Organic Food
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Conference 2017

Friday February 24 to Sunday February 26, 2017
Coast Bastion, Nanaimo, BC
Snuneymuxw Territory

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Workshops


Organic Certification 101 - Friday Workshop
Presenters: Rochelle Eisen, Resilient Solutions Consulting
Anne Macey

Registration for the Friday workshop is required on the Everbrite page as a separate ticket due to limited space.

This session will be an organic certification introduction 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 and will give guidance on taking the next steps. Bring your pens, paperwork, and your questions. Regional Certifying Body administrators will join for the last hour to help complete paperwork.


Animal Health & Welfare on Organic Farms
Presenter:
Dr. Steph Rhebergen

Dr. Steph Rhebergen, a veterinarian from the Abbotsford Veterinary Clinic will share her experience with alternative health care practices and treatment protocols on organic dairy farms. She is a certified acupuncturist who uses conventional medicine along with acupuncture, laser and herbs to successfully treat dairy cattle with a variety of conditions. There will be a few case examples followed by a Q&A period


BC Seed Trials Update: What We Learned in Year One of Participatory Variety Trials to Support Organic Seed Production in BC
Presenters:
Alexandra Lyon
Mel Sylvestre

The BC Seed Trials began in 2016 with the goal of contributing to resilient agri-food systems in British Columbia by engaging farmers in research that supports scaling up regional seed production. Variety trials in selected crops at the UBC Farm and on organic farms in the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island are helping farmers identify promising varieties for seed production by evaluating market characteristics, agronomic performance, seed yield potential, and adaptation to organic production in BC. In this presentation, research partners will discuss insights from Year One, including:

  • Overview and objectives of the BC Seed Trials Project, including new crops for 2017
  • Results from 1 year of on-farm variety trials of specialty beets, spinach, and kale
  • Performance of BC-grown seed crops, farmer-bred varieties, and commercial standards
  • Simple on-farm methods for evaluating the quality of the seeds you grow
  • How the BC Eco-Seed Co-op is collaborating with the BC Seed Trials to develop better methods for quality assurance


Build a More Profitable Food Business Through Traceability? Yes, there is a Santa Claus, Virginia!
Presenter:
Margaret Daskis

Most often food businesses think of tracking and traceability as time consuming, expensive necessities. Either a regulatory agency or a customer requests a tracking system to be in place for food safety or inventory control. Well, I am here to show you how you can run a better business, save real money, and increase credibility as a business person and your food business.

In the ORGANIC food world, as we go through our annual audits, tracking and traceability is viewed as a source of proof of organic integrity. We are used to it and embrace it as it sets us above the conventional guys, or at least it did. My original background is from conventional food processing industry way back in the day, when tracking and traceability meant accountability.

A HISTORY lesson or a NEW WAY thinking, come and find out for yourself!


Cooperative Business Structure
Presenter:
Heather Pritchard

Heather will present a range of cooperative possibilities. From owning and managing land collectively, to farming together as a worker coop, marketing as a producer coop and purchasing from a consumer coop, the coop model meets community and member needs. The formation of coops in BC is on an upswing and the presentation will examine the creative ways people are addressing the challenge of owning and farming land together. The workshop is interactive and will be customized to the people who attend so bring your questions and ideas for feedback.


Developing Cost Effective Strategies for Feeding Small Flock Layers
Presenter:
Rod Reid

Rod will be covering topics much needed by Island farmers who have been struggling with the cost of feed. This session will explain how to use what’s available to feed small flock laying hens. By working with key numbers, typical input values, cafeteria style design, and of course the things to avoid, Rod can help fine tune your operation to increase your profits.


Farm Succession Planning & Tax tips
Presenter:
Karen Fenske

10 Steps to Pass the Reigns - start now!

This seminar will provide insight into the 10 steps you can take to "pass the reigns" of your farm or operation. You will walk away with issues to think about, solutions to consider, tax tips to avoid making the government a beneficiary of your estate and words to start the conversations. A 10 Step Guide will be provided free of charge.

This session is for you if you think about ... when do I plan to pass on ownership and to whom? What assets do I want control over? How much income will I, or my children, or key people need from the farm? >Will I make it fair or equal? What do I include in my Will? Where will everyone live and will they get along? What are my retirement expectations? How much tax will I pay? It can take years to “pass the reigns” of your farm and operation so start now - don't wait until a crisis.

On a personal note, after working with COABC, B.C. 4-H, and so many other BC agriculture organizations, I have transitioned to financial consulting specifically to help producers and owners’ work through this stage. The goals of sustaining BC agriculture and keeping families together, working toward the good life, are at the heart of this session.


Getting started with Wholesale - Trials and Tribulations
Presenter:
Julia Grace

Starting to sell wholesale is a big step. It can provide stability of cash flow, more income and more stability for your operation. On the flip side, it will transform your farm and you as a farmer so it’s a good idea to think through the consequences.

Costs of wholesaling include packaging, labeling, marketing, food safety requirements and increased labour and infrastructure costs. The degree of food inspection will increase. Your price point for wholesale is less than your farmgate sale and if you go to a distributor, less again. It's important to consider whether you will make more money or just turn more product into cash.

It takes a different skill set and suits a certain kind of personality. For some, it's a big step into the future creating a stable farm business, but it doesn't suit everyone.

Julia will provide some examples from her own experience and will lead a round table discussion.


ISO CB Session

The AB will host a round table for ISO CB staff and Administrators to discuss COR Accreditation-related business including changes to CFIA structure and updates on documentation requirements for the 2017 accreditation program.


Keyline Water Management: Slow, Sink, Spread, Store & Plan for Overflow
Presenter:
Tayler Krawczyk - Hatchet & Seed

This session will explore the application of an Australian-innovated strategy for whole farm water planning that harmonizes farm activities to natural contours to achieve water management goals. The session will be particularly relevant to farms with slope, although some flat-land techniques will be mentioned.
Topics:

  • About the "Keyline Water Management Project"
  • Introduction to 'Keyline Geometry'
  • Using contour maps for farm water planning
  • Keyline plowing to reduce compaction & manage water
  • Monitoring results to date
  • Alternative drainage techniques for bottom-lands
  • Q & A


Moving to a Digital Record Keeping System
Presenter:
Chris Bodnar

Keeping your farming records in an online system offers a number of advantages. This workshop will review the benefits of using crop record software, provide a demonstration of three current software options and provide participants with a plan for choosing a software product and moving record-keeping practices into a new system.


Moving Sustainable Food Systems Forward in BC
Presenter:
The Real Estate Foundation & The Sustainable Food Systems Working Group

Sustain BC is a new provincial initiative enabling the many actors involved in BC food systems to align their work and coordinate action towards our ambitious goal, healthy, local food sustains all in BC by 2030. This workshop will build upon the momentum of the Finding Common Ground Summit that took place in 2016 to advance action planning in the following priority areas:

  • Farmland protection, access and stewardship
  • Training and support for new entrants

Sustain BC is guided by a collective impact approach to strategic coordination founded on the recognition that no one organization or entity, however well managed or funded, can single-handedly solve complex social and environmental issues. Instead, Sustain BC will bring together many actors within BC's food systems. To help ensure the success of the Sustain BC initiative, dedicated support is provided by the BC Food Systems Network (BCFSN) to facilitate the connection and alignment of everyone involved, enabling these organizations to either self-organize or, formally under Sustain BC, come together into partnerships to achieve common ends.

This afternoon event will be open to all full conference registrants and the doors are open for you to come and go between 1pm-4pm in the Dunsmuir/Malahat Room on the second floor of the Coast Bastion Hotel.


OMRI Input Review

This session is open to CB staff, Administrators, Operators and VOs and will also include a presentation on the OMRI Input review system by Kelsey McKee, OMRI Review Program and Quality Director.


Regional CB OOS Seminar

Administrators and Staff are invited to get hands-on with the Organic Online System.


Outdoor Access and Range Management - Challenges & Solutions for Organic Poultry Production
Presenters:
Anne Macey - Moderator
Jeff Spitters
Corey Brown - Blackbirds Organics, Cawston
Thomas Cherian - Director of Technical Services, Rossdown
Robin Tunnicliffe

The 2015 version of the Canadian Organic Standard placed increased emphasis on outdoor access for organic poultry production. This session will explore the topic with presentations from four BC organic producers of different scales and types (pasture raised or barn raised). The panel members will describe their different operations and how they meet the intent of the standards. They will discuss the challenges and how they can be overcome, how to design and manage range to make it more attractive and safe for the birds, and how to prevent disease build up, as well as future directions and opportunities for the sector. Panel members include Corey Brown of Blackbird Organics in Cawston, Thomas Cherian from Rossdown Farms, and TBA; Moderator Anne Macey.


Round table Meeting open to Regional and COR Program CB/CC/VO Personnel

Accreditation Board members will lead Certification Body Administrators, Staff, Certification Committee members and Verification Officers through a series of general Standards Updates, and address certification and accreditation questions relevant to both the BCCOP and COR programs.


Scaling Sustainable Local Food Systems Up and Out: The Potential of University Procurement
Presenter:
Celia White

Meal Exchange (Real Food Challenge Coordinator) Celia will speak to the process of the program and how Meal Exchange has adapted this U.S. based program to the B.C. and Canadian context. She will discuss the process, progress and challenges as well as our hopes for leveraging campus long-term support for just and sustainable food systems through the Real Food Challenge. This presentation will focus on post-secondary campuses, but will discuss challenges and opportunities applicable to a variety of institutions. Collectively, colleges and universities across North America spend over $5 billion per year to feed their students. By working together to shift 20% of purchasing to Real Food, we will be funnelling $1 billion into the agriculture and supply chains we need for our future.


Sharing Perspectives Across Cultures on Indigenous Food
Presenters:
Jen Cody - Moderator
Heather Pritchard - Moderator
Nicholas Peterson
Lorna Shuter
Judith Arney
Ashlee Cooper

This roundtable discussion will build on the keynote address and continue to explore our relationship to the land and food. Our focus is to share a First Nations experience of food, including foraging, harvesting, hunting, fishing and agricultural food production.

We have relationship to the land the food we harvest and grow.

Are there experiences and relationships, values that First Nations and settlers share in common?

Where are there differences? Are there places of tension?

Where are the opportunities to learn from each other, build relationship and community.


Soil Research and Best Practices Round-up
Presenter:
DeLisa Lewis PhD

Sustaining soil health is one of the first principles of organic production, and—have we learned anything new about how to make that happen? This interactive session will provide a review of recent soil management research and explore participants’ interests and priorities with soil management issues on their own farms. Soil management practices at the heart of organic farming from cover cropping and crop rotations to composting and manure applications will be the focal points of the research review. Best practices on regional farms as well as tried and true timing and implementation will be highlighted in the interactive discussion.


Stories from the Vanguard of Organics
Presenter:
Carmen Wakeling - Host
Deb Foote
Barbara Odegard
Glenn Wakeling
Robin Tunnicliffe

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.


Traditional food systems: Language, Land and Restoration in W̱SÁNEĆ Territory
Presenter:
Judith Arney
Ashlee Cooper

Join Ashlee Cooper and Judith Lyn Arney in a discussion about the vital connection between indigenous language and land, as well as the practice of doing ethnoecological restoration and native plant propagation in W̱SÁNEĆ Territory. We will highlight our work in the PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ Native Plants & Garden Program at ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱̱ Tribal School as a part of the continuous and vibrant movement in the W̱SÁNEĆ community and territory to revitalize traditional food systems. Every food ecosystem dwells within a larger native ecosystem that has been stewarded for millennia by indigenous knowledge keepers; we invite you to honour and explore these relationships and teachings with us.




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