Vancouver Island 3rd Annual Spring Farmer Mixer – Saanich

Posted by Moss Dance on December 17, 2015

Young Agrarians Third Annual Spring Farmer Mixer

March 2, 2016, 9:00-5:00 (Registration starts at 8:15AM)
Saanich Fairgrounds – 1528 Stellys Cross Rd, Central Saanich, BC
WSÁNEĆ territory

COST: By donation $75-25 sliding scale

Event Details

Tuesday, March 1 – Farmer2Farmer

8:30-4:30: Farmer2 Farmer Gathering (organized by our friends at CRFAIR) at the Saanich Fairgrounds! (Register separately for this event here!)


Tuesday, March 1, 5:00-9:00PM – Contra Dance, Potluck Social + LAND LINKING!

5:00PM – Stay on after Farmer2Farmer for a Young Agrarians + Farmer2Farmer potluck social! Bring family, friends, a dish to share and utensils to eat with. Contra dance, land linking, feasting and networking until 9:00PM.

Land Linking at the Potluck Social & Contra Dance:

Interested in having your land farmed? Are you a new farmer looking for land? Join us in the evening from 6-9PM during our potluck social. We will host a table for land owners and land seekers that want to connect and discuss potential land opportunities (table conversations start @ 6:00pm)!
Land owners please fill out this form here: YOUNG AGRARIANS LAND QUESTIONAIRRE
We will print it up and put it up on an AVAILABLE LAND WALL bulletin board for our potluck social & contra dance event as well as our Farmer Mixer the following day. Please come with some photos of your property, a dish to share and tools to eat with (plate, utensils, cup, etc.). Fill out a name tag at our registration desk at the front door and come and talk land!
Resources including Lease & License templates:

Wednesday, March 2

9:00-5:00 – Young Agrarians 3rd Annual Spring Farmer Mixer! Join us for a day of workshops, networking, deep discussions, great food and community building for farmers, foodies and farm-curious folk.

Here’s what we’ve got so far for workshops. Check back for more info soon as we are working on more offerings for the day!


#VIMIXER2016 Schedule

YoungAgrariansSpringFarmerMixerSchedule2016 (1)

Workshop Descriptions & Presenter Bios


Welcome & Opening (9:00-10:15)

Welcome to the Territory – Anna Spahan

Opening Activities – Sara Dent

New Farm Business Planning – DeLisa Lewis (10:30-12:00)

Want to start a farm but bewildered by what to do next? Already farming and wondering what tools are out there to help you make better financial decisions and grow a more profitable farming business? This interactive workshop will offer an overview of farming business tools and an open forum for discovering your ideal production, marketing, and record-keeping systems.

DL and Tamworth piglet_GFF 052015 (1)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.

Applying Keyline Design Principles to Slow, Sink, Spread & Store Water – Tayler Krawczyk, Hatchet & Seed (10:30-12:00)

This workshop will provide an overview to the concept of keyline design – a farm layout pattern that works with natural contours to maximize the effectiveness of both rainwater and irrigation. We will explore both large and small-scale applications of keyline design. We will also look at ‘keyline cultivation’, a form of subsoiling to de-compact restrictive rooting layers and improve water management. Keyline design is most compatible with broad acre tree-crop and/or grass farming, but concepts can be applied to small market gardens too. The more sloped the farm, the more effective a keyline layout can be.

taylerkrawczykTayler Krawczyk is the project lead for Hatchet & Seed, an edible landscaping & resilient farm development business based in North Saanich, BC. He completed a degree in International Development Studies and spent 5 years in the forestry and silviculture industry. He is currently leading a 3 year ‘keyline water management’ project that is monitoring the effects of ‘keyline subsoil plowing’ and ‘keyline agro-forestry layout’ as a means of restoring compacted pasture and managing on-farm water. He and his partner Solara grow & propagate hundreds of edible, medicinal & useful plants at their homestead and also run an urban edible landscaping business.

Tools in the Round – Farmer Show & Tell! (1:30-3:00)

Bring your favourite farm tools and get in on some Farmer Show & Tell! From seeders to greens harvesters, electric fencing systems to egg-washers – let’s get together and share our successes and failures with farm equipment. Bonus points for people who bring tools they’ve made! If your favourite tool is too big to tote around, bring some photos to share on a thumb drive or email them to

This informal session will give participants a chance to share their favourite farm tools. We’ll spend some time compiling info and writing it up to share during the Open Space session!

Farm Sales and Technology – Kelsey Brick, Sole Food Farms (1:30-3:00)

Track your sales like a pro! Learn about how Sole Food Farms keeps track of sales at Farmers Market, CSA, and Restaurants. Watch a live demo of how to create an online restaurant order form using Google Forms. This workshop will be highly interactive! Learn, discuss and ask questions about the benefits and challenges in bringing technology into the realm of farm sales.

KelseyBrick1Kelsey Brick is the Distribution Coordinator for Sole Food Farms in Vancouver BC. She has spent the past two seasons developing sales and processing systems including online options for restaurant orders and debit-style CSA management. She brings 10 years experience working in the hospitality industry to this role giving her an inside understanding of how to work with chefs.

Indigenous Food & Land Systems Workshops (1:30-3:00)

Harvesting Wild Foods Throughout the Year – Mary Dawn Vickers Jr.

Mary Dawn Vickers Jr. will talk about how her family is sharing & marketing traditional foods from her home community, the Heiltsuk First Nation (Bella Bella, BC) on southern Vancouver Island. Mary will bring samples of some traditional foods and talk about the work she and her family are doing to protect and preserve the lands & resources that nourish their community.
About Mary Dawn Vickers Jr.-Heiltsuk names, Tzebasa, and Wakis: I am from the XaisXais/Kokyet tribes of Heiltsuk First Nation, of Bella Bella, B.C.First and foremost I am a mom of three. My background is in archaeology. I come from a very large fishing family and community. My family and I have been sharing and marketing our traditional foods for 20 years here in Victoria. We are also very active in protecting and preserving the lands and resources within our traditional territories. Also with our foods, we harvest and share the traditional knowledge of our medicines. I also enjoy sharing the History and story telling of the Heiltsuk.

Wild Plants Around Us – Traditional Foods & Medicines – J.B. Williams

In this rich, abundant bioregion, there are many plants we pass by everyday, but do we know their value? J.B. will talk about a variety of local plants, discuss their cultural uses and help to paint a picture of the WSÁNEĆ foodshed.

J.B. Williams is a member of the Tsawout First Nation (near Brentwood Bay) with a passion for sharing knowledge and history of indigenous plants. 

Planning for land – a land access workshop for beginning farmers  – Keeley Nixon, Linking Land And Farmers (1:30-3:00)

Thinking about farming or planning a farm of your own? In all the hard work that lies ahead planning for land is a crucial step. In this interactive workshop you will learn how to start mapping your farm dream! Join us for a dynamic discussion about different land access arrangements, find out what resources exist, share your hopes, hurdles and leap into action.  Leave with insight and action steps for your own situation and inspiration for what lies ahead.

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 10.37.13 AMKeeley 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, coordinator of Linking Land And Farmers (LLAF) and board member for a variety of agricultural nonprofits. She brings her experience with numerous non-profits, passion for cooking, good design, community engagement and general joie de vivre to all that she does.

Open Space Discussion – March 2 at 3:00PM

Join the whole group for a panel discussion on marketing, collaboration & business success! After the panel, wander around a smorgasbord of discussions and table topics to listen & chat more about your favourite subjects of the day. If you missed a workshop, this will be your chance to sit with a presenter or panelist you want to hear more from. It’s also an opportunity to start your own discussion table to learn and network with other farmers.

Wild Plant & Cultural Histories Walk – J.B. Williams (3:00-4:30)

Join J.B. for a walk at nearby Todd Inlet nature trail where he will share his knowledge of local plants, their uses & value and a variety of cultural histories of the area. This is a really special opportunity to learn from J.B. who has a wealth of cultural & botanical knowledge! Carpooling will be organized the morning of the event, if you are able to offer a ride, please sign up at the registration desk on March 2!

Collective Marketing Mini Session – Arzeena Hamir (3:30-4:15 )

Learn about Merville Organics Growers’ Co-operative, a group of small scale farmers working together to market & distribute their veggies in the Comox Valley. Arzeena will share the successes, challenges and lessons learned from year one. She’ll cover the basics on forming a co-operative, and share details on a week in the life of Merville Organics during the growing season including harvest tracking, CSA, farmers’ market & restaurant sales. (Just in case you’re wondering: yes, Merville Organics is totally inspired by Saanich Organics!)

413626_465255720151880_1113656623_oArzeena Hamir is a founding member of Merville Organics Growers’ Co-operative in the Comox Valley and a farmer of organic vegetables and blueberries in North Courtenay at Amara Farm.

Arzeena has committed a large portion of her life to increasing access to local food and sharing her passion for agriculture. She’s worked abroad in many regions promoting natural & organic farming methods. She also worked for several years as the staff agrologist for West Coast Seeds and then created her own seed company, Terra Viva Organics. Arzeena was also the co-ordinator for the Richmond Food Security Society and worked on the board for the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project, the Richmond Schoolyard Society and the BC Food Systems Network. In conjunctions with Kwantlen University, she helped launch the Richmond Farm School. Arzeena is a collaboration pro – learn from a skilled community builder about how you can work together for success!

Tour the Level Ground Trading Facility! – Stacey Toews (5:15 – after the Mixer )

Ever wondered how to run a fair trade company? Stacey Toews is offering a unique opportunity to check out the Level Ground facility, just a short drive away from the Saanich Fairgrounds! Join Stacey right after the Mixer to learn about how Level Ground gathers, adds value and distributes fair trade agricultural products from around the world.


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Thanks to Our Awesome Food Sponsors!