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Managing Soil to Maximize Agroecosystem - Friday Workshop
Presenter:
Sean Smukler, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems at University of British Columbia

THIS FRIDAY AFTERNOON WORKSHOP IS SOLD OUT

This year's workshop will satisfy people's craving for more detailed information about soil biology. Join Sean Smukler, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems at University of British Columbia for his workshop, Managing Soil to Maximize Agroecosystem Resiliency.

In this half-day workshop, participants will learn how to manage soil to improve the resiliency of the agroecosystem through a series of presentations and interactive group work. In the first session of the workshop, participants will be given an overview of soil food web interactions and outcomes. The role of soil organisms from micro to macro fauna will be discussed in the context of resiliency. Participants will gain an understanding of who the organism are, what do they do, and how they interact. Basic physical characteristics of soil and its importance to biota will be presented using examples from the latest scientific research. In the second session, participants will be given an overview of the challenges and options for managing soil in an organic farming system. Participants will learn about the challenges of optimizing nutrient availability to ensure nitrogen and phosphorus are utilized by the crop and not lost to the environment. The role of soil organic matter and strategies to build it will be discussed. Participants will learn about some of the tools and methodologies that are available for planning and assessing soil management. Finally, participants will work in teams to address a variety of soil management challenges. Participants will be divided into small groups and given a unique soil management problem and work together to develop a detailed solution. This will be a hands-on exercise enabling participants to learn from each other and implement the information and tools presented in the previous sessions. Teams will present their problems and solutions for discussion. Participants will walk away from this workshop with a thorough understanding of the belowground ecosystem and some practical tools for managing it.


Keynote Speaker
Presenter:
Vandana Shiva
We're thrilled to have Dr. Vandana Shiva, internationally recognized advocate for organics and non-GMO seed sovereignty, as our Keynote Speaker: Saturday at 8:30 AM. She will be speaking about the resilience of agroecosystems through organic growing and processing, how this leads to improved adaptability to shifts related to climate change like increased temperatures and water shortages, as well as how the future of organics will be sustained through the younger farmers who are taking on this philosophy of living and working.

Agriculture and Climate Change Adaptation: Programs, Projects and Progress in B.C.
Presenter:
Emily MacNair
A high level summary of the collaborative planning and projects of the BC Agriculture & Food Climate Action Initiative (CAI) will be provided. In partnership with agricultural organizations and local governments, to date CAI has assisted with the development of five regional plans for agricultural adaptation; including strategies and actions to address climate change impacts. Numerous projects to strengthen knowledge and/or provide resources and tools for agricultural adaptation are underway. An update will be provided on the key priorities identified in the Okanagan plan (under development this winter). Information about farm-level pilot and demonstration projects that may be of particular interest to organic growers will also be provided.

BC Seeds Roundtable
Participants:
Vandana Shiva
Arzeena Hamir
BC Eco Seed Coop
Moderator:
Heather Pritchard

FarmFolk CityFolk's seed security program-"BCSeeds"- has been working for over a decade to support BC seed growers to increase the quality, quantity and diversity of locally grown seed. For the past three years, with USC funding, they have been coordinating the BC Region of a national seed program for USC Canada, funded by the Weston Foundation. Heather Pritchard and Chris Thoreau work together, with over 30 seed growers, community seed activists, organizations and universities to grow, research and promote locally grown and adapted seed. The roundtable brings together seed growers and researchers, seed collectives and libraries, and the recently incorporated BC Eco Seed Coop to tell their stories and share their experience. Join Dr. Vandana Shiva to share her knowledge of Seed Sovereignty and her Global perspective and share with her what seed growers are doing in BC.

The Victoria Seed Library was launched in February 2014 as a partnership between the Greater Victoria Public Library and LifeCycles Project Society. Since then, we've distributed thousands of locally grown seed to our 400 Members, hosted dozens of seed saving workshops, and even grown across to the mainland to launch a seed library with Surrey Public Library! We're enthusiastic about increasing community seed literacy and growing skills, and creating celebration around seed sharing. We strive to support the work of the local seed growing community as much as possible through inviting local seed producers to facilitate workshops, sourcing seed exclusively from local small scale seed companies, and spreading the story of how critically import regionally adapted seed is. Check out our work to connect seed sharing initiatives across BC at: www.borrowsaveshare.com, as well as the Victoria Seed Library FB page: www.facebook.com/victoriaseedlibrary.


Basic Seed Growing for Profit, Biodiversity and Freedom
Presenter:
Jon Alcock
Growing vegetables from 'seed to seed' will help us discover the intrinsic value of the dignity of this full circle, improve biodiversity and include us in this ancient tradition. Vegetable seed production will add to the bottom line of any organic farm and help stem the tide of diminishing varieties. We can develop our own locally adapted varieties and those more adapted to low input organic regimes. Join Jon Alcock for basic principles and practices of growing, selecting, harvesting, cleaning, and storing vegetable seed.

Becoming an Egg Producer
Presenter:
Katie Lowe, BC Egg
Every year, the BC Egg Marketing Board receives many inquiries on how to become an egg producer in BC. Throughout this presentation, I will walk you through the different methods to enter the industry, as well as a brief overview of our on farm programs.

Changes to the Canadian Organic Standards: An Essential Update (Crop Production, Speciality Crops, Livestock & Apiculture)
Presenters:
Anne Macey
Rochelle Eisen
The revised and updated Canadian Organic Standard was published in November 2015 and all operations will need to be in compliance with the new version by November 2016. These sessions, developed by Canadian Organic Growers, will highlight the significant changes in each section of the standard and the permitted substances lists. Recommended for operators whose products are currently certified, the sessions will assume a basic understanding of the old standard. Independent organic inspectors and personnel of certification bodies who require a knowledge of the Canadian Standard to carry out their work will also find the sessions useful. There will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion.

Changes to the Canadian Organic Standards: An Essential Update (Preparation - Processing)
Presenters:
Anne Macey
Rochelle Eisen
The revised and updated Canadian Organic Standard was published in November 2015 and all operations will need to be in compliance with the new version by November 2016. These sessions, developed by Canadian Organic Growers, will highlight the significant changes in each section of the standard and the permitted substances lists. Recommended for operators whose products are currently certified, the sessions will assume a basic understanding of the old standard. Independent organic inspectors and personnel of certification bodies who require a knowledge of the Canadian Standard to carry out their work will also find the sessions useful. There will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion.

Excitement, Experience, Expert: Pathways to Advanced Seed Saving
Presenter:
Jen Cody
Jen Cody will use her experience growing carrots for seed to illustrate advanced seed saving techniques. Carrots provide an excellent example of an advanced crop to seed save because carrots are biennial and cross with the common roadside plant, Queen Annes Lace. As such seed savers need to know principals and techniques of root storage, selection, isolation, minimum populations for healthy long term genetics, and an understanding of pollinators and how to maintain adequate pollination population in isolation enclosures. They have it all!

FCC: Connecting Young Farmers to Opportunity
Presenter:
Chantal Keely
FCC is committed to Canada's young farmers. Each year it loans an average $2.4 billion to this growing segment of the agriculture industry. FCC has products designed specifically to help young farmers grow and strengthen their operations. It also offers custom knowledge that supports young farmers not only as producers, but as business owners who are redefining the face of Canadian agriculture. In this session, you'll learn more about what FCC has to offer you.

Farmscale Water Management
Presenter:
Gordon Hiebert, Permaculture Designer and Educator

When you envision a farm, do you think of lush fields, plump crops and moist soils? This is made possible by water, but water can also be destructive. When water is passive it is productive, when it is active it can be erosive and damaging. The question is, how can we find a balance to ensure water is used as effectively as possible on our farms?

This session will discuss how to turn water woes in to water wins while stimulating crop production and ecological diversity on your farm. The focus will be on how to hold water in the landscape and turn water problems into solutions.


Keeping Honeybee Colonies Healthy with Organic Acids
Presenters:
Doug Gordon
James Macdonald
Max Macdonald
A high level summary of the collaborative planning and projects of the BC Agriculture & Food Climate Action Initiative (CAI) will be provided. In partnership with agricultural organizations and local governments, to date CAI has assisted with the development of five regional plans for agricultural adaptation; including strategies and actions to address climate change impacts. Numerous projects to strengthen knowledge and/or provide resources and tools for agricultural adaptation are underway. An update will be provided on the key priorities identified in the Okanagan plan (under development this winter). Information about farm-level pilot and demonstration projects that may be of particular interest to organic growers will also be provided.

Navigating Farm-Scale Slaughter: Class D & E Slaughter Licences
Presenter:
Tristan Banwell, Spray Creek Ranch
Learn the ins and outs of BC's on-farm slaughter options from a farmer who received a Class D slaughter licence in 2015. Tristan will discuss the types of licences available, outline the application & inspection processes, and share his experiences with developing and operating a farm-scale abattoir. Bring your questions, and expect a call to action in support of expanding the availability and feasibility of on-farm slaughter throughout our province.

New Times, New Tools: Cultivating Climate Resilience on Your Farm
Presenter:
Laura Lengnick
As we enter the 21st century, farm and food businesses face novel challenges created by climate change. Weaving practical lessons from the field with the latest climate science and resilience thinking, author, educator, scientist and farmer, Laura Lengnick, draws on the adaptation stories of 25 award-winning sustainable farmers from across North America to teach about successful farming strategies for managing the increased weather variability and extremes associated with our changing climate. Learn how to assess your climate risk and use ecosystem-based adaptive management tools to cultivate climate resilience on your farm.

Organic Policy Update
Presenter:
Susan Smith, BC Ministry of Agriculture
In June 2015, the Premier renewed the Minister of Agriculture's mandate to "...Work with the provincial organic farming sector to create a "Certified BC Organic" brand to market our locally produced organic foods...". After consultation, the Ministry has decided to change the provincial regulations to require all food and beverage products marketed as 'organic' in B.C. to be certified under either a provincial or national certification program. This requirement brings certainty to B.C. consumers and an increased presence of the Certified BC Organic brand in the BC marketplace. Clear communication of regulatory change such as this is key to a smooth, stable transition to mandatory regulation. The purpose of the discussion is to provide a background on the decision to make a regulatory change; review the current activities including a summary of a recent organic sector consultation; report on working group activities in the areas of branding and policy; and outline next steps to October 2018.

Organics 101 / Certification Made Easy
Presenter:
Rochelle Eisen
This session will be an organic certification boot camp / marathon for the uninitiated. Rochelle will outline the certification process, give an orientation to the do's and don'ts of organic standards, cover organic labeling claims and explain who's who in the organic certification world in BC, Canada and beyond. She will try to answer all questions, or at least advise where to go to get an answer. Rochelle will also give guidance on taking the next steps. Bring your pens, paper, and your questions. The session is geared to crop and livestock production, not processing.

Re-Evaluating a Much Maligned Insect: Investigating the role of Earwigs as a Biological Control in Apple Orchards
Presenter:
Tamara Richardson
This talk will also address the impacts of a changing climate on pests and pathogens in apple orchards.

Resilience is Fertile - Managing Your Soil to Increase Farm Ecological Functioning
Presenter:
Sean Smukler, Assistant Professor in Applied Biology & Soil Science, UBC
Increasing climate volatility is resulting in greater environmental stress for our production crops. The resiliency of farm production to these environmental stressors can, however, be enhanced in a number of ways including improved soil management. If managed well, practices such as cover cropping and soil amendment additions can build a healthy soil and facilitate more efficient water and nutrient dynamics. In this session, Sean will explain how soil management practices impact the ecological processes that lead to greater resiliency. He will discuss the role of the diversity and abundance of soil organisms in mediating important ecological functions and share some practical ways to assess and improve soil health.

Setting SMART Goals for Your Business Plan
Presenter:
Chris Bodnar
Setting goals is an important activity to take on annually for any business. These goals should inform your business plan and the resulting production and marketing plans that act as your daily roadmap through the season. But many people have trouble differentiating goals from a "to-do list" of daily activities. This workshop will help participants understand the role of goal-setting in developing their business plan, as well as how to use the SMART principles to evaluate their goals

Stories from the Vanguard of Organics
Presenters: tba
Join us for conversations on the history and future of organics in BC with the leaders of BC's organic movement. Participants from the vanguard of organics will gather to share defining moments from their careers and the history of the organic sector. With many of our founders and forerunners nearing retirement, this session will be an excellent opportunity to knowledge share and celebrate the many things the organic sector has achieved. Discussion encouraged and audience questions welcome. Come and see how the formative stories and experiences of BC's original organic farmers can help shape the next future of agriculture and guide a new generation of growers. Following the roundtable, share your organic voice on camera at the COABC video booth!



Read BCOG Fall 2017