Comox Valley – Land Linking & Second Annual Spring Farmer Mixer March 14-15

Posted by Moss Dance on February 19, 2015 2 Comments

Land Linking Session and Farmer Social – Comox Valley

Saturday, March 14, 2015, 1:00-9:00PM, Merville Hall

LL Merville 2015 SM-1

REGISTER (Free) for Comox Valley Land Linking here: 

Want Land? Got Land?
Are you a farmer looking for land?
Are you a landowner looking for farmers?
We Want You!

Join us for a workshop on the nuts and bolts of land linking. If lucky, you may meet your future farmer, or find the right owner with a great piece of land to farm on! We’re inviting farmers and landowners from across Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands to join us.

1:00-6:00PM Land Linking Workshop – Network, Talk Farm Business & Organizational Models, Leases & Licenses, Succession Planning

6:00PM-9:00PM Potluck & Dance – Foodies & Farm Lovers: Join us for an evening of celebration with an all-ages Young Agrarians dinner potluck. Bring a dish to share and tools to eat with. Bring loved ones and friends!

A treat-tastic concession will be provided by Tree Eater Catering from Denman Island! Check out Tree Eater here 🙂

Second Annual Vancouver Island Spring Farmer Mixer – Comox Valley

Sunday, March 15, 2015, 9:00AM-5:00PM, Merville Hall, Merville, BC


REGISTER (by donation) for Second Annual Vancouver Island Spring Farmer Mixer here:

Last year, our Spring Farmer Mixer was such a success, we are stoked do it again in 2015! Learn, Network & Celebrate with us at our one-day mixer in the Comox Valley!

We’ve got a great line-up of workshops and panel sessions for beginning & experienced farmers and friends of farmers. Our aim is to give you a chance to learn about relevant skills & knowledge to help you farm hard!

Mixer Schedule


Workshop Descriptions

Business Planning for Farmers with Chris Bodnar (Close to Home Organics)

There is no standard formula as to what a farmer ought to be, nor what a farming business must look like. Rather, successful farmers will have a clear sense of what they want to accomplish and why they are the appropriate people to accomplish it. Having a business plan contributes to this clarity the way having a map and a trip plan helps a traveller reach their destination. But only 1 in 5 farm business have a business plan . . . which means a lot of people are getting lost in their journey. This workshop will provide new and experienced farmers alike with the basics of writing a solid, realistic business plan. This includes setting measurable and attainable goals through to calculating the value of a crop per row-foot of land. By learning how to clearly articulate what it is their business will do and how they will do it, workshop participants will be better able to assess the viability of their plans and focus on profitable farming. This, in turn, will ultimately support them in achieving their personal and business goals.

Chris Bodnar co-owns and operates Close to Home Organics with his wife, Paige, at Glen Valley Organic Farm in Abbotsford. Now into their ninth 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. Chris has a PhD in Communication from Carleton University and he teaches the  business planning components of Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Richmond Farm School. He is also one of our fantastic mentors with the Young Agrarians’ BC Business Mentorship Network.

Understanding Your Soil Test with DeLisa Lewis (Green Fire Farm)

This workshop will focus on how to make the best use of soil fertility testing with the overall goal of improving your soil quality and health. We’ll cover the basics of getting a good soil sample and choosing the right soil lab, then dig into the specifics of understanding key soil fertility test results.

DeLisa Lewis co-owns and operates Green Fire Farm in the Cowichan Valley. Now re-entering farming after a seven-year “break” to complete her PhD in soils and agroecology, DeLisa has more than fourteen years experience managing certified organic mixed vegetable production systems. She was lead instructor for the UBC Farm Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture from 2011-2014, and her teaching, research, and consulting continue with focus areas in soil nutrient management, farm planning, and new farmer training. DeLisa is also a mentor with our BC Business Mentorship Network.

Let’s Work Together! Collective Marketing & Co-ops with Arzeena Hamir (Merville Organics & Amara Farm)

As much as we enjoy being our own masters, farming can be a lonely profession. In addition, the current food system can limit what markets single farms can supply. By marketing collectively, farmers can free up time to work more on the farm, specialize in what products they love to grow, and approach larger markets that were previously too difficult to service. Arzeena will describe the formation of Merville Organics from its beginnings as an informal relationship between two farms, to the formal incorporation as a multi-farm Growers’ Cooperative.  

Arzeena Hamir is an Professional Agrologist who specializes in organic food production. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Crop Science from the University of Guelph and her Master’s degree in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of London, England. Arzeena worked abroad for many years as a CUSO volunteer in Thailand and as a researcher in Jamaica, India, and Bangladesh. She was the staff agrologist for West Coast Seeds in the late ’90s and ran her own seed company, Terra Viva Organics. From 2008-2012 Arzeena was the Coordinator of the Richmond Food Security Society where she oversaw a number of community projects which included a proposal to the City of Richmond to declare itself a GMO-free Zone. In 2010, in conjunction with Kwantlen University, Arzeena helped to launch the Richmond Farm School. She and her husban run Amara Farm,  a 25 acre farm, in Courtenay, BC.

Berry Production Basics with Bonnie Zand (Bonnie’s Bugs IPM) & Stephen Eng (Windy Hill Farm/Evergro)

Learn the basics of berry cultivation and pest management with two Vancouver Island experts! Stephen will cover the conditions that create the best berry crops (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) as well as varieties to grow. Bonnie will cover monitoring for and identifying common pests and beneficial insects found in berries.

Bonnie Zand grew up on the northernmost market garden in Canada, located in Dawson City, Yukon. There, one of her first jobs was picking beetles out of the garden and drowning them in soapy water. Not deterred, Bonnie moved to Victoria and got her BSc in Biology, with a special interest in insects and invertebrates. After graduation Bonnie began working in agricultural pest management, and has now been running her own business (Bonnie’s Bugs IPM) for 5 years. She provides pest monitoring and consultation services to small and mid sized berry and vegetable growers, and has recently relocated from Victoria to 5 acres in the Comox Valley, where she lives with her husband, goats, chickens, pigs and what she hopes will someday become a market garden of her own.

Stephen Eng is a plant scientist and has worked with Evergro for 25 years.  He has owned and operated Windy Hill Farm in Saanichton for 21 years with his family. Stephen teachers a course in Sustainable Holistic Agriculture at the University of the Fraser Valley and  enjoys the challenge of combining science with practical experiences to impact changes in agriculture.

Organic Certification 101 – Megan Halstead
Wanting to certify your farm, but not sure where to start? Learn the basics of organic standards, how to apply, and bring your questions for a Q&A with Megan.
Megan Halstead, her partner & farm kid own and operate Halstead Farm where they raise organic sheep, chickens & pork. Their farm has been certified since 2011. Megan grew up with livestock and has worked on many farms both conventional and organic, and has a BSc in Agroecology from UBC.  She also works as an organic verification officer for the Islands Organic Producers Association.
Livestock & Poultry Health Panel Discussion – Megan Halstead & other speakers TBA 

Join us for an conversational panel about livestock & poultry health with local farmers. We’ll discuss common health issues and health preserving tips for everything from pigs to ducks to bees and treatment options when things go amiss.

Speakers TBA.

Good Food, Good Learning, Good Fun

The food, of course will be awesome! Lunch and snacks for the day will be provided by Tree Eater Catering from Denman Island! Check out Tree Eater here.

This is your chance to spend some time in the beautiful Comox Valley!


If you would like to attend both the Land Linking session March 14 and the Mixer on March 15 and are coming from out of town, please fill out the questionnaire in our REGISTRATION if you are looking for a ride or a place to stay. Or if you can offer this to others!

Funding for our Vancouver Island Spring Farmer Mixer and Land Linking Event is generously provided by the Real Estate Foundation of BC.

2 thoughts on “Comox Valley – Land Linking & Second Annual Spring Farmer Mixer March 14-15

  1. i expect to attend on the saturday sesion for sure, not sure about sunday.
    but whatever i am looking forward to meeting some eager young people
    who might like to participate in my farm.
    we have 130 acres, 100 plus acres will be used again to board beef cattle.
    there are several small fields that i have used over the years for a market
    garden. asside from growing all our own food on a portion of that, all my
    own energies are involved with my blueberry plantation, i do not have the energy to run the market garden on my own. carl

  2. We have a basement suit: 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom,with kitchenette and access to laundry, private entrance, wifi/heat/water included, plus portion of large greenhouse, chicken coop and 75’x50′ space for garden. 1.5 fenced acres for livestock. Exchange for $550 per month plus 5 hours per week of farm chores. Interested? Please call 250-713-1439 or email
    Cedar/ Yellow Point are (near Nanaimo airport)

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