Celebrating five years of Winter Mixers in the Okanagan, we’re back at the location of the first ever mixer – the beautiful Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna, BC!
Summerhill Pyramid Winery gives us more space for sessions and gathering with a beautiful backdrop of Okanagan Lake and the vineyard. Based on your feedback and insights we’ve crafted an awesome program for this year’s Okangan Winter Mixer with a full two days of workshops and sessions you will be sure to sharpen your farm and business skills, and build connections with other new farmers. We will have two streams of content that will kick start new farmers, and that will deepen the knowledge and success of those with a few seasons in their pocket.
Saturday night we will host a great community Potluck, hear your stories at the Farmer Slideshow, and enjoy a fire in the Kekuli.
WHEN: Saturday January 27 – Sunday January 28, 2018
WHERE: Syilx Territory – Summerhill Pyramid Winery, 4870 Chute Lake Rd, Kelowna, BC
COST: Sliding scale $65-125. All funds raised go to covering the cost of the event. Thank you for your support! Work trade options are available, please contact Emily at email@example.com.
COMMUNITY POTLUCK & SOCIAL
When: 6:30pm-9:30pm, Saturday, January 27 2018
The Community Potluck is free, open to all ages, and for the whole community (not just those attending the Mixer). Just bring a dish to share! Invite your friends and family – the more, the merrier!
Quick Links to Important Information
WINTER MIXER SCHEDULE
We’ve been working hard to bring you a full and inspiring agenda, and many opportunities to connect and build relationships. There will be hands on sessions, open discussions, and formal presentations – something for everyone! Based on your feedback we’ve focused on the themes of soils, water, and business skills like planning, marketing, and crop planning – along with a sprinkle of other awesome topics. We’ve asked our presenters to consider the impact of climate change, extreme weather, and what builds a resilient farm, and to weave this into their sessions. There is something for everyone – whether you’re growing vegetables, fruit, or livestock.
YA Mixers are known for the remarkable connections that can happen at them, such as new possibilities for selling, meeting someone with the land that you would like to work, or identifying a shared interest/resource. To make the most of this, come to the mixer with an openness to meet new people, share something that you have to offer (like employment, land or special skills) and something that you might need (such as specific tools, crop planning models, or mentorship).
Session Descriptions & Presenter Bios
Opening with Pauline Terbasket & Dixon Terbasket
suiki?st Pauline Terbasket is a proud Syilx woman, member of the Syilx Okanagan Nation, and Executive Director of the Okanagan Nation Alliance. When she first headed up the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA), the organization had a handful of employees. Now, after 20 years of innovation and management growth, she oversees an annual budget of 12M. Pauline is passionate about Nation building and Indigenous revitalization and has served on many volunteer boards, including a term as Chair of the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation. A strong advocate for tackling the issues impeding the prosperity and wellness of Indigenous people, her work has addressed the full spectrum from children, youth, families, and elders to language, culture, health governance, and traditional foods. She loves to share the story of how the Syilx Nation spearheaded the return of the Okanagan sockeye salmon from the brink of extinction. Two of her current passions are speaking up for Indigenous food sovereignty around the world and championing the BC-based IndigenEYEZ empowerment program.
Two Levels of Business Planning Workshops!
with Chris Bodnar
Chris will be back at the Okanagan Winter Mixer this year presenting business workshops for farmers in start-up, and for those who are more experienced. Chris will be offering his Introduction to Farm Business Planning for those of you just getting started. He’ll also offer a session on using Farm Financials to Benchmark and Evaluate Performance for those of you who already have the basic business skills.
Level I: Farm Business Planning: Chris Bodnar will be presenting a workshop for beginning farmers about farm business planning. He will share tools and techniques for creating an effective farm planning system that incorporates crop and/or livestock planning and sales projections.
Level II: Using Farm Financials to Benchmark and Evaluate Performance: This workshop will offer experienced farmers an opportunity to dig into their financial statements to better understand how to evaluate their performance. **Participants can submit their financial statements prior to the workshop so the facilitator can strip identifying information, calculate ratios and provide a performance comparison between different farm participants**. This will provide the basis for establishing a peer group where participants can develop an understanding of how they might share information to evaluate performance in the future without disclosing sensitive financial data.
**Please contact Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how to pre-submit your financial statements.
Chris Bodnar co-owns and operates Close to Home Organics with his wife, Paige, at Glen Valley Organic Farm in Abbotsford. Now in their tenth season of farming, Chris and his family have learned some of the challenges and opportunities of farming on a small scale in the organic sector. They operate a 135-member Community Shared Agriculture program and sell at two weekly farmers markets during the farming season. Prior to farming Chris earned a PhD in Communication from Carleton University. His academic interests continue through teaching and writing. Chris teaches the business planning components of Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Sustainable Agriculture program. Chris sits on the board of the Mount Lehman Credit Union. He does business planning consulting with small-scale farmers and is a mentor with the Young Agrarians’ BC Business Mentorship Network.
Dig into Soils
with Emma Holmes
Soil Basics: Join in this workshop to learn the basics of understanding your soils, such as texture, structure, and the different management considerations. You’ll learn about things like what different soil textures can tell you about soil nutrient and water holding capacity, and what management considerations to keep in mind when you irrigate, apply amendments, and cultivate these soils. Emma will also get some farmer2farmer knowledge exchange going about cultivation practices and where good places are to buy amendments, mulches, etc.
Soil Biology: Healthy soil is full of life. In one tablespoon, there are over 7 billion microorganisms! This workshop will provide you with an overview of the different players in the soil food web and their role in supporting a healthy ecosystem, as well as strategies for supporting robust soil biota including details on assessing the biology of your soil, compost tea, indigenous microorganisms, and bio-fertilizers.
Taking & Interpreting Soil Tests: In this workshop Emma will walk you through the steps to properly take a soil sample and provide recommendations for labs to send it to. Often soil test results can be confusing to understand and interpret into steps you can take to improve your soil/nutrients. Emma will show you how to interpret and make sense of your soil test results. This workshop will also include a discussion on different soil nutrients (ex. N-P-K, micronutrients), and soil indicators like OM%.
Emma will also offer 3 to 5 one-on-one consults with people who have a soil test lab result from Pacific Soil Analysis Inc or a lab that uses M3 extraction. Bring your soil test results with you to the Mixer, and find Emma at the break after the introduction circle on Saturday morning to book a consult session.
Emma Holmes digs soil. She is an agrologist with the BC Ministry of Agriculture and the Soil Instructor for Kwantlen’s Tsawwassen Farm School. She grew up in North Vancouver and completed her B.Sc in Sustainable Agriculture and M.Sc. in Soil Science, both in UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems. In 2015, Emma did an internship with the Bullock Brothers Permaculture Homestead on Orcas Island and in 2016 she was the Farm Manager for Duck Creek Farm, a 13-acre organic farm and orchard on Salt Spring Island. She has been consulting for farmers and gardeners who want to build healthy, balanced soil since 2011.
Orchard Pruning & Grafting
with Molly Thurston
OFFSITE WORKSHOP @ CLAREMONT RANCH ORGANICS: Basics of Orchard Pruning & Bench Grafting: In this workshop Molly will cover basic pruning theory (why, when and how to prune for crop yield and quality), selection, and care and sanitation of pruning tools will be discussed and demonstrated. She will provide an on-farm demonstration of pruning on apple, pear, peach and plum trees. Sorry folks, no cherries! Please dress for the weather because this session will be OUTDOORS (warm clothing, snow boots, etc).
In the second half of this session, Molly will cover the basics of bench grafting fruit trees. This will include scion and rootstock selection, and a demonstration of cutting, wrapping and storing scion wood. Expect to learn about the basic tools for bench grafting and get a little bit of hands-on practice. This session will immediately follow the pruning session and will be held in an unheated building, so please dress for the weather (warm clothing, snow boots, etc).
Please consider car pooling to this session (use the Facebook page to connect), and pre-register so we know how many people to expect and what the experience levels of the group are (everyone is welcome!) – registration coming soon!
Molly Thurston was born and raised in the Okanagan and spent her teenage years working on local farms, which ignited her passion for agriculture. Since 2015, Molly has been a Horticulturist with the BC Tree Fruit Cooperative, providing extension services to fruit growers in the Kelowna area. Molly is co-owner of Claremont Ranch Organics, a certified organic orchard located in Lake Country, BC. Molly shares the farm with her partner Matt, sons – Gus and Garnet, and a motley crew of dogs and cats.
A Grower’s Approach to Organic Orchard Pest Management
Crop Planning for Profitability
with Seann Dory
Learn a crop planning and record keeping system, and general principles for creating your own system. The crop planning method will help you manage a CSA, farmers markets and help translate your market goals into a useable crop plan. The method is meant to streamline your communication around plantings, harvest time and fields prep. There will be plenty of examples and spreadsheets!
Seann J Dory farms on Vancouver Island at Salt & Harrow Farm. Before starting Salt & Harrow, Seann was the Co-Director and Founder of Sole Food Street Farms, a social enterprise that provides jobs and agricultural training for people in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. Seann is a founding member of the Young Agrarians; an initiative to recruit, promote and support young farmers in Canada. Seann speaks regularly at events including the Young Farmers Conference at Stone Barns and the EAT! Festival. Seann in a member of the National Farmers Union and is part of the steering committee for the National New Farmers Coalition, working on farm policy to reduce barriers for new farmers entering agriculture.
Water Management in a Changing Climate
with Tayler Krawczyk
An Introduction to the Integrated Water Management Toolbox: Managing water resources on the farm is no doubt one of the biggest challenges facing farms around the world; and BC is no exception. Balancing retention & drainage is no easy task as our climate heads towards more pronounced extremes. Mitigating extended drought and crippling floods requires a healthy watershed that functions as a living, breathing sponge. This workshop will explore some of the tools we have in the toolbox to encourage functional farm water cycles while maintaining productivity on the farm.
- Hydrological Cycle and the Farm Landscape
- Keyline Geometry and Working with Landform
- Keyline Plowing for Compaction & Water Management: Lessons Learnt from 3 Year Soil Monitoring Program
- The Role of Multi-Functional Trees in the Farm Landscape
- The Role of Animals in Building Soil & Cycling Nutrients
- Drainage Techniques & Alternatives for Bottomlands
Irrigation Pond Design & Construction: With more erratic and extreme precipitation patterns emerging, on-farm water storage is becoming increasingly important. Wells and/or municipal water can be reliable, but as groundwater recharge decreases, farm irrigation increases and water restrictions come into play, there is a need to diversify. This workshop will explore some of the things to consider when planning a farm irrigation pond.
- Review of regulations: water licensing (Water Sustainable Act) & Dam Safety Board regulations; municipal soil movement
- Sizing the pond (irrigation, evaporation %, seepage, environmental reserves)
- Using topographic maps
- Siting (resources for catchment analysis)
- Spillways and other design features
- What to do with excess fill material?
- Construction & earthmoving considerations
- Online GIS Tools for Water Management Planning
Tayler Krawczyk is an ecological landscape designer, permaculture practitioner and project manager. Most recently, he and his team have completed a 3-year Keyline Water Management Project in the Capital Region, BC, that included keyline plow field trials, soil health monitoring and educational seminars. Focusing on edible landscaping and regenerative landscape design, he operates Hatchet & Seed, with his wife Solara Goldwynn.
Marketing for Success:
with Heather O’Hara
Participants will learn best practices of successful farmers who sell at farmers’ markets including: finding a farmers’ market, how to become a farmers’ market vendor, how to maximize and leverage your farmers’ market storefront to build sales and customers in multiple sales channels, and marketing and merchandising tips.
Panel: Working to Grow the Small Scale Agriculture Economy
Richard Vignola, Kristen Nammour, and Heather O’Hara will share their ideas and perspectives on what it takes to build a thriving small scale ag economy in our region. They each bring a different perspective and wealth of experience to the table. This is also a great session for asking questions and diving into the discussion about what we can do to build our local economy and demand for our products.
- Heather O’Hara – Executive Director of theBC Association of Farmers’ Markets (bio above)
- Kristen Nammour – Kristen has has been involved with a variety of BC food systems ranging from a small balcony garden to a six-acre mixed-vegetable organic farm and from food hubs to community-supported-fisheries. Currently she combines her love of growing with her business background to manage the YA Business Mentorship Network, a program dedicated to supporting the development of business skills in new farmers. She enjoys watching chickens, all things kale, and spread-sheets.
- Richard Vignola – Richard has been active in the ‘grass roots’ food movement for over forty years; linking farming families the world over with consumers across Canada. Through the company he founded, Rancho Vigona, Richard has striven to provide that vital link link between farmers and consumers. Rancho Vignola provides new crop nuts and dried fruit through a consumer direct distribution system. Since moving into their Armstrong facility a few years ago, space became available for a storage and cooling facility, giving local growers and food processors the opportunity to store, cool or freeze their produce. Operating side-by-side with Rancho Vignola, a new company Rancho Cooling was formed in 2013, and is now the official owner of the 56 thousand sq. ft. facility (the former Armstrong cheese plant,) and ready to become Rancho’s North Okanagan Food Hub! Rancho’s vision includes a certified production kitchen; to help local agrarians develop ‘value added’ food products for wider distribution, a ‘farmer owned’ retail store outlet selling local and specialty products, always with a focus on the human stories that make these foods so much more than just commodities.
Panel: Human Resources on Small Farms
- how to evaluate the cost/benefits of having an employee(s)
- what’s the difference between an employee, a contractor, an intern, and a woofer?
- what are some of the tax, costs (CPP, EI, work safe, etc), and legal implications of having employees?
- Seann Dory: Salt & Harrow Farm
- Eva-Lena Lang: Employee on many farms
- Steve Meggait: Fresh Valley Farm:
Steve Meggait is a 4th generation farmer in Armstrong BC. Although relatively new to farming as a career, his 5 years of experience running Fresh Valley Farms have taught him a lot about the small-scale pastured meat industry. Steve’s farm produces beef, pork, chicken, grain, and hay, and markets all of the products directly to consumers through a 120-member CSA box program. Steve is also half owner of Armstrong Artisan Meats ltd an abattoir for chickens and turkeys. The nature of both animal farming and processing offer unique challenges in staffing. Steve will be talking about his experience with volunteer farm workers and some casual employees.
Eva-Lena Lang: Growing up on a family farm in the North Okanagan, I gained a love for creating and sharing good food. I have since gained invaluable experience working and volunteering in BC and Europe and am passionate about sustainable agriculture and growing healthy communities. I am currently pursuing my Masters in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies program at UBCO to further my capacity to support our local food economy and small scale farmers.
Farming at Summerhill Pyramid Winery: A Tour
Gabe Cipes is a biodynamicist and permaculture designer practicing at Summerhill Pyramid Winery. He is offering a tour of the various farming endeavours that he and his department have incorporated into the farm individuality. This include apiaries, poultry, static, vermicomposting and windrow composting systems, the 9 biodynamic preparations, wastewater swales, huglekulture, wildcrafting, artisanal product development, a polycutural management strategy for viticulture incorporating grains, legumes, chickens and herbs into the vines, a 3/4 acre no-till culinary garden approaching it’s 11th season, a passive solar greenhouse, and forest gardens. Gabe is also a director for the COABC, Demeter Canada and BDASBC and is happy to advise those seeking Organic certification.
You’ll be heading outside for this session, so please dress appropriately for the (cold) weather!
Integrating Livestock into Your Crop Rotations
with Corine Singfield
Until recently, farms were integrated systems where livestock, crops, forage and wildlife all played vital roles in soil health and productivity. This workshop is about how to bring mixed and integrative systems back into your farm to increase resilience and ecological function. Did you know that pigs can be used to manage cover crops without machinery? Help you control pests (like cabbage moth and flea beetle) and disease? Build soils and increase carbon sequestration? Geese will mow your orchard while ducks will control pests. Chickens are the ultimate nutrient recyclers.
We will look at some of the finer details about integrating animals on the farm including function, nutritional requirements, shelter, timing, stocking rates & carrying capacity and economic feasibility. Bring your farm specific questions!
Corine Singfield manages the Tsawwassen Farm School (TFS) at the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at KPU. The TFS is an educational mixed farm that grows fruits and veggies for market and livestock on pasture. Started in 2015, the Farm School settled on 20 acres of severely depleted and compacted land in the Fraser Delta. With a focus on restoring soils, Corine has experimented with a lot of different techniques but none yielded such striking results as the full integration of animals in the whole farm systems and crop rotations. Recently she has shifted her focus to researching how pigs can help restore soils back to health and make them suitable for crop production and is completing a Master degree at UBC on the topic. Previously, she was farming and managing a multi-farm CSA in Bella Coola, using pigs to clear forested land as an off-grid homesteader and making all the mistakes and learning tons. For more info on the Farm School and to get in touch: http://www.kpu.ca/tfnfarm
Small Engine Repair & Maintenance
with Danny Harris
Who is Danny Harris? Well, Danny Harris is 35 year old family man at heart, who moved to the Okanagan 8 years ago from the Sunshine Coast. Danny and his family are passionate about the outdoors, and spending time together. Danny has 17 years of mechanical experience. He holds a Red Seal Heavy Duty Equipment Technician licence, a Red Seal Commercial Transport Technician licence, a valid motor vehicle inspectors license, A BC Diesel Engine Technician licence as well as numerous other manufacturer specific certificates. Danny’s in school training was done at BCIT and VVI in the lower mainland. In 2014 Danny and his wife Heidi started a company called Harris Repairs, and with determination and commitment they haven’t look back since. They strive to be a business that provides an open honest service, and encourages they’re clients to be more self sufficient with they’re equipment. Danny currently provides mechanical service and advice to numerous farms, nurseries and construction outfits of all ranges. Harris Repairs provides mobile service to the greater Okanagan area, while the shop facility is located on their acreage in Enderby.
Yoga & Stretching for Farmers
with Tara Nakashima
Tara will take the group through a friendly yoga session focused on simple poses to help farmers. A lot of us spend a lot of time squatting and bent over, and our lower backs notice the strain! We’ll learn some yoga poses to help access our core and support ourselves when we’re working in these postures. This session will have limited spots, and we’d appreciate if you could bring a yoga mat too!
Tara Nakashima completed her 500-hour Moksha Yoga teaching training in 2011. Her studies continued in Nepal where she attended a Buddhism and meditation course at the Kopan Monastery in India, where she studied Sivananda Yoga. Most recently, Tara was in Ireland for a mediation retreat focusing on Sogyal Rinpoche’s teachings.
Tara enjoys spending time in her garden and orchard where she and her partner, Christian, hope to make organic cider someday. She is looking forward to sharing her passion for yoga with as many people as possible at invati yoga in Lake Country, offering a compassionate and personal approach in her teaching and attitude at every session!
Theme: Farm Fails & Farm Hacks!
After the potluck social join in the Farmer Slideshows! These are 10minute photo slideshows from YOU and any farmers that want to share some of their best farm fails and hacks. These are a fun way to get to see and know each others farms a little better, commiserate over shared farm fails, and get inspired by the hacks you’ve come up with.
Please email Emily at email@example.com for more info or to “sign up”.
FORMAT: 10min, 10 slides, try to keep it to 1 minute per slide and share farm fails, farm hacks, or funny stories.
A sneak preview of some of who you’ll hear from:
- Bri and Mitch – RAMA Okanagan
- Robin – Big Rock Ranch
- Kevin – Ceres Circle Farm Trust
- Tristan and Aubyn – Spray Creek Ranch
About Summerhill Winery
Summerhill Pyramid Winery is the most visited winery in Canada! With outstanding views of Okanagan Lake and the surrounding vineyard – it is a beautiful place to be. Summerhill is committed to producing 100% organic wine, and received Demeter Biodynamic certification for their Kelowna vineyard in 2012, and has received numerous awards for its wine. Tastings and perhaps even a tour of the winery may be available during the Okanagan Winter Mixer – stay tuned for more information!
There is a Kekuli at Summerhill, which is a replica of the sacred earth house used by the indigenous peoples for centuries as their winter home. You can learn more about it on the Summerhill website. We hope to enjoy a fire in the Kekuli after the Potluck on Saturday evening.
Meals & Accommodation
We’re thrilled to work with Chef Giulio from One Big Table to bring you delicious lunches at the Winter Mixer! It’s no small feat to make such delicious fare for 100+ hungry farmers, while using the amazing selection of donated foods from across the region. You can connect with Giulio and One Big Table on their Facebook page!
Food Donations Welcome!
We are still accepting food donations for our 2018 Mixer. Do you know a local food business or farm that would like to donate produce, meats, staples or snacks to our Mixer this year? We love to feature fabulous local foods at our Mixer and promote our food donors. Please get in touch! Okanagan@youngagrarians.org
The Food & Snack Lowdown
- We’ll provide lunches, light snacks, a dinner protein option (accompanied by your potluck contributions), and a light breakfast fare (think granola and porridge).
- We try our best to accommodate dietary restrictions, and we encourage folks to bring the snacks and special food items they may need to be comfortable. Please let us know of dietary restrictions when you register.
- BYOM—don’t forget a re-usable mug for your hot beverages—coffee and tea will be available.
- POTLUCK ALERT! Please bring a dish or food item to share at the Community Potluck on Saturday night. And invite your friends and family, the more the merrier!
If you need accommodation to attend the Winter Mixer, please use our Facebook Event page to connect. Local Kelowna folks – if you have a spare room/bed to share please post it on the Facebook Event page! The Okanagan-Thompson region is vast, and we know that paying for travel and accommodation is a barrier for some folks, so please consider sharing your space so more farmers from across the region can attend!
BILLETING: If you are NOT on Facebook, please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org SUBJECT: want to billet for Okanagan Mixer, OR can offer billeting for Okanagan Mixer.
What to Bring
Here’s a small list of the things you’ll need to bring to make sure you have a great weekend:
- Travel mug for your coffee or tea
- Potluck item to share for Saturday night
- Notebook and pen, or laptop
- Snow/Cold weather gear and sturdy shoes for outdoor exploring (do we need to remind farmers about this?). Bring an extra sweater too – it can get cold sitting in workshop session!
Please use the Facebook event page to find rides and plan your travels. If you are NOT on Facebook, please send a note to email@example.com. SUBJECT: Ride to Okanagan Winter Mixer, OR Have a ride to offer to Okangan Winter Mixer.
Be sure to let us know where you are travelling from, and your timing needs.
Summerhill Winery is easily accessible by public transportation. Please visit the BC Transit Kelowna website, type in your starting point, and add “Summerhill Pyramid Winery” as your destination. The bus stops right outside the entrance!
CHILD FRIENDLY SPACE AVAILABLE
We will have access to a kid friendly space on the property. Gabe has offered the use of his living room to parents and kids that need a space to play and hang out during the Mixer. It is a short walk from the Winery. Parents must be present to supervise their children in this space.
THANK-YOU TO OUR FUNDERS & SPONSORS!
This event was made possible by the Central Okanagan Foundation and with funding provided by the Governments of Canada and British Columbia through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. Thank you to all our funders and sponsors.