Recently at the GeoREACH Lab, we have taken an interest in the Community Pasture Program in Atlantic Canada. Its prairie province counterpart is undoubtedly better known for its role in Western Canada’s agricultural recovery after the Great Depression. Still, the initiative was brought to this side of the country as well. In 1962, an Island farmer named Ken MacLean, along with several other community members, founded the Lot 16 Community Pasture. With help from ARDA, and later the LDC, community pastures expanded on PEI beyond Lot 16, and by 1979 the program had over seven thousand acres of land across all three counties.
The program was essential for the implementation of proper pasture management practices on Prince Edward Island. It also provided Island farmers with the chance to pasture their animals for a low price (often less than a dollar per day) and use their lands for hay and silage instead. For much of the 20th century, the main goal of farmers on the Island was to come up with enough fodder to feed the rapidly growing herds. The community pastures helped alleviate some of this demand, which often exceeded what individual farms could meet on their own land and dollar alone.
Using energy analysis tools, we will be exploring the various roles that community pastures have played in the local grazing communities for the past sixty years. Stay tuned for updates!
“Community Pasture.” 1976. In Pages from the Past, edited by Violet MacGregor, Eileen Manderson, Jennie Betton and Etta Hutchinson, 51-52: Lot 16 Women’s Institute.
Prince Edward Island Land Development Corporation: Activities and Impact 1970-1977. 1979. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services Canada. http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2020/eccc/En73-1-16-eng.pdf
Rogers, David. 1963. Grasslands, Pastures, Silage and Hay: A Major Resource of Prince Edward Island. Charlottetown: UPEI.