The Need for Agricultural Organization

The late 1880s and early 1890s were a time of ferment in agriculture in British Columbia. The B.C.F.G.A. was born in that atmosphere of agricultural organization. Production in British Columbia had grown to the point where a more sophisticated marketing system other than small, private sales to local merchants was needed. The Canadian Pacific Railway opened up new possibilities - in 1888 Winnipeg received its first shipment of Chilliwack fruit. British Columbian fruit was winning prizes and arousing interest in exhibitions as far afield as eastern Canada and even England. But there was little guidance or assistance for the prospective orchardist. The federal Department of Agriculture could offer only very limited help, and the provincial Department existed on paper only.

Self-help seemed the answer, particularly after the growers heard a talk by Alexander Macdonald Allan, president of the Fruit Growers' Association of Ontario (organized in 1859). Allan visited the West Coast in November of 1888, and R.E. Gosnell, the City Editor of the Vancouver News-Advertiser, who "was of a horticultural frame of mind", arranged with Mayor Oppenheimer for him to speak to a meeting of the Vancouver City Council and members of the Vancouver Board of Trade. Allan urged his audience to "one and all work, speak, write and think for the interests of horticulture".

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