Okanagan Mixer Rocked & Wrap-up Notes

Posted by Sara Dent on May 01, 2014

It was an awesome two days at Summerhill Winery, March 8-9, 2014. Saturday we had @ 75 participants filtering in throughout the day and night. We broke the day up into open space in the morning session and workshops in the afternoon.

Introduction Circle:) Networking up the room so that farmers and participants know who is in the space. We ask folk to identify needs and opportunities. Direct connections get made through this process.YA Okanagan Mixer-1The fabulous Jenica Frisque co-facilitating for the day.YA Okanagan Mixer-3We were so lucky to have Joy Road Catering prepare lunch for us. A special thank you to Urban Harvest for donating food and organizing food transportation. Also thank you to food sponsors: Claremont Ranch OrganicsCrannog Ales and Fresh Valley Farms. What we ate was all local product grown by the farmers in the room. What a joy it is to eat with those who steward our local food systems. I am constantly inspired by the choices young people are making today to farm the land and work to make their farm dreams come true.

YA Okanagan Mixer-26This is Steve Meggait of Fresh Valley Farms in Armstrong, BC – one of our generous food sponsors for the weekend.  We’re excited for Steve’s mixer this summer on his family farm!YA Okanagan Mixer-28Heather Pritchard, Farm Program Manager from FarmFolk CityFolk leading a workshop on farm co-ops. Heather has been actively supporting the development of Young Agrarians since we became a partnership with FarmFolk CityFolk in 2012.  To download a rad new handbook about farming cooperatively, check out this guide published by The Greenhorns.YA Okanagan Mixer-34YA Okanagan Mixer-38We are lucky to have many wee’ agrarians join us at events. Their plant growing parents are awesome; many of these munchkins are over-exposed to too much good food, healthy environments and happy, strong, resilient people.YA Okanagan Mixer-22MAZUNGA!!! Group warrior call led by Jenica to energize the room!YA Okanagan Mixer-50 YA Okanagan Mixer-51 YA Okanagan Mixer-52Scott Bell’s workshop on recordkeeping for production rocked. People got all nerdy on Excel spreadsheets together. Scott works with Fresh Roots Urban Farm in Vancouver, an amazing edible education organization that market gardens school yards and builds community in the Big Smoke. To download the worksheets click on these links: Scott Bell Record Keeping Wksp.pdf   Scott Bell Record Keeping Spreadsheet Template.xlsx YA Okanagan Mixer-32 YA Okanagan Mixer-33Matt Gomez giving a workshop on marketing on the Internet, optimizing search engines so people can find you, and Soil Mate, an awesome new farmer to consumer platform you should sign up on. To read more about it check out this blog post: https://youngagrarians.org/soil-mate/.YA Okanagan Mixer-57Jordan Marr of Homestead Organic Farm and the Ruminant Blog leading a workshop on Organic Certification. Download the new Certified Organic Association of British Columbia (COABC) toolkit here: certifiedorganic.bc.ca/toolkits.YA Okanagan Mixer-59In general, the organic certification application process is the sort of thing that appears overwhelming at first, but if you break it down into steps you’ll find that it’s fairly straightforward:

Steps to achieve organic certification status for your farm in British Columbia
1. Understand these terms: accreditation body, certifying body, Canadian Organic Regime, General Principles and Managment Document, Permitted Substances List, regional certification, ISO certification. All info available at certifiedorganic.bc.ca.
2. Select a potential certifying body. Google ‘organic certifying bodies British Columbia’ for a full list.
3. Go through application process for that certifying body. You will need to know the land use history of your farm, and will likely need to submit soil and water test results. Within the next year, and every year after that, your farm will be inspected once a year by a verification officer. Generally, your land’s first designation is ‘transitional to organic’. This designation lasts between one and three years.
4. Every year you wish to maintain your certification, you will need to keep careful documentation of your farming practices, and include that documentation in a yearly re-application process. Yearly cost of certification ranges as little as $350 and as high as $1000. It depends on your farm’s scale.
:: Young Agrarians 2014 Saturday Group Shot:) What a joy to be with everyone! Thank you to all of our workshop leaders, open space convenors, and participants for making Saturday awesome. To read notes from the open space workshops click on this download link:  YA OK Mixer March 8 Open Space Notes.docx YA Okanagan Mixer-63Sunday saw @ 90 people from across the Okanagan come to the Jean-Martin Fortier workshop, author of The Market Gardener. It was a fabulous workshop and energy was high throughout the day. We had a fantastic feast people-powered lunch buffet of epic proportions. I was too engulfed in conversation to get a picture…JMF Workshop Kelowna-1

JMF Workshop Kelowna-4 JMF Workshop Kelowna-5JMF Workshop Kelowna-8

JMF Workshop Kelowna-11This is the fabulous Curtis Stone of Green City Acres rocking the recording and SPIN urban farmer extraordinaire in Kelowna. Curtis helped us organize the weekend.JMF Workshop Kelowna-16Jean-Martin is a great speaker. We thoroughly enjoyed his workshop. The agrarians in the room were inspired by Jean-Martin’s know-how of how to make a small-acreage profitable and efficient.JMF Workshop Kelowna-20 JMF Workshop Kelowna-21 JMF Workshop Kelowna-22 JMF Workshop Kelowna-23 JMF Workshop Kelowna-24Great to see Vileena and Nicholas Peterson who run Nicola Valley Produce out for the workshop. They are fantastic Garlic Growers in the Nicola Valley. JMF Workshop Kelowna-27Thanks to everyone who joined us on the weekend. Thank you to the Central Okanagan Foundation, Summerhill Winery and Farm Start for making the weekend possible.

To see the full photo set from the event on FLICKR please go to: https://www.flickr.com/photos/saradent/sets/72157642283489104/

Okanagan area folk: if you want to host a Young Agrarians farm tour and potluck, or some other type of event this year get in touch: theyoungagrarians@gmail.com. We’d love to work with you! In Farm Love, Sara Dent