Need farming tools? Vancouver Island lending library aims to help local growers

North Cowichan council has agreed to grant $15,000 to project

The aim of the lending library is to encourage more locally grown foods to help small-scale farmers access tools they otherwise wouldn’t have. (Pat Martel/CBC)

A new lending library is coming to Vancouver Island but instead of offering books or other typical rental items, it’ll be handing out farming equipment.

North Cowichan council has promised a grant of $15,000 to help establish the agricultural equipment lending library to help with local food production.

Mayor John Lefebure says he supports the program because it fits with the city’s climate goals.

“We have a climate action and energy plan that was created and adopted by council in 2013,” Lefebure said. “In it, one of the goals is to support locally grown food.”

The hope is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that come from the transportation of food, he told Gregor Craigie, the host of CBC’s On The Island.

The council funding is coming from a reserve fund, set aside to support municipal projects focused on reducing energy use and emissions.

Tools of all kinds

Agricultural tools of all kinds, from rototillers to tractors, are on the list of items needed by small-scale farmers.

“We have a lot of small acreage farmers, down as small as a couple of acres, who can actually be very successful with more intensive farming,” Lefebure said.

“[It’s] the kind of tools that are not necessarily available at tool rental companies.”

The program is being put together by the Cowichan Green Community and is expected to be underway by next year’s planting season.

The environmental sustainability non-profit organization is continuing to seek additional funding and grants for the project.

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