Business Mentorship Network – Kira Kotilla

Posted by Kristen Nammour on February 06, 2015

Merville Organics - Kira Kotilla

 Name? Kira Kotilla

Where do you farm? Just north of Courtenay

What do you farm? Mixed vegetables, vegetable seed, poultry (in the near future)

What type of business structure is your farm? Sole proprietorship. But I am also a member of the new Merville Organics co-operative.

What is your land tenure? Are there special relationships that allow for this? I own the property with my boyfriend, Ingmar Dalen as of July 2015.

How did you seriously get into farming? Its been a long-running interest. I grew up on a hobby farm, have always loved growing plants and have always loved quality food. In 2007 I decided I wanted to get into agriculture for real, but wasn’t sure about how to approach it so I did a 2 year Plant Science Tech program at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, worked as a research assistant with the OACC, then did the SOIL apprenticeship program with Rachel Fisher of Saanich Organics in 2011.

Why did you apply for the YA Business Mentorship Network? I’m just getting started and am a bit overwhelmed by all there is to know. So I’m happy for any help I can get – mostly wanted someone to talk to about bigger-picture systems like long term fertility management plans and such. As well as financial, marketing, taxes,…..I could use all kinds of advice 🙂 And it looked like a great opportunity!

Kotilla - Merville Organics Tractor

What is the greatest business challenge you face as a young farmer? One of my biggest concerns is how to plan and keep on top of things without completely overwhelming myself and getting turned off of farming. I want to start out on the right foot – nice and small, with some good organizational systems in place.

What are your business goals for the season? I’m aiming to sell approximately $5000 worth of produce this year.

What business tools could you not live without? A computer, and excel (or equivalent).

If you had a farming super power what would it be? I’d rain mature, cured compost from the sky onto all the right places.

What is your favourite farm book? This year its the COG Crop Planning Book – But I’m on the lookout for the next.

BONUS: How can we find out more about you, your farm, and its products?

I’m just one of the five farms involved in Merville Organics, watch us grow! http://mervilleorganics.ca

Funding for the Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Network Pilot is provided in part by Salt Spring Coffee, Vancity, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the BC Ministry of Agriculture through programs delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC. 

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