrants.

Jim Mustard of the Pan-Cape Breton Food Hub said the group is working with the county's municipal staff to see whether there's any public land available.

Jim Mustard, an Inverness County councillor and member of the Pan-Cape Breton Food Hub, says his group is creating an inventory of arable land for immigrants. (Municipality of the County of Inverness)

The idea, he says, is to identify pieces of land, locate them on a map, and then work with the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture to understand the soil types. The goal, he says, is to figure out the food production potential of each piece.

"You can start out on a relatively small acreage and still see pretty good returns," he said. "You're not talking hundreds of acres; you're talking acres up to tens of acres."

The Municipality of the County of Inverness has long been interested in ways to attract immigrants. It has lost tens of thousands of residents to outmigration in recent years.

Mustard, who's also a county councillor, said there's no mechanism set up yet for matching immigrants with producing land, but one option would be through a lease with the municipality.

He said council supports the food hub's efforts to create the land inventory and would be called on to formally approve any plan to make its land available to newcomers.

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