Organic Food
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Workshops and Presentations

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Value Chain Roundtable
Gunta Vitins, Industry Co-Chair of the national Organic Value Chain Roundtable
The COABC is bringing key members from BC's diverse, vibrant organic sector to share information, as well as identify gaps, challenges, and opportunities for growth at the inaugural BC Organic Value Chain Roundtable (BCOVCRT) meeting. Industry stakeholders from across the value chain will be present - from producers and manufacturers to distributors, retailers, and service providers, as well as government officials and funders. The intent of this first meeting is to engage in open and constructive dialogue to create a shared understanding of the key market challenges and opportunities facing the sector, and work collaboratively on strategies for sustainable and profitable growth. The creation of a value chain roundtable has been identified as a medium to long-term priority in the COABC's strategic plans over the past 6 years. The COABC is pleased to finally bring this objective to fruition, and invites key stakeholders to participate in this groundbreaking meeting, which will be facilitated by Gunta Vitins, Industry Co-Chair of the national Organic Value Chain Roundtable. Registration is required.



Animal Welfare Challenges and Certification in Organic Farming (Dairy Production)
Joao Costa
This session will discuss the organic livestock production standards and provide an orientation for those considering improving their animal welfare standards and/or certification on an existing farm operation or for new applicants. This session will discuss broad animal welfare topics and definitions but ultimately will use the organic dairy production challenges and issues in animal welfare as reference. Specifically, in this session we will:
  1. Define and differentiate the organic and animal welfare certification standards,
  2. Discuss what is animal welfare assessment and how they work.
  3. Challenges and issues in animal welfare in organic dairy production, such as pasture access and management, dam-calf separation, calf raising systems, sickness and medication use
  4. Question and answers

Feed Panel Discussion
Steve Meggait (Fresh Valley Farms)
Paul Kelly (Kootenay Co-op)
Corey Brown (Blackbird Organics)
It's been said that a farm isn't a farm without animals. But what to do about the feed? No matter the type of animal you plan to raise, according to the standards you will need access to certified organic feed. Many will find that certified organic feed at the local farm store is cost prohibitive. So what are the other options? We will gather to hear about some of the successes and failures of our panel members’ past experiences. Growing various feeds, sprouting grain, the basics of milling and mixing feed, and transportation options are some of the topics we will touch on. We will also be sure to reserve time for attendees to ask questions and share their own successes. Join us to brainstorm our way to increasingly more sustainable and local sources of livestock feed.

Grazing is Greener
Andrea Lawseth - AEL Agroecological Consulting
Tristan Cavers - Golden Ears Farm
Darcy Goodrich
Come join us for a discussion about proper pasture management techniques. Tristan Cavers and Darcy Goodrich have great practical experience in rotational grazing from small scale (2 to 5 cows) to medium and large scale (200 to 400 cows) operations. They will provide some tangible examples and positive results from their own farms and will focus on the movement of livestock and fencing systems that have worked for them. Andrea Lawseth will discuss the benefits to the soil and soil ecosystem of rotational grazing and the effects that overgrazing has on the health of the land. This well-rounded panel has years of expertise to offer, so bring your questions and your own experiences. We'll do our best to help you navigate some of the challenges you may be having and are anxious to hear what has and has not worked for you. We'll have a short presentation from each panel member followed by a lengthy discussion period.

Health Benefits of Organic Beef
Dr. John Church (Thompson Rivers University; BC Regional Innovation Chair in Cattle Industry Sustainability)
Dr. Church plans to discuss his new and relevant research findings on the health benefits of organic beef. Recently, Dr. Church has determined that organic grass fed beef has greater proportions of desirable omega 3 fatty acids and an optimum omega 6/omega 3 ratio overall, which has been demonstrated previously by others. Dr. Church and his research team at Thompson Rivers University were very surprised; however, to discover the health benefits of organic grain finished beef in comparison to the conventional grain finished beef counterpart. Dr. Church's research has shown that organic grain finished beef and the production standards used to produce it is largely comparable to grass-fed in terms of total fat content as well as the proportions of desirable fatty acids. This modest grain finishing approach used by organic producers potentially presents a preferable compromise between pure grass-fed and grain-fed production systems, to retain a desirable fatty acid profile, while improving production efficiency within a Canadian context. Dr. Church will share his further insights into organic beef production for today's health conscious consumers which includes other nutritional benefits such as biohydrogenation intermediates, as well as further ancillary benefits such as improved beef sustainability and animal welfare.

Interpreting the Canadian Organic Standard
Anne Macey (Member, Canadian Organic Standard Technical Committee)
Is the Canadian Organic Standard as easy to understand as it should be? Do we all interpret the standard in the same way? What revisions are being proposed under the current review process? How will the changes impact your operation? This session will provide the opportunity to discuss the significant changes and clarifications being made to all sections of the standard with a particular focus on livestock during the second half of the session. Bring all your questions.

Slaughter Panel Discussion
Andrea Gunner - North Okanagan Poultry Processing
Anne Macey - Salt Spring Island Agricultural Alliance
Mike Noullet



Crowd Funding for the Organic Sector
Gunta Vitins - Resilient Solutions Consulting
Chantal Schauch - Junxion
Are you interested in learning more about crowdfunding - its potential to raise funds for the organic community and your projects, the nuts n' bolts of 'how', and essentials for success? Then this workshop is for you! You are guaranteed a dynamic informative session lead by sector experts: Chantal Shauch of Junxion Strategy - experienced crowdfunder and author of "Organic Sector Crowdfunding Report 2014" and its companion guide "Crowdfunding Essentials"; Gunta Vitins - Chair of the Organic Value Chain Roundtable, policy wonk and visionary who spearheaded the crowdfunding reports with funding from AAFC; and Anne Macey, President of the Salt Spring Island Agricultural Alliance, who will share info on their crowdfunding experience when raising funds for agricultural infrastructure on the island. Get the latest and greatest on the changing landscape of crowdfunding in this 90 minute session.

Cultivating an Employer Brand to Improve Hiring & Retention
Barbara Ashton - Ashton Associates
Your corporate brand is about communicating your message to attract customers, while your employer brand communicates to potential and existing employees. Authentic and consistent branding not only attracts right fit employees, it ensures you will retain and continue to recruit the best employees for your operation. When employers understand and clearly communicate their culture as an employer, they create a brand that attracts and retains the right employees and keeps them coming back. Using her expertise in social recruiting, Barbara will walk you through the essential steps for creating job postings and an online culture that authentically communicates and reinforces your employer brand.

Farm Story: Getting Along in the Potato Business
Doug Helmer
Anna Helmer
They'll tell the story of the farm, sharing what they know about building soil health, managing potato crops, equipment selection, marketing and getting along well with others. They have a pretty good idea of what works well for them and hope that you might hear about something that will work well in your system.

Using Co-operatives to Achieve Shared Business Objectives
Chris Bodnar - Close to Home Organics

Co-operatives are an important part of the agriculture sector around the world. From shared ownership of machinery and bulk purchasing of supplies to collective marketing and financial services through credit unions, most farmers are likely members of at least one co-op. Nonetheless, co-operatives are not commonly discussed in business schools or by financial planners. This presentation will explain the different types of co-operatives and provide examples of each within the agricultural sector as well as explaining the various resources available to start and grow co-operatives in British Columbia.

This presentation will be done in partnership with representatives from the BC Coop Association and Vancity.

What About Farmers Markets?
Andrew Arkestyn-Vogler - Crisp Organics
Paige Dampier - Close to Home Organics
Susan Davidson - Glorious Organics
Join Farmers' Market moguls Andrew Arkestyn-Vogler (Crisp Organics), Paige Dampier (Close to Home Organics) and Susan Davidson (Glorious Organics) for a panel discussion on why and how to consider this time honoured way of selling your produce. Andrew will cover ways to increase efficiencies along the chain from field to stall, Paige has hot tips and hand outs to help track your business transactions and bottom line analysis, and Susan will talk about defining success, setting goals, and team building skills. And we will leave plenty of time for questions and cross talk!



Diatomaceous Earth
Barry Baker
In this session Barry will discuss the myriad ways in which stakeholders (e.g., regulators, retail consumers, organic producers and big-box retailers) employ Diatomaceous Earth, the various regulations that govern its use, and how organic producers can employ it to improve outcomes.

How to Make a Living as an Organic Tree Fruit Producer
Linda Edwards - apples
Anita Fletcher - apples
James Calissi - cherries
Molly Thurston - peaches
Panel members will discuss their experiences growing tree fruit, with each person speaking specifically about pests, challenges and successes pertinent to their crop.

Integrated Seed Saving Practices for Farm Business
Mel Sylvestre - UBC Farm
Seed crops can be a strong component of a farm business. The benefits of seed saving range from creating a new revenue stream during the low-income winter season to enhancing the biodiversity of farmlands. Integrating seed saving into the practices of a farm requires thoughtful planning and skills. Learning to value the right seed crops for your farm and processing seed crops while maintaining seed quality are two important aspects of the knowledge required in order to become a successful seed grower. This presentation aims to give an overview of the various benefits and challenges of seed saving, as well as the different steps of integrating seed crops into a farm business.

Open Consultation Time
Rochelle Eisen (Resilient Solutions Consulting)
Susan Smith (Industry Specialist, Field Vegetables and Organics, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture)
Do you have an organic extension question or operational conundrum that needs a solution? Is it related to production, processing, certification, livestock, horticulture? Anything within the organic realm? Join Rochelle and Susan for Open Consultation, and bring your questions and conundrums. Please submit questions in advance to conference(a)

Pest Management in Tree Fruit and Garlic
Tamara Richardson - Cornucopia Crop Consulting
This session will cover pest management research and monitoring projects from 2010 through 2014 in tree fruit and in garlic. Topics covered will include spotted wing drosophila management, strategies to manage rosy apple aphid and the surprising results of pest surveillance in garlic fields. While the majority of the work to be discussed has taken place in the Similkameen Valley, much is applicable to other regions in BC. My hope is that following the presentation we can have a question and answer session on the applicability of this research to individual farms and a discussion on other pests that are of concern to farmers so that we can potentially identify new research questions and priorities for organic growers in BC.

Progress on Organic Methods for Wireworm Control
Todd Kabaluk - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The international research community is slowly catching on to the potential of biological methods for wireworm control and as a result, there has been more rapid progress toward management solutions. Similarly, an increase in the knowledge of wireworm biology is providing insight into new possibilities for their management. A review of existing methods for wireworm control and the status of research and development will be reviewed.



Connecting to Community through Farm to School
Vanessa Perrodou - Provincial Manager, Farm to School BC
Farm to School programs bring healthy, local food into schools and provide students with hands-on learning opportunities that foster food literacy, all while strengthening the local food system and enhancing school and community connectedness. Like strawberry plants in summer, Farm to School keeps growing runners! In the past 10 years more than 90 programs have sprouted in BC, bringing healthy, local and sustainable foods into our schools. Farm to School empowers students and school communities to make informed food choices while contributing to vibrant, regional food systems that support the health of people, place and planet. This presentation will provide an overview of Farm to School including the many models that have been operating across the province. Farmers who attend this presentation will walk away with new ideas, tools and resources to engage in BC's Farm to School movement and connect with local schools in their area.

Land Linking Workshop
Sara Dent - Young Agrarians
Richard Enns - Compass Law Group
Land owners and land seekers, join us for a workshop facilitated by Sara Dent, Young Agrarians Coordinator. We'll network, talk about available resources, and discuss future considerations for how to get new entrants onto land from an agricultural succession perspective. Participants will walk away with tools and contacts.

Restoration Agriculture: Permaculture Potential and Challenges in Temperate Climates
Susan Cousineau
Do you currently farm and are looking for ways to create a more diversified income? Have you seen or heard about permaculture, but been unconvinced of it being scalable to more than a few acres or a hobby farm; or without massive capital inputs? Susan will begin with a brief discussion of what permaculture is (and isn't), addressing current and perceived challenges in scaling up from herb spirals, mandala gardens and sheet mulching, to farms and long-term sustainable (or regenerative) agriculture. She will offer some of possibilities for local farmers, using real-life case studies in temperate regions from Wisconsin and Vermont to northern British Columbia and Sweden.

The Environmental Farm Plan
Don Hladych
Erika Davidson
Pete Spencer
ARDCorp will be presenting on the Environmental Farm Plan through the case study exploration of a farm that is an implemented program participant. This presentation will feature special guest, Don Hladych, of Vale Farms in Lumby, BC.

Weaving an Indigenous Narrative Into the Movement Towards a More Sustainable Land and Food System
Sonny McHalsie (Oral Historian/Cultural Advisor, Stó:lõ Research & Resource Management Centre)
Dawn Morrison (Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty & Kwantlen Polytechnic University)

Following an official welcoming to Sto;lo territory from Stó:lõ Elder Eddie Gardner, Sonny McHalsie will provide an overview of the colonial history of Indigenous food system in Stó:lõ territory – offering historical points of reference from the most sustainable adaptation strategies of human existence in Stó:lõ territory.

Dawn Morrison will discuss truth and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the context of the land and food system, and will highlight key points of entry into a journey of understanding more deeply how the bio-cultural heritage is being expressed within the cultural interface where Indigenous hunting, fishing and gathering meets sustainable agriculture in either complementary or contentious ways.

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