British Columbia

Abbotsford farmers host free lunch to thank community for helping them through devastating floods

Abbotsford farmers hosted a free lunch on Saturday to thank community members for help and support during 2021's disastrous floods. 

'What the flood did is it showed that the community has our back,' organizer says

Organizations that market food produced in the Fraser Valley hosted a free lunch at the Abbotsford Exhibition Park on Saturday to thank people who helped farmers during record-breaking flooding last November. (Photo: Amanda Brittain)

Abbotsford farmers hosted a free lunch on Saturday to thank community members for help and support during 2021's disastrous floods. 

Historic rainfall caused catastrophic floods in the Fraser Valley that damaged farms and forced thousands to flee their homes last November. 

The Farmers Thanking the Community event, jointly hosted by several farming industry groups, was held at the Abbotsford Exhibition Park. Guests ate a complimentary lunch featuring locally produced food, entertainment and the chance to talk to local farmers. 

B.C. Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham and Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun spoke at the event, expressing their gratitude for the community's help. 

Amanda Brittain, director of communications and marketing for B.C. Egg and one of the main organizers of the event, said the support farmers received from neighbours was substantial. 

B.C. Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham spoke at the lunch in Abbotsford. (Photo: Amanda Brittain)

"Farmers have always been proud to produce local food for the people of British Columbia, but what the flood did is it showed that the community has our back," said Brittain. 

Brittain said community members played a vital role in helping farmers during the flooding, including rescuing animals, filling sandbags to divert water from entering barns and driving tractors over flooded fields to deliver supplies. 

Months after the flooding, Brittain said neighbours and community members continued to support farmers in their cleanup efforts. 

"One thing that a lot of people don't know about is after the water receded and farmers were left absolutely devastated … the work parties showed up," said Brittain. 

Brittain said in one case, 100 people showed up to help a farmer make repairs and clean up. She said the volunteers cleaned the barn, fixed broken equipment and prepared the house for restoration in one weekend. 

"When we need help they're more than willing to step up…. It really instilled a sense of community, and these days we don't always get that." 

Homes and farmland in the community of Sumas Prairie under water during flooding in Abbotsford, B.C., on Nov. 16, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The event was held in conjunction with marketing organizations for eggs, chicken, turkey, dairy products and hatching eggs —  all industries located in the flood zone that lost animals and property.

 Recovery update

Abbotsford's Braun released a recovery update on Friday which noted that five parks have reopened since the last update in February. Of approximately 300 damaged sites around the city, 167 have now been fully repaired. 

He said the city has focused on cleaning debris in Sumas Prairie over the last month. 

The city's infrastructure recovery team has also started repairing damage sustained at the Barrowtown Pump Station. 

"The residents' willingness to roll up their sleeves and help their neighbours inspires me," Braun wrote.


Michelle Gomez is a CBC writer in Vancouver. You can contact her at


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