2015 Certified Organic Association of BC Conference

Posted by Sara Dent on December 05, 2014

Best Western Rainbow Country Inn

Chilliwack, BC

February 27 – March 1, 2015

To register: http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/2015-coabc-conference-tickets-10172087989?aff=es2&rank=1

COABC’s  Conference provides educational and networking opportunities for new and established farmers, as well as those keen to learn more about the world of organic farming. We have pulled together a diverse selection of presentations focused on our theme of Livestock, as well as a variety of other issues pertinent to the dynamic functioning of a farm operation:

Livestock Sessions will delve into a range of issues such as feed, pasture management, beef research, slaughter facilities, and standards interpretation.

Business Structure & Supports will focus on components of running a business that make a big difference in the success of your season. We will look into human resources strategies particular to hiring, creating your own business handbook, using co-operatives to meet shared business objectives, farming with family, and crowd funding as a revenue source.

Technical Information will allow you to get into the nitty gritty details of farm work. We will explore pest management (earwigs and wireworm), growing tree fruit, addressing individual concerns and questions through open consultation with industry experts, soil health, and integrating seed saving into your practice.

Land Stewardship will delve into the importance of taking care of this land for generations to come through sessions on indigenous land use, succession planning through a land linking workshop, and permaculture design for small to medium scale farms.

*NEW* Friday Workshop

For the first time, we are hosting a full day workshop on Friday that will be facilitated by Kevin Koopmans (Community Futures South Fraser) and Dr. Lorne Owen (Project Consultant, BC Agriculture Centre of Excellence, University of the Fraser Valley). This workshop is intended to help farm owners & their managers create their own farm-specific employee handbook. A well-crafted handbook can effectively communicate the benefits and responsibilities of working on your farm, as well as foster a fair work environment and help your employees identify with your business values. The workshops material is based on the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture Guide to Developing a BC Agriculture Employee Handbook.

Keynote Speaker

Sara Dent is the BC Coordinator and Producer of Young Agrarians, a network and capacity building project for the next generation of small-scale, ecological farmers in BC. Together we can address the issues new farmers face and work towards an ecological and organic future. With less than 5% of farmers in BC ages 35 and under, and more than 50% 59 and up– BC’s farming community is facing an important demographic shift and a need for the next generation to take up the art and science of agriculture. While the market is growing for organics, new farmers face several challenges in start-up: learning how to farm, starting a business, accessing secure land and start-up capital, and more. To do these things, new farmers have to innovate often with less secure land tenure arrangements and housing than previous generations. Since Young Agrarians started January 2012 as a partnership with FarmFolk CityFolk, the program has doubled in size and participation annually in response to a very real need for new farmers to network and build community-based ‘extension services’. Through our farmer-driven engagement strategy, Young Agrarians has hosted 75 events with over 4000 participants, representing more than 3000 farmer volunteer hours. The network online has had over 150,000 visitors with an engaged following of 10,000. Young Agrarians will inspire you to support the movement to grow new farmers in BC and beyond!


Blackberry Wood has been described as “a wonderful, secret and magic combination of alt-country-gypsy-circus music. They play a high-energy cabaret spin on dreamy old musical styles adding big juicy modern flavours like jumpin’ ska, rock and roll, blues, bumpin’ hip-hop, gypsy punk ‘n many other irresistible body shakin’, foot stompin’ sounds. They’ve kicked up dust in towns all over Western Canada, the United Kingdom and parts of the United States.”

Other Conference Highlights (subject to change)

  • Friday evening reception with beer, wine, and spirits sampling, as well as hors d’oeuvres
  • Trade show and poster presentations will provide a marketplace of products and ideas to inspire you
  • Organic Feast on Saturday night will feature collaboration between Chef Dan Cool (Rainbow Country Inn), Chef David Colombe, and his students at Seabird Island College. This will be a meal to remember!
  • COABC AGM on Sunday – come and hear about the extraordinarily full year we’ve had and consider getting involved
  • While the Feast is being staged, you can check out the Seed Exchange table, the Young Agrarians Mixer, or the Hospitality Room