FEB 9-10: WILLIAMS LAKE MIXER

Posted by Robin Hunt on December 15, 2018

Join us for our first ever Central B.C. winter mixer at Thompson Rivers University, Williams Lake Campus! 

Based on your feedback and insights we’ve crafted an awesome program for this year’s Williams Lake Mixer with two full 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 community Potluck and hear your stories at the Farmer Slideshow!


WHEN: Saturday, February 9th – Sunday, February 10th, 2019

WHERE:  Northern Secwepemc TerritoriesTRU, 1250 Western Ave, Williams Lake, BC V2G 1H7  

COST:  Sliding scale $50-100. Please pay what you can, no one turned away due to lack of funds. Volunteer work trades available, please contact Robin: centralbc@youngagrarians.org .

PLEASE REGISTER: www.wlmixer2019.brownpapertickets.com

JOIN THE EVENT ON FACEBOOK & INVITE YOUR FRIENDS!

ENEWS: For event updates, please join the Young Agrarians E-News list and let us know what part of B.C. you are in by selecting a bio-region. Specify Cariboo-Upper Fraser to get #WLMIXER2019 updates!


COMMUNITY POTLUCK & SOCIAL 

When: 6:30pm-9:30pm, Saturday, February 9th 2018

Where:  TRU, 1250 Western Ave, Williams Lake, BC V2G 1H7

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 are 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 farm start up, holistic management, soil health, land linking, season extension, butchering/licensing, succession planning, and business skills like planning, marketing, and crop planning – along with a sprinkle of other awesome topics. There is something for everyone – whether you’re growing vegetables, fruit, or livestock.

YA Mixers are known for the remarkable connections made, 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).

We are looking forward to seeing you there!


SESSION DESCRIPTIONS & PRESENTER BIOS

Networking & Introductions with Young Agrarians B.C. Program Director Sara Dent

Sara Dent will be facilitating an opening networking circle at the Williams Lake Mixer. Sara is the Young Agrarians B.C. Program Director & Co-Founder. Sara is a community-based facilitator, educator, photographer, farm and food lover, and project manager. She has worked for almost twenty years in the non–profit sector for arts, youth and social change organizations. Her foray into farming began as a Wwoofer in 2006, and in 2008 she studied organic small-scale farming and permaculture design at Linnaea Farm on Cortes Island. After Linnaea, she worked on a number of different farms from BC to Mexico. She is currently satisfying her farm itch by managing/producing Young Agrarians (YA), inspired by The Greenhorns and National Young Farmers Coalition in the U.S. Sara is a  BALLE 2018/19 Fellow. She is enjoying growing the Young Agrarians network, nerding out on creating supports for new farmers, and connecting with farmers and organizations globally. Yeah Earth! Yeah Farmers


Business Planning Workshops with Chris Bodnar

Chris will be presenting business workshops for farmers in start-up, and for those who are more experienced.

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.

Crop Planning: Come learn how to build a successful crop plan! In this workshop, participants will learn why crop planning and record keeping are vital parts of any successful farm. 

Co-op development: understanding what co-ops are and how to assess ways to collaborate.

**Please contact Robin at centralbc@youngagrarians.org to learn more about how to pre-submit your financial statements.

Farmer Chris Bodnar walks a row of vegetables on his farm with his daughterChris 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.


Indigenous Foods/Ethobotany 

Cecilia Derose is a member of the Esk’etemc First Nation, a long-time Secwepemctsin teacher and an Elder advisor to the Culturally Safe Dementia Care research project. She works with the Elders College in Williams Lake and a local Aboriginal Head Start program. She has a vast knowledge of plants and how to prepare and use them for food, medicines or other purposes and she has worked with Ignace to create a comprehensive Secwépemc ethnobotany. She also shares her knowledge with students in TRU’s Applied Sustainable Ranching (ASUR) program in Williams Lake


Land Leasing & Transition Planning

Land Leasing and Regulations: Got Land? Want Land? Join the B.C. Land Matching Program Coordinator for a session exploring the nuts and bolts of leasing land. We’ll look at what goes into creating a solid land arrangement: best practices for your lease, registered leases, the regulations surrounding farm tax status, housing and ALR, communication tools and building a strong relationship with land owners, seeking legal counsel, and key factors in assessing land. You’ll come away with a solid understanding of the resources available to support you, and the knowledge to help you approach land owners and build out mutually beneficial land agreements. Bring your questions!

Farm Transition: Starting the Conversation
Are you thinking about how to transfer the farm to the next generation? Transition planning is a complex process full of business planning, farm financials, tax issues, and many more decisions to be made – but it all starts with a conversation. Join Young Agrarians BC Land Program Manager Darcy Smith to explore this first conversation: how to ask questions, put it all on the table, and build a strong relationship that will become the foundation of a solid transition plan. This workshop is for established farmers who are thinking about transition, and for the next generation of farmers, and for both family farm scenarios and alternative succession models.

Darcy Smith is the B.C. Land Program Manager & Land Matcher – Metro Vancouver & Fraser Valley (youngagrarians.org/land). As BC’s first Land Matcher, she’s spent the last two and a half years growing the YA Land Matching Pilot in the Metro Vancouver region. She now manages YA’s BC Land Program, with Land Matchers in four regions across B.C. As a Land Matcher, she’s worked with many farmer-landowners who want to see their land farmed into the future, helping them realize their vision and develop strong agreements to help the next generation of farmers get on the land. In addition to her role with Young Agrarians, Darcy edits the BC Organic Grower, a quarterly magazine dedicated to showcasing organic farmers across B.C.


Farming with Rob Borsato

Farm Start-Up: We’ll start with a few assumptions:  one has access to land (in the Cariboo), BUT limited agricultural experience, and limited financial resources. What are the first steps?  Start by doing a realistic assessment of your situation: the land’s capabilities, your interests and knowledge level, infrastructure requirements, and tool needs.  Then, explore marketing options.  After that, we’ll build a simple business plan, and then start breaking ground.

Developing Your Marketing StrategiesEvery farm, every situation, has its strengths and weaknesses.  This discussion will look at the various marketing options available to new agricultural producers based upon real scenarios. Wholesale, direct marketing, U-pick, CSAs, restaurants and institutions will all be explored. Which one, or which combination, will work best for you?

Together with his partner, Cathie Allen, Rob Borsato has been farming at Mackin Creek Farm for over 30 years.  Operating a certified organic market garden, they supply produce to a farmers’ market, CSA, restaurants, and retail outlets.  Mackin Creek Farm uses Percheron horses for soil preparation and other “heavy lifting”. It was recognized as Vendor of the Year in 2014 by the BC Association of Farmers Markets, and was featured in the Spring ’17 edition of BC Organic Grower.  Rob has also taught the soil-building module for the Thompson Rivers University Sustainable Ranching Program. He and Cathie continue to farm “at a reduced level” at Mackin Creek, about 35 kms NW of Williams Lake.


Demystifying Butchering, Licensing, and Regulations

Trying to figure out the A’s and B’s of meat licensing, butchering and regulations in B.C? Come learn how to how to navigate the government requirements for licensing, meat inspection, regulations, health authority, food safety, and the like with Dave.  Dave Charchuk has been in the industry for over 20 year and is a wealth of information. Please bring all your questions, suggestions and concerns with you.

David Charchuk has over thirty years experience in the meat industry. He is currently working as an agriculture sector consultant and trainer. His skill set is extensive and varied including: Packing plant construction, site preparation, flow patterns, equipment requirements, environmental requirements • Business and labour management and administration • Market evaluation and manipulation • Contract negotiation • Extensive retail meat management • Wholesale meat manufacturing, cutting, labelling, packaging and marketing • Meat packing plant operations, management and skills training • Food safety, quality control and hazard analysis • Niche markets development, value-added processing and manufacturing • Agricultural land reclamation • Niche markets development, value-added processing and manufacturing • Grain and forage crop seeding and harvesting systems • Expert knowledge of Federal and Provincial Government Acts and Regulations (food industry) • Expert knowledge of animal waste and specified risk material disposal requirements. 


Seed Starting and Micro Greens

Brianna Van De Wigingaard will cover her methods for seed starts, including timing, temperature settings, irrigation, propagation infrastructure, fertilizer, growing mediums, pots and trays, and seed sources. She will also go over her methods for growing microgreens such as growing mediums, trays, seed densities, timing, troubleshooting, harvesting and packaging, and seed sources.

smaller 2 copyBrianna Van De Wigingaard ventured into farming after university in 2011, and expanded from there. After completing some horticultural training and volunteering on various farms, she launched Puddle Produce Urban Farms in Williams Lake in 2013. She now operates Puddle Produce Farm from a leased 70 acre property in the Soda Creek region 40kms north of Williams Lake. She grows around 25 vegetable crops and microgreens for a CSA program, farmers market sales, and some retail customers


Diversifying Your Farm Enterprises and Direct Marketing Meats

Diversifying Your Farm Enterprises
Are you missing enterprise opportunities on your farm?  Diversifying can create employment, increase sales and make your business more resilient against changes beyond your control.  Learn about your unique forms of capital, consider different enterprise niches, and find out how to assess your options.
Direct Marketing Meats
Direct marketing of specialty meats is a tremendous opportunity — demand is growing, and there are niches that industrial production cannot fill.  The goal is to collect 100% of the retail dollar, but there are a lot of challenges along the trail.  You need marketing channels that match your context.  We’ll discuss production, processing, packaging, storage and distribution of your product, as well as marketing and sales ideas.

Tristan & Aubyn Banwell manage Spray Creek Ranch, a diversified 260-acre farm in the Upper St’at’imc Territory near Lillooet, BC.  They raise certified organic beef cattle, pigs, meat chickens, turkeys and laying hens on pasture as part of an integrated and regenerative agroecological system.  Their enterprises include a growing on-farm abattoir and meat shop, providing local markets with diverse meats of known provenance and unparalleled quality.  With a history of serial farm enterprise testing and the patience to answer customer emails, they are ready to help you diversify and direct market your meats.  farmer@spraycreek.ca


Digging Into Soils with Emma Holmes

Soil Biology and Health: 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.

Emma Holmes - new farmer supportEmma 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


Outlooks on Management Intensive Grazing and Holistic Management

Clint and Karen Thompson have owned and operated the San Jose Cattle Company Ltd for approximately 25 years.  The couple purchased about ¼ of the original ranch in 1994 and started a traditional 125 head cow/calf operation, striving to succeed in the business model of the time.  After BSE and realizing the model wasn’t working for them they began looking for some new ideas and sustainable practises. In 2008 they discovered and attended the Ranching for Profit School, whose mission is to teach about building the health of your land, your family and a sustainable business with a strong foundation. After attending the school they were anticipating significant changes in their business practices so they joined the RFP school’s Executive Link program because they believed that they would have better success if they worked interdependently with other like minded ranch businesses and it would help them to see issues and opportunities to forward the goal of building a stronger and more sustainable business.

In the first year after attending the school they switched from haying to managed intensive grazing and built several miles of electric fence to accommodate their new goals.  In transitioning from traditional ranching methods and implementing what they had learned in the RFP program they knew they would need the support of other E.L. members and the continuing education presented in the EL program which they remained members of for 4 years.  During this time they started growing the cow herd, custom grazing and selling electric fence as an added enterprise. Their vision was to implement sustainable practices that would ensure the integrity of soil, water and air quality. They actively looked for ways to improve practices and decrease input costs while improving and sustaining animal, human and land health.  

In 2015 Clint and Karen sold their cow herd and paid out their mortgage.  They leased a small herd of cattle and began custom grazing contract cattle to utilize their grasses.  In 2017 they attended a Holistic Management school in Williams Lake along with seven other ranchers. The school was taught by Don and Bev Campbell from Meadow Lake Saskatchewan.

Presently Clint and Karen lease cows to stock the ranch and crown range and continue to custom graze short keep cattle for other ranchers during their 120 day growing season.  They continue to sell electric fencing products province wide and are passionate about learning and teaching more sustainable business practices to ensure agriculture has a future on the land.


Season Extension with Andrew Adams

Bootstrap season extension in a challenging climate: Learn how to extend your season on the cheap in a challenging climate with Andrew Adams, who is in the coldest biogeoclimatic zone of the Prince George Forest District.

High profits from warm weather crops in cold climates, tips and tricks to success: Why compete with large farms on low value cold weather crops when you can grow high value hot weather crops in your cold climate? Learn simple tricks and tips for success.

Andrew Adams received a BSc degree in Agriculture, with a major in park management and conservation, from Kansas State University in 2006. In 2010 Andrew moved to BC via Alaska after meeting his wife. Andrew and wife Janie moved to Prince George, BC and Andrew began work in Forest ecology, Agrology and Environmental consulting. Andrew now regularly gives presentations and workshops on food production, seed saving and plant breeding for extreme climates in northern BC, as well as agriculture feasibility consultations, and operates his certified organic mixed vegetable farm north east of Prince George. The farm sells to local markets, restaurants and a distributor in Vancouver. Andrew is the Eaglet Lake Farmers Institute Secretary, Director of District C for the Central Interior Farmers Institute and Agriculture Land Commissioner of the North Panel. Andrew and Janie are involved in the farm to school programs in Prince George. Currently Andrew is researching the feasibility of creating a gourmet mushroom enterprise utilizing wood waste from Prince George’s forest industry to create low carbon footprint protein sources.


Communicating with Heart: Collaborative Conflict Resolution on the Farm

Conflict is inevitable in any job and the lived reality of being a farmer, hiring or working for one, means sticky situations can be commonplace. In this workshop you’ll learn how to approach tough conversations in a collaborative way. Discover the factors that affect conflict, cues for self awareness, and styles of conflict (plus how to work with them). Come join this fast-paced session and build a toolbox of practical strategies to address conflict for positive outcomes. Leave with insight and confidence to show up for hard conversations with open ears and an open heart both on and off the farm.

Have an example of an on-farm conflict you’re dealing with that you’d love to see used as an example to work through? Send a line to Keeley (keeleynixon@gmail.com) and she’ll do her best to include!

 Keeley Nixon has been involved in sustainable and regenerative  agriculture since moving to coastal BC from the Northern Interior in  2001 and she is a project lead and coordinator for a wide range of  agricultural projects. A facilitator and mediator in training, Keeley  thrives on working with farmers through conflict and tough  conversations by listening and collaborating to create lasting change and and preserve relationships. Doing behind the scenes work to build resiliency and strengthening community process is what fuels her fire. She brings her experience with countless non-profits, passion for communication, connecting people and general joie de vivre to all that she does. www.keeleynixon.com


Gillian Watt: Cost of Production and Financial Analysis for Crops and Livestock

Gillian Watt is a fourth generation grass farmer in the BC Interior. She has a BScAg from UBC majoring in animal science and range management and an MBA in Agriculture from the University of Guelph. Currently Gillian is director of the Applied Sustainable Ranching program at TRU and leads the instruction of the Business Management suite of courses. She brings a unique perspective to this role, from her diverse career experiences as an owner/manager of a diversified ranching operation, an agriculture account manager at RBC, a range agrologist in the Chilcotin Forest District, a business mentor in the TRU research office, as well as her many years of agriculture extension work with the BC Ministry of Agriculture.

Gillian Watt is passionate about leading the next generation of agriculture producers to appreciate the need for diversity in enterprises, in plants and in soil life in order to be resilient in the face of change. She believes as agriculture producers we have a responsibility to lead the way in nurturing soil health, animal health and human health through applied research, learning and putting into practise the principles of regenerative agriculture. Alongside the team of Ty Johnson, David Zirnhelt, and Angela Abrahao, Gillian has recently formed the TRU Ranching Business Advisory services.


Supporting New Entrants- The Role of Regional Contextual Research

The Cariboo Agricultural Research Alliance (CARA) launched in February 2018, and is a collaborative initiative with representation of eight producer associations, regional and provincial government agencies and the three regional academic institutions. CARA was developed to provide farmers and ranchers with access to research results, to help set regional priorities and to provide coordination for programs and projects which are important to multiple commodity sectors. In 2018, one of CARA’s goals is to engage new, young farmers and ranchers in the Cariboo, to ensure that we’re developing programs that will help answer their questions and that our resources will help them build successful, resilient agriculture operations.

This session will provide a brief overview of CARA and our current resources – including our Online Database and available Fact Sheets – and highlight examples of some of the research projects that will be coming to the Cariboo in early 2019. The rest of the session will be interactive, as we want to hear from workshop participants about the research and extension activities that would serve new entrants best. It will be a whirlwind of information sharing and gathering, with the goal of showing the importance of regional research in developing strong, vibrant operations and the benefits of engaging with local producer associations.

In the North, For the North: UNBC’s Approach to Developing Agriculture Research Programming

Looking at the University of Northern BC’s website, you will not find agriculture under its program listings; but if you dig around, you’ll learn that UNBC is home to the University Farmers’ Market, a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse, and has had at least half a dozen students defend a master theses related to agriculture and food security. Over the last decade, there’s been more interest and demand for UNBC to support the agriculture community, and in 2017 the Office of Research launched the Agriculture Network Pilot Project, a two-year initiative aimed to develop more hands-on agriculture education and research opportunities for students, and to develop a long-term framework for how UNBC can support research and extension activities for northern farmers.

This session will outline a draft of this vision, and showcase two examples of UNBC’s current ventures into agriculture research: 1) the Cash Crop and Bioenergy Crop Feasibility Study, which is working at identifying up to 10 new potential crops in response to the changing climate, and 2) the Garlic Seed Research Trials, which is evaluating more than 30 varieties of hardneck garlic and investigating how to propagate clean, disease resistant garlic seed that is well suited to the region. The goal of the session is show how UNBC is conducting agriculture research – both its successes and the challenges in the process – and discuss next steps, as the pilot project ends in the late fall of 2019.

 Serena Black is fourth generation born and raised in the Cariboo, has been working in applied agriculture research and extension throughout the Omineca Region for the past seven years. Serena completed her Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University in 2010, her Master of Science in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from the University of Northern BC in 2015, and is an Articling Agrologist. Her research experience has focused on forage and grain crops, invasive plants, greenhouse development and soil health. Serena lives in Prince George, BC, and works as a Science Research Specialist at Industrial Forestry Service Ltd. She is currently contracted as the Agriculture Extension Specialist at the University of Northern BC, the Manager of the BC Forage Council and the Coordinator of the Cariboo Agriculture Research Alliance. Serena also leases a plot in the North Cariboo for a market garden, and aspires to expand it into a farm business by 2020.


FARMER SLIDESHOWS

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 Robin at centralbc@youngagrarians.org 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:


MEALS & ACCOMMODATION

We’re thrilled to work with Chef Teresa Sure from 4Sure Catering 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 Teresa and 4Sure Catering 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 farms 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! centralbc@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!

Accommodation

If you need accommodation to attend the Winter Mixer, please use our Facebook Event page to connect with local Williams Lake folks – if you have a spare room/bed to share please post it on the Facebook Event page! The Cariboo 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!

Coast Hotel is offering us a special group rate for the weekend of the mixer, please feel free to reserve before Feb.1.2019 to book. Use code: #GFC1932, and mention Young Agrarians and Williams Lake Sustainable Ranching.

BILLETING: If you are NOT on Facebook, please send a note to centralbc@youngagrarians.org  SUBJECT: want to billet for Williams Lake Mixer, OR can offer billeting for Williams Lake 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!

TRAVEL

Please use the Facebook event page to find rides and plan your travels. If you are NOT on Facebook, please send a note to centralbc@youngagrarians.org. SUBJECT: Ride to Williams Lake Winter Mixer, OR Have a ride to offer to Williams Lake Winter Mixer.

Be sure to let us know where you are travelling from, and your timing needs.

Thompsons Rivers University is easily accessible by public transportation. Please visit the BC Transit Williams Lake website, type in Route 1- Community Bus, and find your starting point, then end off at Thompson Rivers University as your destination. The bus stops right outside the entrance!

THANK YOU

 

THOMPSON RIVERS UNIVERSITY FOR HOSTING

FUNDING FOR CENTRAL AND NORTHERN B.C. EVENTS IS PROVIDED BY THE PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.

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