Friday February 23 to Sunday February 25, 2018
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In this presentation we will examine the predominant social, economic and environmental outcomes of and factors impinging on the near and longer term sustainability of agriculture and our food system. Specific challenges, developments, and opportunities will be identified and discussed. All to inform our vision of and direct our way toward a robust, sustainable agriculture and food system future.
Dawn Morrison will weave an Indigenous narrative into a decolonizing framework for sustainable food systems that will highlight Indigenous food sovereignty principles. Grounded in the original instructions encoded in the complex system of Indigenous biodiversity and cultural heritage, Dawn will share her critical analysis how farmers and sustainable food system advocates in settler communities can enter into a journey of more deep and meaningful truth and reconciliation with Indigenous land and food system that have been shaped and formed over multi-millennia.
BCAFM and KPU just completed a fabulous year long project to compile a guide of best practices for farmers selling at farmers' markets and other sales channels. We interviewed and documented best practices from 15 successful farmers from all regions across the province. This includes many amazing organic farmers/farms such as Mackin Creek Farm, Arzeena Hamir and others. We also created some practical marketing tools.
Ashley St Hilaire - Director of Programs and Government Relations
The demand for organic products is outpacing supply. We need more organic farmers in Canada, but we have a limited understanding of what it takes to transition to organic production. To address this gap, COG launched Canada’s first, comprehensive national study looking at the challenges of transitioning to organic production. Researchers completed on-farm interviews and focus groups with all types, and sizes of organic producers across the country. Ashley will present preliminary findings from this study, and discuss the relevance of these in forming policy, programs, strategies, and tools for transitioning farmers.
Louise Nelson, Department of Biology, UBCO
With climate change cherry production in the southern interior of British Columbia is expanding northward and to higher elevations than previously possible. Efficient use of limited water and maintenance of soil health while sustaining cherry quality and yield are important factors to consider in adaptation of cherry to these new sites. A greenhouse bioassay with soil from 18 new and established orchard sites in the Okanagan Valley was conducted to determine if native soil populations enhance or restrict cherry growth. It showed that new orchard soils were more 'biologically suitable' for planting sweet cherry, and management practices that had maintained soil organic carbon levels and high levels of microbial activity were positive predictors of plant growth. The effects of post-harvest deficit irrigation (PDI) (25% reduction in water supply after harvest) and compost and mulch amendments on soil health and cherry production were assessed over two years in two new and one established orchard. PDI generally had no negative effects on cherry water relations, fruit quality, yield or soil health after two years, but longer-term studies are needed to fully assess its effects. Compost amendment increased soil nutrients at all three sites and generally decreased the abundance of the root-lesion nematode, Pratylenchus penetrans, and the percent colonization of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in plant roots. Other influences on soil microbial communities are being explored via next generation sequencing. Organic amendments such as compost show potential to maintain soil health in newly planted orchards and to mitigate the biological effects of replant stress in established orchards.
The trust is a newly incorporated cooperative and taking the Ceres Circle Farm, a 36.8 acres sheep farm in Kelowna into trust. The farm has been donated by Sue Haley, who is retiring. The founding members of the Foodlands coop are: Vancity Community Foundation. FarmFolk CityFolk, Fraser Common Farm Coop and BC Association of Farmers Market. Members of the coop are organizations and Lohbrunner Community Farms Cooperative and Growing Opportunity Coop have applied and will be accepted as members at the first full board meeting. I am hoping, at COABC's Board meeting next week they will make a decision to join as well.
Migrant Workers' Dignity Association
What is the real story behind how fruit and vegetables get from the farm to our tables? How can we ensure that the people who grow these ingredients for us are treated fairly, with respect and with dignity? Join the Migrant Workers' Dignity Association (MWDA) to have fun, food, and learn with foreign farm workers, who grow our BC produce, in an interactive, theatrical cooking lesson and discussion.
Dr. Lauren Lyzenga
Are you an owner of a small herd of cattle, goats or sheep? This presentation will discuss how to keep small herds healthy by touching on topics such as nutrition, vaccinations and some herbals that can be used on the farm.
Management-intensive Grazing (MiG) is a flexible, goal-driven approach to pasture management and utilization whereby animal nutrient demand through the grazing season is balanced with forage supply, and available forage is allocated based on animal requirements. Sound a little complex? Join organic grass farmer Tristan Banwell as he explains the principles behind MiG, and shares the tools and techniques you need to implement this grazing system in your bioregion. Wherever you farm, you will see healthier animals, healthier pastures, more productivity, and lower costs when changing from a continuous grazing system.
Jen Gamble is the Executive Director of Operations for the Certified Organic Associations of BC (COABC), a non-profit organization that oversees organic certification in BC. COABC aims to lead, support and enhance the certified organic food system in BC. Over the past two years in her role with COABC, Jen has been working with the Ministry of Agriculture to help smooth the transition into the new provincial regulation that will ensure organic claims are verified by certification.
Jen has a long history of involvement in the food system, from farming to advocacy. As a farmer, she could see the disconnect between farmers, consumers and the food system which inspired her to became a deeply dedicated member of the organic food movement.
Ashley St Hilaire
Chris Bodnar - Moderator
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.
Are you growing seed or want to start but are not sure if a seed crop can give you a financial return? FarmFolk CityFolk, in collaboration with UBC Farm, has been developing enterprise budget spreadsheets for seed production in BC to help answer this question. This session will walk you through seed production budget templates that will help you better understand the economics of integrating seed production into your farm. Sample templates with real BC seed production data will be included so you can begin developing your own seed enterprise budget right away.
The second part of the session will explore options for growing seed under contract. How to get started, what to include in contracts and case studies of how contacts have worked for individual growers and cooperatives will be included.
New and emerging insect pests are always threatening crop production systems in British Columbia. Tracy will share an update on recent emerging pest threats in BC, biology, distribution, and potential crop impacts. Information will also be provided on signs and symptoms to watch out for, as well as prevention and management approaches to reduce the risks. Insect pests that have had the telephone ringing this year include Western Corn Rootworm, True Armyworm, Brown Marmorated Stinkbug and Japanese Beetle. Insect specimens and handouts will be available for viewing and becoming more familiar with some challenging pests.