January 21-22: Kelowna, BC – Young Agrarians 4th Okanagan Winter Farmer Mixer

Posted by Emily Jubenvill on January 20, 2017 2 Comments

Looking for the Young Agrarians Vancouver Island Winter Mixer? Click here!

This year’s Okangan Winter Farmer Mixer is going to offer a full two days of workshops and sessions to sharpen your farm skills, and build connections with other new farmers. Join us to learn about Holistic Management, Indigenous Land and Food Systems, Crop Planning, Business Management and more! Saturday night we will host an awesome Potluck too: new and young(ish) farmers, foodies, and farm friends are all welcome!

WHEN: Saturday January 21 – Sunday January 22, 2017

WHERE: Okanagan Mission Community Hall, 4409 Lakeshore Road, Kelowna, BC

COST:  Sliding scale $50-100.  All funds raised go to covering the cost of the event. Thank you for your support! Work trade options are available.

READY TO REGISTER: Click here to go to Brown Paper Tickets and don’t forget to join our Facebook Event.

WHAT TO BRING: Lunch and light snacks will be provided both days, but bring a travel mug for your coffee or tea. Saturday night will be a potluck and social at the end of the day –there is nothing better n’ sharing a community made meal together. Please bring a food item to share. To make the most of this part of the Mixer, please invite your friends and family – the more, the merrier!

Saturday Night Community Potluck!

When: 6:30pm-9:30pm, Saturday, January 21 2017

Where: Okanagan Mission Community Hall, 4409 Lakeshore Road, Kelowna, BC

The Community Potluck is free, open to all ages, and for the whole community (not just those attending the Mixer). Just bring a dish to share! Invite your friends and family – the more, the merrier! 

We’ve been working hard to bring you a full and inspiring agenda, and many opportunities to connect and build relationships. There will be hands on sessions, open discussions, and formal presentations – something for everyone!

YA Mixers are known for the remarkable connections that can happen at them, 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).

Joy Road Catering will be providing farm fresh lunch at the upcoming okanagan winter mixerThe amazing folks at Joy Road Catering will be preparing our lunches, so you are guaranteed to enjoy some delicious and nourishing food at the Mixer. Armstrong Apiaries, Bella Stella Cheese, Claremont Ranch Organics, Crannog Ales, Fieldstone Organics, Fresh Valley Farms, Grass Roots Dairy, Left Fields Farm, Prairie Creek Edibles, Rancho Vignola, Shuswap Coffee, Sproule & Sons Farm, Urban Harvest, Westbank Harvest, and Willow Creek Organics have generously donated food or beverages.  If you are interested in donating any food items, please let Emily know at okanagan@youngagrarians.org.


Please use the Facebook event page to find rides and plan your travels. If you are NOT on Facebook, please send a note to okanagan@youngagrarians.org SUBJECT: need to find a ride to Okanagan Mixer, OR have a ride to offer to Okanagan Mixer. Let us know where you are travelling from.


BILLETING: Please use the Facebook event page to find billeting or offer to billet people. If you are NOT on Facebook, please send a note to okanagan@youngagrarians.org SUBJECT: want to billet for Okanagan Mixer, OR can offer billeting for Okanagan Mixer.

HOTEL: Hotel Zed is giving Winter Mixer attendees a discounted rate! Get rooms that sleep 2-6 people (Bachlor(ette) Pads, Zed 2 Beds, King of Bunks, or the Sixer) for $69-89 per night. Call 1-855-763-7771 and quote Group ID 5226001 “Young Agrarians” to book your room. This block of rooms is only available until December 31, 2016 – so book early!


saturday sched Sunday Schedule



Session Descriptions & Presenter Bios

Managing for Long-term Soil Productivity & Health

In this workshop participants will be introduced to the basics of soil biology and nutrient cycling to help them better understand how to manage their soil for long-term productivity and health. Participants will be given an overview of soil food web interactions and the role of soil organisms from micro to macro fauna. Participants will gain an understanding of who the organism are, what do they do, and how they interact. The basics of physical and chemical characteristics of soil and its importance to biota will be presented. Participants will also learn about the challenges of optimizing nutrient availability, review how to read soil analysis reports and develop a nutrient management plan. Participants should expect to do a little (very easy) math. The role of soil organic matter and strategies to build it will be also discussed.

sean-smucklerSean Smukler is an Assistant Professor in Applied Biology & Soil Science and the Junior Chair of Agriculture and the Environment for the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia. His research currently focuses on helping farmers adapt to climate change and improve the sustainability of their farming practices. Sean received a PhD in Ecology from the University of California, Davis where he also did his undergraduate studies. He holds a MSc. in Forest Soils from the University of Washington, Seattle. For more information about Sean’s research program, visit his lab’s website: sal-lab.landfood.ubc.ca

Loans & Lending: Demystifying financing options for your farm

Need new infrastructure or capital to take your farm business to the next level, but need to consider a loan to make it happen? Just the thought of getting a loan can be scary! In this workshop Rob Short, from Community Futures in Vernon, will walk us through the process of getting a loan, how to prepare, and why it may not be as scary as you think. After this workshop you will:

  • Be able to describe and complete the various pieces of documentation required in a business loan application.
  • Be able to provide specifics relative to a requested loan amount together with supporting documentation.
  • Be able to demonstrate what the risks to the application are and how to mitigate them.
  • Be able to demonstrate loan repayment together with supporting documentation.
  • Be able to calculate your personal net worth.
  • Be able to calculate your personal total debt service ratio.
  • Be able to build and present a business loan application to a lender.

rob-short-cropRob Short started his career in the banking industry in 1980 as a branch administration officer trainee with the Royal Bank in Port Alberni. Following 12 years as an administrator and a number of transfers to locations all around British Columbia, Rob entered the stream of business loans. After his training in Coquitlam he was transferred to Vernon in 1993 where he has resided ever since. Prior to a forecasted downsize within the Royal Bank in the late 1990’s Rob made the decision to seek a similar role with the Bank of Montreal where he retired from his commercial account manager position in February 2015. Not ready to put the pen down just yet, Rob accepted the position of Loans Coordinator at Community Futures in March 2015 where he describes his role as 1/3 Business Financer, 1/3 Business Coach and 1/3 Business Consultant. Rob and his wife Shannon enjoying hiking, camping, cross country skiing and also have two weiner dogs.

Communicating with Heart: Collaborative conflict resolution on the farm

Conflict is inevitable in any job and the lived reality of being a farmer, hiring or working for one, means sticky situations can be commonplace. In this workshop you’ll learn how to approach tough conversations in a collaborative way. Discover the factors that affect conflict, cues for self awareness, and styles of conflict (plus how to work with them). Come join this fast-paced session and build a toolbox of practical strategies to address conflict for positive outcomes. Leave with insight and confidence to show up for hard conversations with open ears and an open heart both on and off the farm.

Have an example of an on-farm conflict you’re dealing with that you’d love to see used as an example to work through? Send a line to Keeley (keeleynixon@gmail.com) and she’ll do her best to include!

nixon_photoKeeley Nixon has been involved in farming and food activism since moving from the BC interior in 2001. She is a local farmer and seed grower, and coordinator for a wide range of agricultural projects. A facilitator and mediator in training, Keeley thrives on working with farmers through conflict and tough conversations by listening and collaborating to create durable changes and preserve important relationships. She brings her experience both in and out of the field, passion for cooking, good design, community engagement and general joie de vivre to all that she does.

Farm Business Planning

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.

Farmer Chris Bodnar walks a row of vegetables on his farm with his daughterChris Bodnar co-owns and operates Close to Home Organics with his wife, Paige, at Glen Valley Organic Farm in Abbotsford. Now in their tenth 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. Prior to farming Chris earned a PhD in Communication from Carleton University. His academic interests continue through teaching and writing. Chris teaches the  business planning components of Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Sustainable Agriculture program. Chris sits on the board of the Mount Lehman Credit Union. He does business planning consulting with small-scale farmers and is a mentor with the Young Agrarians’ BC Business Mentorship Network.

Introduction to Holistic Management

This workshop will be an introduction to Holistic Management, a value-based decision-making framework that integrates all aspects of planning for social, economic, and environmental considerations. For over 30 years farmers, ranchers, and pastoralists have used Holistic Management to improve the land, grow nutritious food, and play a vital role in their local communities. This workshop will cover:

  • Understanding your “whole under management”
  • Setting goals for successful business planning
  • Testing questions and tools for decision making
  • Resources management and planned grazing
  • Ecosystem monitoring

img_0459Dana Penrice and Ted Chastko are the owners of C & E Meats and the Prairie Pasture Project. Their farm began in 2014, with the goal of building landscapes that support resilient communities and regenerative ecosystems. Ted grew up on a family farm in Manitoba and brings a wealth of knowledge on rotational grazing, ecosystem monitoring and animal husbandry. Dana is the coordinator for Holistic Management Canada and brings experience in goal setting, planning and communications. C & E Meats is located just outside Lacombe, Alberta where they raise grass-fed beef and lamb and pasture-raised chicken. Dana and Ted believe that grazing livestock and poultry can heal our planet. Using Holistic Management and intensive grazing, they have seen dramatic improvements in the soil, land and ecosystem. The dung beetles are back baby!   

DIY Caterpillar High-Tunnels: Do’s & Don’ts (off-site, hands-on)

Veggie grower Jordan Marr has been building his own DIY, caterpillar-style walk-in tunnels for a few years. These tunnels are functional and cost-effective if built properly. This workshop will feature a tour of his farm with a focus on his hoophouses. He’ll talk about basic construction concepts and pitfalls to avoid. Weather permitting, participants will also get some hands-on experience with one or two major steps of the building process. 20150407_120542-largeThis workshop is best suited to beginners, or any farmers who lack confidence when it comes to building/construction. This workshop will have space limited to 8 participants due to logistics of facilitating hands-on component and availability of parking. Sign up will be at the registration desk on Saturday  on a first come first serve basis.

Jordan Marr grows organic market veggies. He has been in business six years and has just relocated his operation to a new lease in Kelowna. He has built both reliable, and terrible, caterpillar tunnels, and hopes to help you avoid doing the latter.

Integrating Livestock into Your Small Farm or Homestead

Would you like to enhance your farm’s resilience & sustainability, improve soil health & nutrient cycling and turn waste into a resource? What if you could do all this while saving labour, increasing output and making money? Consider adding a livestock enterprise on your farm! Perhaps you already keep some animals, but are you working for them or making them work for you? We will discuss and demonstrate small-scale livestock husbandry tools, equipment and techniques that allow you to integrate livestock on your land. Emphasis will be on incorporating livestock into fruit and vegetable systems to improve soil health, control pests and accomplish tasks. Whether you have raised animals for years or have never even cared for a hamster, you will leave this workshop with new ideas and resources for a big head start on your next farm enterprise.

Tritraistanandaubynstan and Aubyn Banwell manage Spray Creek Ranch, a certified organic, diversified 260-acre farm in the Upper St’at’imc Territory near Lillooet, BC. This spectacular land lies along the Mighty Fraser River in the rain shadow of the Coast Mountains and produces cattle, pigs and poultry on pasture, along with a verdant homestead garden. Their enterprises include a growing on-farm abattoir and meat shop, providing local markets with diverse meats of known provenance and unparalleled quality. With years of homesteading under their belts and experience with a diversity of species, they will take the mystery out of livestock husbandry and jump-start your operation. Visit www.facebook.com/spraycreek to learn more or get in touch.

Butchering for the Homestead (hands on)

This will be a hands on workshop with very limited space. Cameron will walk participants through butchering a pig. This workshop will be facilitated to answer your questions and share participants’ butchering experiences too. It’s sure to be fascinating and fun!

cam_headshotCameron Smith is a graduate of the esteemed George Brown Culinary Management Program, and sought to enhance his classic training at some of Toronto’s finest restaurants, including Jamie Kennedy Royal Ontario Museum and Scaramouche. At the renowned Avalon Restaurant, he mastered the stations of saucier and entremetier and developed a deep appreciation for local growers, farmers and artisans under the guidance of his mentor, Chris McDonald. His quest for knowledge then led him to Toque! in Montreal, where he learned the fine art of butchery under Chef Normand Laprise and, later, to Le Passe Partout to work for the legendary master of French technique, James MacGuire. To acquire an understanding of the culinary arts that can’t be taught in a classroom or kitchen setting, Cameron travelled the world and found Mexico, Portugal, Spain and France to be a source of major inspiration for him professionally. Now, Cameron and Dana Ewart run Joy Road Cuisine du Terroir, an Okanagan based catering company that focuses on fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients. They raise 6 hogs on their farm each year, and Cameron instructs many butchery and sausage making workshops each year.

Indigenous Food Systems

Description coming soon….


PaulineTerbasket_Executive Directorpauline Pauline Terbasket is a proud Syilx (Okanagan) woman and member of the Syilx Nation.  Ms. Terbasket has led her community and her Nation as a elected Band council member of her member Band and most recently as the Executive Director of the Okanagan Nation Alliance.  Ms. Terbasket has more than 25 years of experience working for a variety of First Nations organizations and government.   In addition to her professional endeavors, she has sat as volunteer board member with numerous local and regional organizations and societies including the BC Native Women’s Society, En’owkin Centre, UBC Okanagan, Aboriginal Peoples Family Accord and the Ki-low-Na Friendship Society.  Ms. Terbasket was also appointed to the Okanagan College Board of Governors.  A strong advocate for social change, she has committed herself to tackling difficult issues confronting the prosperity and wellness of Indigenous people.   Ms. Terbasket believes that the revitalization of Indigenous cultures and language is critical to self-determination and survival of Indigenous peoples. In recent years she also dedicated her volunteer efforts from 2007- 2011 as Chair of the First Peoples Cultural Foundation and has become an active member of Slow Foods International, advocating for Indigenous Food Sovereignty and Food Security efforts around the Globe.

Crop Planning: Preparing for a Summer Growing and Selling

This workshop is about assisting farmers to make the most of their valuable time. It will be based on handouts that will help growers plan how to make best use of their limited time and money come the growing season. It will assist farmers to implement an achievable and effective marketing plan. Some of the elements to consider will include: preparing greenhouses and fields, organization of groups of crops in the field, succession planting, niche marketing, trends in food purchasing, creating new customers and business contacts, best allocation of time and resources. Handouts will allow participants to go home and continue the process of planning, growing, producing, and marketing. Bring your own ideas, successes, failures, questions, and experiences so that they may be part of our learning process.

danDan Meakes started growing things while at UBC in the 1970’s. He has been a market vendor in Kamloops, Sorrento, Salmon Arm and Revelstoke. For the past 8 years, he has farmed mixed vegetables and fruit in the North Broadview area of Salmon Arm, and sold at both Salmon Arm and Revelstoke farmer’s markets. Dan taught in colleges and was a founder of and teacher in alternate high schools and a private job training centre. His teaching style is an active participation approach in which learners learn best from one another and have fun engaging in learning experiences. He believes success in the business world comes from a collaborative approach as opposed to a competitive one.

Land Leasing & Regulations

Got Land? Want Land? Join the YA Land Matching Program Coordinator for a session exploring the nuts and bolts of leasing land. We’ll look at what goes into creating a solid land arrangement: best practices for your lease, registered leases, the regulations surrounding farm tax status, housing and ALR, communication tools and building a strong relationship with land owners, seeking legal counsel, and key factors in assessing darcyland. You’ll come away with a solid understanding of the resources available to support you, and the knowledge to help you approach land owners and build out mutually beneficial land agreements. Bring your questions!

Darcy Smith is the Young Agrarians Land Matcher for the Fraser Valley, a pilot project modelled off of Quebec’s successful Banque de Terres (Land Bank) program to connect new farmers to available land. (youngagrarians.org/land)

Propagation: Growing Great Starts & Seedlings

This workshop will go through the elements needed to grow successful seedlings and transplants. Taking a hands on approach to examine the composition of growing mediums, and the benefits of different container types. It will also include information about germination requirements, air flow, watering strategies, and timing.

2014-04-12-13-51-37Sarah Martel owns and operates 4 Elements Farm in Westwold BC, with her husband, Michael Weinman. Together they farm 2.5 acres of mixed organic vegetables and raise three young children. 4 Elements Farm has operated for 8 years; selling at farmers markets in both Kamloops and Vernon, to a few restaurants and running a small CSA. Brought to farming through activism and a love of the outdoors, Sarah has a background in silvaculture, and enjoys a variety of outdoor pursuits.

Farm Financial Management

Financial management of a business is crucial for understanding how you are doing and whether your business is (or will be) economically sustainable. In this workshop we will review how to set up a system for tracking your farm finances, from bookkeeping options through to time management during the weekly farm schedule. We will review the various financial reports that help you understand your business’ activities and how to read each of them. Participants who already have financial statements can bring their reports if they would like to review them in the workshop.
Farmer Chris Bodnar walks a row of vegetables on his farm with his daughterChris Bodnar co-owns and operates Close to Home Organics with his wife, Paige, at Glen Valley Organic Farm in Abbotsford. Now in their tenth 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. Prior to farming Chris earned a PhD in Communication from Carleton University. His academic interests continue through teaching and writing. Chris teaches the  business planning components of Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Sustainable Agriculture program. Chris sits on the board of the Mount Lehman Credit Union. He does business planning consulting with small-scale farmers and is a mentor with the Young Agrarians’ BC Business Mentorship Network.

Stretching & Qi Gong for Farmers

Sifu Falko Kriel will be teaching the Unbroken Stream Qi Gong, a series of gentle and mindful movements designed to cultivate health, energy, awareness, and longevity. Qi Gong, which can roughly be translated as “energy work”, refers to a practice that originated in ancient China in which body, mind, and breath are brought into harmony and optimal health is cultivated. Qi Gong practice has been shown to have far-reaching benefits, including increased strength, flexibility, balance, mindfulness, and an overall sense of wellness.  With his knowledge of Chinese medicine and philosophy, Falko will also discuss how these practices are linked to our relationship with the environment and give tips on how we can cultivate health by matching our internal biorhythms to the cycle of the seasons.

Sifu Falko Kriel began his martial arts training at a young age and has over 20 years of experience. In 2002 he met his Sifu (meaning master/teacher in Chines), Grandmaster Julian K. Duran, and began training under him at the Kung Fu Conservatory in Florida. At the Conservatory he studied Fu Jow Pai, Hung Gar, Mi Chung I, Yang style Tai Chi Chuan, and Leung Ying Tai Chi Chuan. He was fortunate to have the opportunity to live with his Sifu for an intensive study of martial arts as well as having the honor to train directly under Great Grandmaster Wai Hong in various seminars. Sifu Falko also holds a master’s degree in Oriental Medicine, and is a licensed Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner in BC.

Raffle & Door Prizes: Greens Harvester & Gift Cards!


We are excited to announce that Farmer’s Friend LLC has donated a Quick Cut Greens Harvester! We will be holding a raffle for this fantastic tool at both our Vancouver Island and our Okanagan Mixers. We have one tool to raffle – so we will draw one winner from the two gatherings.

Tickets will be $5/each, $10 for 3 and $15 for 5.  Save your loonies and toonies and bring them with you to enter to win!

Peavy Mart has donated four $100 gift cards – these will be door prizes at the Okanagan Winter Mixer! A great opportunity to pick up some new tools or supplies before the season kicks off!

This event was made possible by the Central Okanagan Foundation and with funding support from Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. Thank you to all our funders and sponsors.



Thank you to Our Amazing Sponsors!

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