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General Store Site 12294 Harris Road Pitt Meadows, B.C.

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Woven Through Time - Farming,

Woven Through Time - Farming

Farming in Pitt Meadows

Our second layer in the story of Pitt Meadows is Farms. Pitt Meadows settlers originally came here to farm. Blueberry, Strawberry, Dairy, Cranberry, and many different types of Farmers came to our community to start their life here. A short list of prominent farm families:  Cook, Ford, Park, Sutton, Hopcott, Kennedy, McMyn, Howe, Mitchell, Bruce, Rippington, Loveridge, Severinski, Barnes, and many more. 
Farming is never without risk. Pitt Meadows, although known for its farming and abundant soils, doesn’t always bear fruit for those who work hard. Farmers in the North of Pitt Meadows lowlands had a harder time than those in the abundant highland area, and some had to take assistance from the local government. Lots of farmers who took up land in the area felt angered that they got given this terrible always flooding piece of property, and most would leave rather than stay. That goes for a lot of the Pitt Polder, where many tried to make it work before the Dutch came and settled but just couldn’t (like the Mennonites). Japanese Farmers had found great success in the area (especially with berries) and were part of our community. Unfortunately, in 1942, with fear and anger of war, they were removed from the community following the bombing of Pearl Harbour and taken away to Manitoba to internment camps. None of them returned following the war.
The Greybrook farm
The Greybrook Farm, located on the north side of Dewdney Trunk Road between Rippington and Harris, was once known as the premier dairy farm in the young community of Pitt Meadows. It was serviced by electricity many years before the rest of the municipality, giving it the advantage of modern equipment that could be obtained at any period in its history. A corporate farm, the land was leased to various owners over the years from before the incorporation of this municipality in 1914 until the early 1960s when much of the land was sold for the development of the Pitt Meadows Golf Course that opened in June 1963. At the official opening, then-Mayor Harold Sutton told the gathering -- he had witnessed the farmland cleared from swamp to become one of the most productive dairy farms in the valley, but it had depreciated and was now returned to serve as a permanent recreation service for the people of the Lower Mainland. (History of Pitt Meadows, McDermott, 1967).

Today, all that remains to remind us of its glory days is the old Greybrook farmhouse. At one time dairy farming was the mainstay of Pitt Meadows. It was the very reason the community existed. With farms from the lowlands on the banks of the Fraser and Pitt Rivers and through the highland area to the lowlands to the north and south of the Lillooett/Alouette River, many of these farm families and corporate entities are remembered in the names of Roads in the community including O’Neil, Park, McMyn, Kennedy, Mitchell, and so many more. With the advent of better dyking techniques brought to Pitt Meadows by the Dutch in the early 1950s, dairying expanded into the area that would be known as Pitt Polder. Leasehold dairy farmers operated there for decades under the ownership of the Pitt Polder Corporation. They were the first successful dairy farmers in an area known for its spring flooding that had driven out all other farming attempts before the 1950’s.
Farming in Pitt Meadows Today
Today, while there is still a community of dairy farmers in Pitt Meadows, agriculture has moved to more intensive practices such as green housing and berry farming. Farming in Pitt Meadows has moved from smaller farms to much larger-scale farming. With the rise of automation and robots in farming, we’re seeing the movement away from the basic farmer. The farmer who raised his cattle by hand, got up at the crack of dawn to milk them, muck out their barns, and did this on repeat every single day. Now a farmer has a much larger operation than they would have had 100 years ago because technology has helped them grow.