FEB 25-26, 2023: NELSON, BC – Columbia Basin Mixer

Posted by Michalina Hunter on January 12, 2023

Calling all new and young farmers, the farm curious and food growers!

Thank you for growing food and farming. Join us to connect, dialogue, eat, workshop, and celebrate the hard work of the growing season with two days of networking and sharing at the Columbia Basin Mixer!

We will gather from across Sinixt, Ktunaxa and Syilx Territories in Nelson for two days of workshops and networking! In the spirit of YA Mixers, this will be an opportunity to engage and connect with others, share ideas, and access the knowledge and experience you need to build your farm and business for success. Let’s dive in deep together and create future resilience within the Columbia Basin foodshed and beyond.  The Mixer is open to everyone who wants to join!

WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, February 25-26, 2023

WHERE: Wildflower School – 811 Stanley Street Nelson BC V1L 1N8

REGISTER: Please register on Eventbrite to reserve your spot. There are only a few tickets left, so make sure to get one soon if you want to attend. We’ve reached event capacity, so we won’t be able to accept walk ins.

COST: The ticket is a suggested sliding scale of $50 to $100 and includes delicious food from Wild Peach Preserves and education for Saturday and Sunday. All funds raised go to covering the cost of the event. Thank you for your support!

No one turned away for lack of funds. Please let Michi know your needs at community@youngagrarians.org.

PARTIAL POTLUCK DINNER: Dinner on Saturday will be a partial potluck- meaning we will have much of our meal cooked for us by our caterer, but any dishes that you can bring to share will augment the meal. Please bring a little card with a list of ingredients for your dish if possible.

ACCOMMODATION: Accommodation is not included in the ticket price. Please arrange your own accommodation. Have a spare room or couch in Nelson? Looking for space to stay in town? Post in the Facebook Event Discussion to coordinate.

CARPOOLING: Folks will be travelling from all corners of B.C.  and beyond to attend. If you are looking for or can offer a ride to or from the event, please post in the Facebook event discussion to connect with others.

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS: Please stay home if you have cold or flu-like symptoms, OR if you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are completing a period of self-isolation as mandated by public health, OR if you have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days. Refer to the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool for more information.

We welcome cancellations at any time – you can do so through Eventbrite, through the link in your registration confirmation email, or by contacting community@youngagrarians.org. Please let us know if you aren’t able to attend. 

AVIAN FLU PROTOCOLS: To prevent the spread of the current avian flu, if you keep chickens or have visited a farm or household that does, please wash your boots before coming to the event.

SHARE: Please help us spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event. Find the sharing package here.


*Schedule is subject to minor changes

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).

Session Descriptions and Speaker Bios

Ktunaxa Creation Story – with Joe Pierre

Joe will be sharing the Ktunaxa Creation Story that was shared with him by his Grandparents and other Elders of the Ktunaxa.

About Joe Pierre:

Joe Pierre was raised in the Community of ʔaqʾam formerly known as the St. Mary’s Indian Reserve and is a citizen of the Ktunaxa Nation.He attended the University of Calgary in the Fine Arts.At the U of C Joe met several other First Nations people interested in Theatre and they collaborated to form the Crazy Horse Theatre Company.The company mounted several productions in Calgary all of which were written by Aboriginal writers.Joe also worked for a season with the CBC production “North of Sixty”.Joe was a storyteller at the very first Proctor Storytelling Festival and he has presented at several other festivals throughout the Kootenays.Currently he is employed by School District 5 Southeast Kootenay and is a member of the Board of Directors for the First Nations Education Steering Committee.Joe served as a Councilor for the St. Mary’s Indian band for 8 years and was a member of the Board of Governors for the College of the Rookies for 6 years.In the Fall of 2016 Joe was elected back to the ʔaqʾam (formerly the St. Mary’s Indian band) council, this time in the capacity of Chief Councilor.And in February of 2021 Joe was reelected to a second term as Chief.He is a husband to wife Jennifer and a father to sixteen-year-old Jude.Together they are known as “Triple J”.

Pre-Engagement Ethics: Ktunaxa Knowledge Relationships – with Michele A. Sam

In this session Michele will apply lessons and learning from the Ktunaxa Creation/Emergence story and contextualize Indigenous Peoples Place Based Knowledges for current relationships and reconciliation. She will speak about Intractable Conflict, Food and Place as she experiences them in hopes to offer participants an opportunity to think deeply and differently about Food relationships. This session is process based, and will follow Ktunaxa protocols as Michele understands and lives them and she respectfully asks for participants to be ready to contribute to their own knowledge generation.

About Michele A Sam:

Michele A Sam is Ktunaxa ʔaqⱡsmaknik—a Ktunaxa human being. Michele has familial ties across all 6 current Ktunaxa/Ksanka “Indian” bands and is an “official state identified band member” of ʔaq̓am—her people claim her. Her mother is one of the murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada, who as a child, attended St Eugene’s residential school. Her father’s heritage is British from Sheffield area in England and, mik’maq and Acadian with no claims to heritage. Michele returned home to the Ktunaxa homelands, as a 60s scoop survivor having been in child protection and adopted in Southern Ontario, by a Dutch Catholic immigrant family to Canada. Michele is also first generation home owner, and a small business owner. Michele A Sam

Michele is first generation in her adoptive family and Ktunaxa family to have earned university degrees. She holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in Social Work, English Literature and Indigenous Learning. Currently she leads the Indigenous Studies program at the College of the Rockies located within her homelands now known as the East Kootenay Region of British Columbia. Her lifework is guided by principles of: Nation Rebuilding, Good Governance, Restoration of Peoplehood, Cultural Continuity, (Re) Attachment to Lands and Waterscapes, Intellectual Sovereignty and Cognitive Justice, according to place based Indigenous Peoples’ ways of being, doing and knowing. She has published on the role of research in: Indigenous Peoples’ Self-development; and as a mechanism of Intractable Conflict and Strategic Regional Competition.

Michele’s interest has long been focused upon Indigenous Peoples’ place based re-attachment to landscapes and waterways in light of the genocide of Intergenerational Trauma and Stress, informed by her own experiences of returning home and ensuring that despite the instability of her own life, that her two children were raised to have both a sense of place and home in their lives as a means to wellbeing. She is a story teller with plenty of stories to tell of how she attempts to live life well and long these days based upon both academic and her own lived experiences called “A Ktunaxa Her Story”. When she’s not working, she can be found outside.

Intro to Fruit Tree Grafting – with Kim Watt of Thimble Hill Nursery

Grafting is a very useful skill. If you don’t like the fruit produced by an established fruit tree, you can top-graft a new variety onto an existing trunk. If you have a small garden space with only room for a few trees, you can multi-graft your trees so that each limb gives you a different variety. If you want to plant out a new orchard, you can save thousands of dollars by grafting your own trees with unique varieties not offered by commercial nurseries. This session will introduce you to the basics on how to bench graft new trees, and top-work existing trees. There will be a hands-on component to practice different grafting techniques, so if you have a sharp single-bevelled grafting knife or utility knife, bring it along.

About Kim Watt:

Kim Watt owns Thimble Hill Farm, a small-scale perennial plant nursery and food forest just outside Nelson. She’s passionate about edible perennials and agroforestry, and thinks everyone should learn how to propagate their own plants! More info on her farm can be found at thimblehillnursery.com.

Season Extension at Salix and Sedge Farm – with Brendan Parsons

The growing season is short in Salmo, BC. Our last spring frost is often late May and the first fall frost is early September. The night time temperatures in the summer often drop below 10 degrees which makes heat loving crops challenging to grow without added protection. Due to these challenges we have focused on season extension which falls into three

general categories.

1. Storage Crops – growing when the weather is nice, storing to sell through the winter. For us that includes carrots, beets, cabbage, kohlrabi, daikon, parsnips, potatoes, onions, squash. I will touch on the storage requirements for the different crops and how we meet these, and different varieties of the crops.

2. Greenhouse growing –  An overview of the greenhouse, it’s design and cost, what we grow and when, example planting and harvest dates. Temperature and light, irrigation, pest management. Value it adds to the farm.

3.Protected growing, unheated – Tunnels and row cover. We do less of this on our farm than lots of other farms, but I can still speak to how we use this strategy and when we choose not to and why.

About Brendan Parsons:
Brendan and his partner Cali own and operate Salix and Sedge Farm in Salmo. Growing mixed vegetables and small fruit on just under two acres, they sell primarily through a self-serve farm stand as well as to local retailers and businesses. Salix and Sedge also has a heated greenhouse which has crops growing in it year round.

Achieving Transformative Potential through Cooperation – with Emi Do

Although it may seem like common sense for those experiencing similar hardships to cooperate or collectivize to join forces and resources, it is not often clear on how to get started or how to avoid common pitfalls in working closely together. In this interactive workshop we will explore different forms of working collectively, common misconceptions about the cooperative model, and plant the seeds of how to start down a path of interdependence.
“A Co-operative is an autonomic association of individuals voluntarily united to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs through a jointly-owned and
democratically-controlled enterprise.”  International Co-operative Alliance 1996
About Emi Do:

Emi Do came to cooperatives as a small-scale urban farmer trying to find a viable alternative to the dominant food distribution chain. Though her interest in agricultural cooperatives led to a PhD and an assistant professorship at Tokyo University of Agriculture, the empowerment, mutuality, and solidarity underlying cooperatives sparked an interest in the co-ops as a means to democratize and transform relationships across different workplaces and contexts. She has also been an active member of the Community Working Group Operations Team at social.coop for over two years, helping to navigate the challenging waters of online moderation cooperatively. She recently co-authored a book on the transformative potential of cooperatives entitled Cooperatives at Work.

Mushrooms on the Farm:  Integrating Mushrooms into Existing Growing Systems – With Robin Mercy of Mr Mercy’s Mushrooms

Learn the basic principles of mushroom growing, along with specific strategies for integrating mushrooms into existing farm systems.  We will be discussing several different growing techniques, including making mushroom logs, growing on livestock and plant wastes, and using mushrooms for composting and improving soil health.  Get some fungi on the farm in 2023!

About Robin Mercy:

Robin Mercy is a mushroom grower based in Kaslo, BC.  His farm, Mr. Mercy’s Mushrooms, supplies organic edible and medicinal mushrooms to restaurants, grocers, and herbalists throughout the West Kootenays, and growing supplies and spawn to clients throughout Canada.  Robin also teaches about the world of fungi, covering both cultivation techniques and wild foraging and identification.

Cover cropping in the Columbia Basin – with Owen Broad

Discover the fundamentals of cover cropping and how it can benefit your soil, add nitrogen and build resilience on your farm. Connect with farmer-mentor Owen Broad, farmer of 22 years in Grand Forks, to learn about innovations, challenges and successes with cover cropping. Identify how cover crops can fix some of the soil problems on your farm, and how these plants can improve your bottom line. By using cover crops, you can cut back on your use of fertilizers, soil amendments and sprays, and add biodiversity to your farm.

About Owen Broad:

My name is Owen Broad and for the last 22 years have been operating our organic family farm on the Kettle River in Grand Forks, BC. We grow a range of vegetables, fruit, tree fruit and hay.
Since the beginning I have worked with a lot of cover crops and learned from many experiences (good and bad) and have first hand knowledge on and in the ground. I also pay attention to what other farmers do and have read extensively on cover cropping from a wide range of sources. I find the subject very interesting and think that it can be applied as an important component in farming and the benefits are well worth the effort.
In case anyone is wondering, I do have a lot of other interests. I’m into all kinds of sports, hiking, art (formerly a commercial photographer), science and reading. Luckily, I have a very and interesting and a little bit crazy family that bombard me with all sorts of ideas. It keeps me fresh.

Essential Irrigation Tools to Tackle Drought – with Andrew Bennett of KBFA, Living Lands Agroecology, and Moon Gravity Farm

Our changing climate means getting irrigation right is more important now than ever. Andrew will take a photo tour of a few BC farms to illustrate the good, the bad, and the ugly, along with a sneak peek at his new irrigation factsheets and case studies.
We’ll review some of the best solutions to problems, the key principles behind irrigating the right amount of water at the right time based on soils and the weather, and how to stay on track with some simple tools like pitot tubes and pressure gauges, flow meters, catch cans, soil augers and moisture sensors.
Andrew will have examples of this equipment for show-and-tell, and we can mock-up a “catch can” test if there’s interest in this simple and extremely useful technique. We can also review how to use the Environmental Farm Plan program to get funding for professional irrigation plans and system upgrades.
There will be lots of time for questions on anything about water on your farm, from rain and reservoirs to intakes and licenses, so come with info on your system!
About Andrew Bennett:
Andrew Bennett owns and operates Living Lands Agroecology and Moon Gravity Farm in Rossland, BC, with Caley Mulholland and their three young boys. He works with farms across Southeast BC through the Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors and the Environmental Farm Plan program to improve water and soil management and regenerate agricultural landscapes. A certified irrigation designer, he recently produced 12 short videos to help farms irrigate more effectively and profitably, four in-depth webinars with designer Bruce Naka, and a series of soon-to-be-available irrigation factsheets and farm case studies.

Restoring and managing soil health by leveraging the benefits of compost – with Jo Tobias of RootShoot Soils

This workshop will examine the contributions of soil microorganisms and their many roles in plant development. We will uncover topics around:
  • Production of biodiverse compost
  • Leveraging well-managed compost piles via the production of compost extracts and teas as an amendment, fertilizer and bioinoculant source for your farm.
  • Combining other management practices that can restore and diversify soil life, such as cover cropping, with your bioinoculants.
  • Case studies of farmers who already began their journey with living soil.

 About Jo Tobias

Jo Tobias is a Regenerative Soils & Living Compost Specialist with the primary goal of assisting land stewards in understanding how they can play a role in soil health. Jo founded RootShoot Soils in 2015 and has collaborated with British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario farmers. Her direct tool for regenerating degraded landscapes is a well-managed, biodiverse compost. Compost can provide the foundation to kickstart microbial processes that stimulate nutrient cycling and decomposition when managed well.

Composting is Jo’s craft—she meticulously manages the whole process to create the ideal habitat for diverse microorganisms that promote plant health. Over the years, she has taught farmers practical strategies to leverage their biodiverse compost to restore soil life. Jo also combines the power of microscopy with her restoration efforts to ensure that she is on the right path to improving soil health. To find out more about Jo and her company, RootShoot Soils, visit www.rootshootsoils.com.

Sacred land stewardship: community farming, land-based livelihood, and cultural practice – with Julian Napoleon of Amisk Farm

Workshop description:

  • Indigenous perspective on holistic management
  • Integrating land-based cultural practices and farming
  • Navigating ethical land-based livelihoods
  • Establishing a diverse and abundant cold-climate agroecosystem

About Julian Napoleon:

Julian Napoleon (he/him) is Dane-zaa and Cree and lives, hunts, gathers, and grows in his traditional territory within Treaty 8. Napoleon is currently bringing together his background in Indigenous land based knowledge, ecological restoration, biology, and organic farming in guiding forward the creation of Amisk Farm. Named after one of the original Cree names for the watershed, Amisk Farm is a beautiful off-grid site located along the shores of what has come to be known as the Moberly River. The farm is dedicated to fostering sacred land stewardship and providing healthy and healing foods to the local community.

Keeping Going – evidence based practices for burnout prevention and recovery. Techniques and practices for workers on the front lines of climate change – with Alys Ford of Ravine Creek Farm

An introduction to the work of 3 impactful researchers on the topic of stress and trauma recovery/protection (Lisa Feldman Barrett, Yabome Gilpin-Jackson and Emily Nagoski).
This interactive presentation outlines a selection of practices and techniques including: Narrative resonance storytelling, the use of movement to support the completion of the stress response cycle, meaning making for emotional resilience and how to support your ‘body budget’ – the metabolic effects of stress. It provides a space for facilitated dialogue discussing specific techniques and allowing participants to share what techniques/practices are working/not working for them in their own work.

Workshop target audience is workers directly involved *both* with climate change mitigation and impacts I.e. farmers, wildlife biologists, environmental field technicians etc.

About Alys Ford (she/her):

Alys runs Ravine Creek Farm with her partner and children, she has been farming since 2010. In recent years as the impacts and urgency of the climate crisis have increased, Alys has sought new ways of mitigating the effects of climate change on her own farm. This has necessitated adaptations for both the farmers and the farm. Just as the farm has shifted to ever more regenerative practices (after several years of trials, the entire production area was transitioned to no-till in 2021) Alys has sought education and training to better understand how we can protect and recover from the stress that is inevitable in farming and is made significantly more intense by climate change. Alys is excited to share what she has learned about no-till and burnout prevention in the hopes of providing ecological lift to both farms and farmers. Alys is a settler of European ancestry and has lived for the past 20 years in Sinixt territory.

To the Roots: Stories of Seed, Self & Place – with Tiffany Traverse of Fourth Sister Farm

Tiffany explores her passion for land & seed stewardship, and will take you on a journey of ancestral and place-based re-discovery at Home in Secwepemcúl’ecw and as a Guest in Treaty 8 Territory.

About Tiffany Traverse: Tiffany Traverse

Tiffany is a Secwépemc/Euro farmer, land and seed steward, language learner, and food sovereignty advocate. Her passion for feeding people and firm belief in the right to healthy, culturally-appropriate foods for all, drives her work. She is passionate about the uncomfortable work in dismantling structural racism within institutions and conducting experimental plant breeding projects to adapt nutrient-dense cultivars to our changing climate as a grateful guest in Treaty 8 Territory. Tiffany has served as a volunteer Advisory Council member with the Community Seed Network, former Member at Large and Chair for SeedChange and former Board Member at Regeneration Canada. She participated in the Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee for Farmers for Climate Solutions and is a Council member (Mountain Forests Biome), for Indigenous Climate Action’s Indigenous-led decolonizing climate policy Advisory Council. She currently sits on the Board of Canadian Mountain Network as well as their Research Management Committee, and is part of the Distinction-Based Tools for Food-Related Wellness advisory group. As part of her research, Tiffany is the Indigenous Lead in several projects with the Federal Government (AAFC), including a cross-colonial border Living Lab.

In her ‘day job’, Tiffany engaged with stakeholders, partners, and rural residents through her work as a Wildfire Assistant with the BC Wildfire Service, to help present education around wildfire prevention, mitigation and cultural burning, as well as encourage autonomy for land stewardship within Indigenous communities. Recently she took on the role of Regional Preparedness and Response Specialist at First Nations’ Emergency Services Society for the northeastern portion of what is now known as BC. Her hope is to continue being a ‘Weaver’, advocating to create better access to resources and increase our collective seed and food security and sovereignty and preparedness in the face of climate chaos.

Diversified Farm Business: Spreading out Risk – with Matthew Carr of Linden Lane Farms & Cultivate Horticulture

Feeling either spread too thin or like you have blinders on for new opportunities? We will discuss how to spread out risk on small farms, investigate new ideas, bounce back from failures, build on successes, and the benefits and disadvantages of diversifying from real experiences of developing a farm brand and business over the past ten years.

About Matthew Carr:

Matthew is the owner and production manager of Linden Lane Farms, a diversified organic market garden and nursery that focuses on production, research and education. Along with managing the farm’s day to day operations in Krestova, Matthew is the lead agrologist for Cultivate Horticulture, which provides innovative tools, technology and equipment, as well as horticultural agronomy consultation for both hobbyists and commercial producers. He has a passion for farming and innovation, and is on a mission to inspire the next generation of growers faced with the future challenges of food production.

Connect the Dots Farming: The Value of Whole System Thinking – with Forest McCormack or McCormack Farm

By working with nature and helping to restore ecosystems function, agriculture will become a pleasant experience for all involved. Whole system thought allows producers to focus on being proactive rather than reactive. Forest will speak to his journey within agriculture and his family’s history on their farm (McCormack Farm) in Burton British Columbia. How changing how he viewed his surroundings was the biggest hurdle he faced in starting his own farming business on this 120 year old farm.




How to start your own food forest from seed- with Brian Goldstein of Zero Fox Tree Crops

In this workshop participants will learn the tricks and techniques for growing their own perennial edible plants from locally-adapted seed sources. Brian Goldstein of ZeroFox Tree Crops will explain how he sources local seeds of native and non-native food producing plants and processes them, stores them, and grows them out the following year. Topics will include the tricks of tracking down quality genetic candidates for edible perennials adapted to your area and how to clean and process their seeds on an affordable homesteading scale. Additionally, you will learn how to store and stratify seeds that are adapted to cold climates, which then will lead into exactly how to plant and tend to these woody perennials in your home nursery. Food forestry is an important tool in food security and this workshop aims to make planting your own tree crops accessible and realistic on a homesteaders budget in a cold climate.

About Brian Goldstein:zero fox

Brian Goldstein is founder and co-owner of ZeroFox Tree Crops nursery located in Harrop, BC. Always interested in cold climate food systems Brian found his way to the Kootenays from his homeland of Colorado in 2010 on a trip to take a permaculture course in Winlaw, BC. A few years later Brian met his partner Krista and they worked on starting a farm business with the help of Community Futures and the Young Agrarians Land Matching Program. Brian’s experience with cold climate vegetables and interest in resilient food systems led to a keen awareness of all the exciting food producing trees growing in the Kootenay region and throughout the Southern Interior. With a background in foraging, it was a perfect fit for creating a nursery business based on growing edible plants from local sources. The nursery is entering the second half of its first decade and features more than 40 types of plants used in food forest systems.

Soil Blocking Demo – with Emma Sowiak & Scott Humphries of Bent Plow Farm

bent plow farmSoil blocking, the act of lightly compressing soil to make individual blocks for starting seeds, is a great way to produce strong and healthy seedlings without the use of flimsy plastic plug trays. Emma and Scott will demonstrate how they efficiently use soil blocking for their 2 acre operation and give you the opportunity to try it for yourself!

About Emma and Scott:

Emma and Scott run Bent Plow Farm – a certified organic, mixed vegetable market garden – just outside of Nelson. They have been soil-blocking since 2014. Find them on instagram @bentplowfarm

Micro-dairy feasibility and Diverse traditional farming – with Ewan and Amanda Forrest of Forrest Farm

In this workshop we will highlight our experiences opening a micro dairy while maintaining and developing a mixed traditional farm.
  • Working with livestock to improve soil
  • Diversifying revenue streams
  • “Value added” as necessity
  • Navigating regulations and licensing of meat production
  • Adapting to climate and cost changes
  • Interconnections, traditional farming and the farm as a single unit
  • Working within regulations, and navigating growth

About Ewan and Amanda Forrest:

We are a small diverse first generation traditional farm, working with livestock and building into a farmstead micro dairy in Salmo, BC.

Ewan and Amanda own and operate Forrest Farm, a small (8 acre) mixed farm that has several diverse and adaptable revenue streams. We started farming with the intention of becoming a Farmstead Sheep and Goat Cheese dairy, and after 8 years of growth we are set to be certified and begin commercial operation this spring. In this workshop we hope to share our experiences with raising livestock as first time farmers, the challenges of developing a new farm, and the process of growing and developing into a commercial farmstead micro dairy.

Farming West Kootenay Soils – with Bill Chapman, PhD

Farming Kootenay soil is no small feat! Site variability and small pockets of arable land make it a unique endeavor for each small farm to manage their own soil fertility for crop production. Information about soils can help understand soil management issues, guide development of fertility management regimes and can assess and guide improvements to soil condition and health. However, the diversity of soils in the West Kootenay and relatively small number of producers means that it is difficult for large commercial labs to fine tune their standard analyses and interpretations to West Kootenay conditions. Without soil series specific knowledge, the potential utility of soil analyses is greatly limited.

With those challenges in mind, a few years ago a Soil Club was formed under the leadership of Rachael Rousin and with soil scientist Bill Chapman to help producers better understand the key indicators of soil health for crop and soil management. Soil samples were collected from Kootenay farms and sent to a Provincial laboratory for analysis to look at a broad range of indicators for nutrient management. Due to Covid, the Soil Club never really got out of the starting gate. In this presentation, Bill Chapman will review the utility of soil analyses, the challenges to taking a meaningful sample, the challenges to finding a lab that understands your conditions, and using the soil samples already collected, will give examples of how soil analyses can be used to improve management decisions.

Bill and Louisa recently attended the Growers Short Course in Abbotsford where we saw two presentations by, and briefly met Dieter Geesing, Provincial Soil Specialist, BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Abbotsford, BC. Dieter has many of the same views of soil as Bill and the talk will include a brief overview of some of Dieter’s concepts. Dieter said that he would be willing to come to the West Kootenay to talk to the Soil Club. Part of the intent of the talk will be to gauge the interest in reviving the attempt to form a Soil Club.

About Bill Chapman:

  • Raised in Castlegar BC, attended two years of University Transfer in Sciences at Selkirk College
  • Fought forest fires for 5 years in Cranbrook, Lardeau and Castlegar while attending Selkirk and University of Alberta
  • Graduated from U of A with a BScAg with a specialization in Plant Breeding.
  • Worked as a Forestry consultant from 1978 to 1981.
  • Worked as an Environmental/ Agricultural Consultant in Alberta from 1981 to 1985. Conducted research on soil acidification and contributed to investigations into various kinds of environmental damage and industrial effects on farm productivity.
  • 1985 returned to UBC to do a PhD in Forest Soils under Dr. Tim Ballard. Research focus was ectomycorrhizae under the guidance of Dr. Shannon Berch and Dr. Gary Hunt. Specialization was forest soil biology but with expertise in Soil Chemistry and Physics as well.
  • 1990 to 1992 Worked as a researcher at BC Researcher doing Post Doctoral research on root diseases of nursery seedlings under Dr. Paige Axelrood
  • 1992 to 2017 was a Research Soil Scientist in the Research Department of the BC Ministry of Forests (and its various iterations). Research interests included disease suppression by soils, effects of organic matter removal and compaction on soil function and productivity, rehabilitation of highly disturbed areas, the pine mushroom symbiosis, cultivation of native mushrooms in wild settings, nitrogen fixation inside the ectomycorrhizae of lodgepole pine, and several others.
  • 2017 to present Bill and Louisa have farmed at Hawthorn Creek Farm in Tarrys, BC where we grow tomatoes, squash, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, basil and an assortment of other crops

Adding Opportunity: moving beyond primary production to increase the value of your local food – with Nyree Marsh of Basin Business Advisors

Explore increasing the value of your primary production by expanding your market with value-add. Find your place in the food value chain and use it to grow your business. This workshop will provide an overview of regulatory basics, pricing through the food value chain, and partnering with retailers to build a strong market for your local food. There will be time for Q&A.

About Nyree:

Nyree is a business owner who has over 20 years of hands-on experience in and knowledge of agriculture. In early 2020, Nyree joined the Basin Business Advisors Program as the Agriculture Business Advisor, she provides free one-to-one advisement for agriculture businesses within the Columbia Basin. Prior to joining the BBA, Nyree established farm businesses and worked with existing farmers within Canada and overseas.

Land Access – with Hailey Troock of Young Agrarians

In the Kootenay region land value has increased by 40% in the past few years and land access remains one of the greatest challenges for aspiring farmers. With more than 240 matches completed across the province since 2018, the B.C. Land Matching Program seeks to address the high cost of land by helping farmers and landholders get written agreements in place to share land for agriculture. Join Hailey Troock, the Kootenay/Columbia Basin Land Matcher, for a table talk to chat about the land access context in the region and the free hands-on support provided to land seeking farmers and landholders through the BCLMP.

About Hailey Troock:Hailey Troock

Hailey Troock grew up in the small agricultural community of Oyama, located in the Okanagan. Now based in Nelson, she spends her time connecting farmers, landholders, and allies in the Columbia Basin region. Hailey’s background is in public policy, bilateral negotiation, project administration and business support and she enjoys using these skills as a Land Matcher to help local communities build sustainable and sovereign local food systems. When not working with Young Agrarians, Hailey can be found camping, snowboarding, taking pictures, gardening, making music and working on her side hustle in E-Commerce consultancy and training.

Keeping Farm Records – with Melanie Buffel of Young Agrarians

Well kept farm records go a long way to supporting the viability of your farm business. They will help you plan and manage your farm business more efficiently and effectively. Melanie BuffelWhat are the key records for you to keep on your farm? How do these records relate to each other? What can they tell you about the health and profitability of your farm? How do you keep on top of them when you get BUSY! Join us for a lively discussion of farm record keeping and leave inspired to dial in your record keeping system.
About Melanie Buffel:
Melanie Buffel is the Manager of the Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Network Program. Melanie has managed the Abundance Community Farm in the Fraser Valley for the last six years. She has an MBA in community economic development.and comes from a 25 year career in financial literacy education and money coaching.  Melanie supports farmers to create viable business plans for their farms and to set themselves up for success by developing good record keeping systems.

Check back for more workshop descriptions from the following:

  • Tiffany Traverse of Fourth Sister Farm – Native/traditional plants of the region
  • Andrew Bennet of Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors – Water, Irrigation & Climate-Resilient Farming

About the Caterer:

Wild Peach Preserves

Jennifer is a Chinese Medicine Herbalist and cook and the creative mind behind Wild Peach Preserves, a food company producing small batches of medicinal bone broth, herbal filled preserves, jams and noodles. Jen grew up working in a Greek restaurant and loves recreating that feeling of love and family and bounty that accompanies a big feast. Armed with the knowledge of herbal medicine and a palate use to good eats, Jen looks forward to feeding you. Hungry for more? Check out her site at wildpeachpreserves.com

Thank you to our Food Sponsors!

Rancho Vignola


Thank you!

The Columbia Basin Mixer is funded by the Columbia Basin Trust and Futurpreneur. Thank you for your generous support!

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Columbia Basin Mixer 2023

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