From the 2013 Influencer Index: As co-founder of the Agricultural Land Reserve and a Richmond councillor, Harold Steves is speaking up for B.C. farmers
With roots that trace to the pioneering days of Richmond, Harold Steves has made his mark close to home. A lifelong farmer and cattle breeder, he comes from a long line of influential agriculturalists—the town of Steveston is so named for his family.
A Richmond city councillor since 1977, the former MLA left an indelible impression on B.C.’s agriculture industry as an advocate. In the early 1970s, Steves helped to found the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), a controversial collection of 47,000 square kilometres of land across the province designated purely for farming and agricultural uses. Today he’s an active member of the Farmland Defense League, which monitors usage of the ALR and has a mandate to protect B.C. farmlands, and he serves on a number of boards including chairing the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Committee for the Richmond City Council and representative for the Agricultural Advisory Committee. Formerly, he was chair of agriculture for Metro Vancouver and he’s been working on a regional food system strategy with an aim to maintain a secure, quality food supply for the region’s growing population. And the 75-year-old has no plans to slow down anytime soon.
“It’s an exciting time for B.C. agriculture. More consumers recognize the high quality of food produced locally here in B.C.,” he says. “People want to know what is in their food and how it is produced. We are witnessing a return to direct marketing and farmers’ markets, urban agriculture, community gardens, home gardening and organic farming methods.”