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FALL 2016



HARVEST TIME! enjoying the fruits (and veggies) of nature’s (and your) labours

For the Love of

Garlic ‘tis the season Being

WellSmart understand your water source Small Pets options for kids that won't require a barn

SUPPORTING FAMILY-RUN LOCAL BUSINESS Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016





Welcome to the new "good old" Island Farm & Garden


by Eric Morten, Editor et’s get this out in the open–I’m not a farmer. In my defense, I’ve been culivating bumper crops of dandelion for years, have dug myself many holes and have received numerous invitations to start my own farm on the Internet. I politely declined them all.

Between jobs, I have done farm work, enjoyed the outdoor air, marvelled at the beauty and and the science involved and felt the sense of independence of helping nature make sustenance. But let’s get one thing straight. My short farm work experience make me paraphrase Tom Hanks’ character in the film classic, Forrest Gump, “Farmin’s hard!” That’s right, I’m no farmer. But I share an affinity with the women and men who grow locally– because, like everyone else, I like to eat. I also like to tell stories. That’s why I’m here. The agricultural community here on the Island is diverse: from market gardens to acreages, from backyard tomatoes to livestock. But it is a community–a community founded in tradition. There are a lot of ideas to share and stories to tell and from those stories come a way to live and a way to grow.

Profession al Trained & License d Technic ians

Growing takes time. I learned about Island Farm & Garden’s new publisher, Cowichan Green Community, as a volunteer many years ago. I remember my little kids running around one Saturday in a local park as neighbours got together with shovels and gumboots to establish a community garden. Years later, my daughter, who didn’t remember that rainy Saturday, spent last summer’s break from university tending that same garden while working for CGC. That’s tradition. Island Farm & Garden is a perfect fit. As a supporter of food security, local agricultural initiatives and community gardening, CGC has been a part of the tradition for years now, bringing neighbours together and sharing ideas and methods, new and traditional.




Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016

That’s what we hope this magazine is all about–community support, healthy lifestyles, sharing innovation and tradition. I hope we can deliver all that with some humour and entertainment in a good read, because farmwork shouldn’t always be hard. Happy growing!

ISLAND ARDEN ARM & G F Publisher: Judy Stafford, Cowichan Green Community 360 Duncan Street, Duncan, B.C. V9L 3W4 tel: 250.748.8506 fax: 250.597.1112 Editor: Eric Morten | Thanks to our "experts in the field" for sharing their wisdom


What's Good for the Goose.................................................................4 Understanding Groundwater & Being WellSmart in the RDN...........6 For the Love of Garlic...........................................................................8 No Fruit Left Behind...........................................................................10 The Do's and Dont's of Laminitis.......................................................12 Blue Hubbard Squash Soup...............................................................14 Down on the Farm.............................................................................15 Cowichan Green Community Notes..................................................18 Foraging a Gardener..........................................................................20 Small Livestock for Small People......................................................22 It's a Bloom Time...............................................................................24 Our Farm to Yours...............................................................................26 Equipment Safety..............................................................................28 Wasn't That a Party............................................................................30 4-H Farm Frolics.................................................................................31


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good for I the goose...

by Natasha Riebe t’s that time of year again when you may be noticing flocks of Canada geese heading south to fatten up and escape the harsh northern winters. While bird watchers happily prepare for a great season ahead, farmers are looking to the sky with anger at the losses they will suffer this year–with more surely to come.

Stakeholders seek solutions to the populations that are flocking to the Cowichan Valley

During the spring and summer months, the resident goose population is active on both farmers’ fields and large grassy areas including parks and school grounds. As they feed, geese are capable of destroying a farmer’s freshly planted crops and ruining playing fields and parks with their bountiful droppings. The water-borne droppings are also a serious contamination issue in both Somenos and Quamichan Lakes in the Cowichan Valley. It began in 1975 when Ministry of Wildlife officials imported a few Canada geese to use newly built nest areas on a little island in Quamichan Lake. From those few geese, there are now hundreds that remain year round in the Cowichan Valley. Christmas bird counts show that the number of Canada Geese climbed from zero in 1970 to nearly 4000 in 2010. Resident geese have been the main issue for farmers, groundskeepers and local waters for over 40 years. Many attempts at starting a process to manage the growing numbers of resident geese were unsuccessful. The unfettered growth led to a burgeoning population kept only in check by predation and other mortality causes. Some management techniques, for example addling (shaking) Canada goose eggs, were tried but not continued due to lack of funding or provincial support. But homegrown geese are not the only waterfowl issues. Cowichan is smack dab in the middle of the Pacific Flyway migration corridor where numerous species and large numbers visit or remain for the duration of the winter. Visiting species include Trumpeter and Tundra Swans as well as many other types of ducks and geese. Swans numbered


Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016

from just a few in the early 80s to over 1000 swans counted this past January during the weekly swan and goose count carried out by naturalist volunteers. Visiting waterfowl generally roost at night in local waters such as Somenos and Quamichan Lakes as well as the less-sheltered Cowichan Bay. By daybreak they are on the move to the best feeding sites–usually farmers’ fields or other large grassy areas. These sites change as the food and weather changes or if a disturbance has been encountered, making tracking of numbers rather difficult for researchers. Each waterfowl species has its food preferences and the ability to do considerable damage to the areas where they feed. The most recent effort to tackle these waterfowl management issues, led by Shari Wilmot with the Cowichan Land Trust, resulted in the 2010 Waterfowl Stewardship Action Plan. One of the objectives of the plan, spelled out in the executive summary, is to “engage local stakeholders to form an advisory committee that will oversee the implementation of the plan.” The document states it is “critical” that local groups be involved in developing, implementing and monitoring the stewardship action plan. “Local naturalists, farmers and regional waterfowl experts have identified concerns over loss of habitat, impacts on agricultural land and health risks from resident Canada goose populations.”

Photo: Barry Hetschko

This year, there’s another reason to revisit the endeavour. The (North American) Trumpeter Swan Society is coming to Cowichan November 16-18 for its 24th annual Swan Conference to talk about swans in particular but also to talk about the waterfowl management issue. The conference theme ‘Swans and Agriculture, Working Together’ has prompted two events that will directly address the ongoing issue and hopefully lead to a path that will reduce the waterfowl conflicts for farmers and others.

Birding Birding Nature NatureTours Tours Workshops Workshops ArtShow Show& Art and andmore... more...

The first is a public forum with a panel of experts on waterfowl and farming leading the discussion. It is being held at the Quw’utsun’ Conference Centre on Wednesday, November 16, starting at 6:30 pm. Entry is by donation. The second event is a field tour on November 17 with the opportunity to visit local farms affected by waterfowl and to hear first-hand from farmers about the losses they face and the actions they take to reduce waterfowl predation. The field tour will be led by Graeme Fowler, an expert in waterfowl and agriculture management issues. A delicious country lunch provided by the Somenos Women’s Institute at Vimy Hall is included in the $30 ticket price. The tour leaves the Quw’utsun’ Centre at 8:30 am. And, of course, there might be a little swan watching thrown in for swan lovers visiting from all over North America.

Nov18 18 Nov Gala Gala Evening Evening with with

Robert Robert Bateman Bateman For dates & info visit our website Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016


well, well,


Understanding Groundwater and Being WellSmart in the RDN


by Joe McCallum, RDN Water Services Department

rom Deep Bay to Yellow Point and everywhere in between rural residents of the Regional District of Nanaimo access groundwater for their domestic water needs. The RDN has a vested interest in protecting the health of our aquifers and providing the public with the knowledge necessary to maintain and understand their private wells. This Wednesday, October 26th and Thursday, November 3rd, the RDN will be holding two free WellSmart workshops to offer advice and information regarding well maintenance and groundwater protection. Well owners access both “bedrock” and “sand and gravel” aquifers depending on the geological nature of their property. Aquifers can vary greatly in shape, volume, characteristics, and size and although a well on one’s property is certainly private, the aquifer from which it draws is always shared. When many properties draw from the same groundwater source, it further underscores the importance of not only properly maintaining one’s well, but also of appreciating that groundwater is very much a community, and often even a neighbourhood, resource. Unnecessary stress


Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016

on the re-charge rate of an aquifer due to over-use, or the contamination of groundwater due to poor construction or maintenance, can adversely affect the individual responsible and potentially their neighbours who share that particular aquifer. An understanding of how a private well is constructed and how to properly maintain it can go a very long way in protecting aquifer health for everyone. The challenge and privilege of managing one’s own water supply is a part of life for many individuals living in rural areas. Those who rely on private wells are much more connected to their water source than residents whose homes are connected to city water. Although using a private well has associated challenges that can at first seem daunting, there are simple steps that can be undertaken to ensure one’s well water is protected and clean. 1) Inspect the construction of the wellhead to make sure it is safe / protected from surface water entering 2) Upgrade old wells to safe standards and decommission old wells that are not being used 3) Test your water – even if it looks clear and tastes fine. Many wells on the island were installed decades ago, before the Well Protection Standards for drillers were implemented in 2005, and therefore may be prone to problems. A common well construction issue to watch out for is the presence of an ineffective casing which could allow contaminants from the surface (pollutants such as pesticides, oil, or manure

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for example) to infiltrate the groundwater. Casings that are corroded, improperly capped, or that allow a gap between the casing and ground surface

could result in well or aquifer contamination. Luckily, the RDN offers a rebate program to encourage well upgrades, the details of which can be

The RDN encourages anyone interested in learning more about private wells, aquifers, and water testing to join us at our WellSmart workshops where experts from Provincial government, Island Health Authority, and well installation industries will give informative presentations and answer questions. Further information and resources can be found on the RDN website and questions or comments can be directed to

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Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016


the of



garlic Good things come to those who wait by Nora Arajs Ceres Edible Landscaping


o you’re up to your waist in harvested produce–apples, tomatoes, pears, and squash are piled on the kitchen counters. The dehydrator is running round the clock, and you’re canning and juicing and freezing produce for winter meals. But wait, there’s still planting to do – don’t forget the garlic! Garlic is a high value crop that is very, very easy to grow - you just need to do a bit of planning.

Soil preparation My rule of thumb is to plant garlic on Thanksgiving. It’s an easy date to remember and generally it’s a time when I’m cleaning up the garden beds anyway and the hard frosts have not started on the coast. First, prepare your soil. Garlic likes sandy loam enriched with lots of rich compost or aged manure, and a good sunny 8

Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016

exposure. Create a furrow about 3 inches deep and sprinkle some bone meal in the bottom. Rows should be approximately 8 inches apart.

Planting Start with good quality seed garlic. Many local farms have garlic for sale now, just check the local farmers markets and garden centres. Break apart the garlic heads into individual cloves. Do not remove the outside papery skin from each clove. Plant each clove, pointy end up, in the bottom of the furrow, about 5-6 inches apart. Cover the cloves with 2 inches of soil, and mulch well. Cover the planted area with at least 6 inches of straw which will help to suppress weeds as well as protect the cloves through the winter. No need to water the newly planted bed–leave it to grow through the winter. You may find the cloves will send up green shoots through the straw in late fall, but that growth will slow during the winter months. You shouldn’t have to water a garlic bed until April or May, but this really depends on how much rain or snow we have during the winter and how dry the spring is. Just pull away some straw and check the moisture level of the soil below. You don’t want a really wet soil for garlic or it will encourage fungal growth and rot.

Scapes Scapes are the curling flower buds of the plant. There are two schools of thought about removing or not removing the scapes. I remove them as I believe they take precious energy away from the developing bulbs, which is ultimately what we’re after. So why not use them? Snap the scapes off when they complete one full circle. The stem is very juicy and tender and every bit of it is edible. You can use them chopped in stir fry, salad, or grind them into pesto. Store them in the fridge whole, or freeze ground scapes in cubes to put into soups later. There are many uses for this wonderful flower end of the garlic plant.

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Harvesting Stop watering your garlic bed in early June to allow the bulbs to cure. The bulbs are ready to harvest when half the tops have turned brown. In early-July test one bulb to ensure bulb development is complete. You should have nice round, firm, bulbs. Harvest the garlic by gently lifting from the soil with a garden fork – do not pull the garlic by the foliage to remove it from the soil. Brush off all the soil from around the bulb and let your harvest cure either hanging or lying in a single layer in a dry, cool, dark environment with good air flow for about 3 weeks. When the tops have completely dried, cut the bulbs from the stalks, leaving no more than 1 inch of stem above the top of the bulb. Store in a cool dry place and enjoy throughout the year.

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Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016


All over Vancouver Island, food is not going to waste – thanks to local volunteers



fruit left behind

by Paula Masyk

his has been a bumper year for fruit on Vancouver Island. Apples, plums, and pears are spilling off of the trees, into our kitchens, and eventually our ovens, freezers and lunch kits. There is such abundance that some of us have more than we can manage. Not everyone is able to harvest their trees, and others simply do not have enough time to process and preserve all that they have. Nobody wants to see food go to waste, but some of it ends up rotting on the ground, feeding only wasps.


It’s hard to imagine, in the midst of this bounty, that anyone should do without. Yet local food banks always seem too busy with clients, and too short on donations. Droughts in food producing regions such as California are driving prices ever higher, not to mention the climbing costs of transporting food to the Island. Only 15 per cent of food consumed on Vancouver Island is produced here, with the remaining 85 per cent ferried in. It becomes increasingly important to manage what we grow. Fruit gleaning impacts all of these issues at once. Gleaning, historically, is the

Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016

act of gathering leftover crops by the less fortunate. The Old Testament commanded Hebrew farmers to leave a portion of their crops unharvested for poor neighbours and strangers to gather for themselves.

Today, volunteer organizations have set up programs where backyard fruit is picked for donation to the pickers and local food banks. Here’s how it works: 1) Homeowners with excess fruit contact the gleaning organization. 2) Volunteers, who want to pick and keep fruit, register with the organization.

3) The gleaning organization arranges for volunteer pickers to harvest the fruit. 4) The harvested fruit is divided between the homeowner, the gleaning organization, the pickers, and community organizations for people in need such as food banks. What struck me most, watching gleaning in action, was the strong community building that resulted from the program. It is magical to see how this process brings people together. Through common goals and the feeling of doing the right thing to prevent food waste, people meet, come together and interact.

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For details, visit: Everybody wins. Pickers can include single parents, low income families, and many people who simply welcome the opportunity to get out, get moving and connect. Emergency food providers stock up. Homeowners get their fruit picked. Fruit gleaning is growing and there are many organizations doing it all over Canada, including many all over BC. On Vancouver Island, in 2015, Comox Valley Fruit Tree Project picked 24,000 lbs, Victoria Fruit Tree Program picked approximately 35,000 lbs, Nanaimo’s Community Garden Gleaning Project picked 10,594 lbs and 10,772 lbs were picked by Cowichan Green Community’s Fruit Save Program. By all estimates most of these groups are surpassing last year’s numbers already, and it’s only the beginning of September! Gleaning projects are almost always volunteer based and not for profit. If you are looking for a way to be involved with your community, score some fruit to preserve, or make some friends, give them a call and try it. Particularly needed are volunteer team leads. These are the superstar volunteers with a truck who can bring the ladder to the site if required, and drop off the picked fruit at its destination. Participation is always on a case by case basis and can always be restricted to areas and times of convenience for the volunteers. It isn’t often that we run across something that has no down side at all. Fruit gleaning is one of those rare things. For the opportunity to be involved in these wonderful projects, contact the one nearest to you.

Lots of fall stock arriving daily!


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the do's & don'ts of

laminitis L

aminitis can affect any horse, of any age or sex, at any time of the year and can be triggered by a variety of causes in any horse.

A painful inflammatory condition of the tissues (laminae) that bond the hoof wall to the pedal (coffin) bone in the horse's hoof, laminitis is caused by weakening of the supporting tissue within the hoof, leading to painful tearing of the support structure which suspends the pedal bone within the hoof.

The Dont's Don’t put a laminitic horse on pasture – fresh grass is very high in sugar and/or fructans, especially in the spring, summer and the hottest part of the day. Don’t feed oats, barley, corn, COB, grains or any other commercial grain feeds including extruded feeds – these (as well as grass) are all high in sugar and non-structural carbohydrates which increase blood sugar, insulin levels and cecal acids and toxins (leaky gut) – all major causes of hoof inflammation. Don’t feed high fat feeds or added oils. While current popular opinion promotes feeding horses poor quality fats for “cool” energy and for lowering the glycemic index of forage and grain, fats and oils congest the liver and lymph system, slow down digestive transit time, impede nutrient absorption, contribute to leaky gut, have no nutritional value and increase cortisol levels which elevates blood sugar. Use caution with alfalfa. While the high protein levels in alfalfa will lower the glycemic index and stabilize blood sugar in SOME horses, excess alfalfa will exacerbate laminitic symptoms in most horses by contributing to a leaky gut and/or by increasing the deposition of acids into the hoof joints. Don’t soak your hay for longer than two to three weeks – any longer than that could increase hunger and stress levels as the sugar and/or protein levels may become deficient. Any hay that needs to be soaked long-term to maintain weight or soundness is not an appropriate hay. Only soak hay for 40-45 minutes at a time.


Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016

Don’t starve the overweight laminitic/metabolic horse – this creates stress causing unbalanced insulin levels, increased cortisol production, poor immunity and an increase in hoof inflammation. Make available small amounts of forage 24/7 by using slow feeders.

successful program requires an appropriate feed program, well-selected nutrients, the correction of all underlying health problems, exercise and a professional barefoot trim.

Don’t confine a laminitic horse no matter how sore they are – horses need movement and exercise to improve circulation and deliver nutrients to toxic and damaged hoof tissues. Let the sore horse decide how much movement he/ she needs. Metabolic horses with laminitis need sufficient exercise to regulate blood sugar levels and to reverse their condition.

Do read Healing Horses Their Way for an extensive resource of information on successful health programs for laminitis…and much more.

Don’t use glucosamine products - glucosamine is a type of sugar that strains the liver and depresses insulin production in sugar sensitive, overweight and/or metabolic horses. Don’t accept hoof pathologies as normal no matter what you are told: flaring walls, bell-shaped hooves, cracking, splitting, soft soles, flat soles, long toes, high heels, contracted heels and/or underrun heels are all abnormal and can be fixed with a suitable barefoot trim, exercise and an appropriate diet. Don’t accept the label of “navicular” - this is an over-used term to explain unexplained hoof symptoms. Many cases of these so-called navicular cases are actually sub-clinical laminitis. Don’t listen to well-meaning people or professionals who tell you that your horse won’t recover from laminitis – they are misinformed.

Do practice prevention – good food, good trims, good exercise!

It Is No Longer Acceptable to Euthanize the Laminitic Horse – Ever! The Do’s

to your own horses’ feet.

Do feed horses a high fibre diet which may include suitable hay, beet pulp, certain seeds, wheat bran, wheat germ and/or fruit and vegetables. Fibre detoxifies the liver and hindgut, regulates appetite, lowers the glycemic index of all feeds and encourages weight loss. Do use slow feeders to lower stress levels, ease digestion and provide forage 24/7.

Do also educate yourself on sub-clinical laminitis which is the early stage where structural changes have occurred within the hoof without the horse being obviously lame or short in the stride. Nevertheless, these horses are tender in the front feet to varying degrees. It is a common cause of hoof soreness and yet is frequently not detected. It is often mistakenly thought to be arthritis, even in young horses.

Do treat horses for a leaky gut if present – hindgut bacteria, acids and toxins are a major cause of laminitis. Treatment programs include probiotics, herbal cleansers and specific nutrients.

Do know that the most common hoof nutrient deficiencies are selenium, silica and sulphur. These are all minerals which strengthen hoof wall, lamina and joint capsules.

Do treat horses for parasites if present – parasitic toxins exacerbate hoof inflammation and/or laminitis.

Do use pads, boots and/or casts temporarily to relieve pain and to encourage movement in all stages of laminitis.

Do ensure a proper barefoot trim for optimum hoof function. Educate yourself on what a healthy hoof looks like so you can make comparisons

Happy Hooves, Happy Horses! Marijke van de Water, B.Sc., DHMS is an Equine Health & Nutrition Specialist who works from her natural health clinic in Armstrong, B.C. She uses a variety of modalities including diet, therapeutic nutrition, homeopathy, kinesiology and energy work. After years of extensive experience and after thousands of success cases Marijke developed her own kinesiology technique trademarked as The Marijke Method™ which is a specific technique used to determine the underlying cause of unwellness and formulate a health program to correct it. Marijke is the founder, formulator and CEO of Riva’s Remedies and is the author of two books: “Healing Horses Their Way” and “Healing People: The Marijke Method”. She has recorded over 100 radio shows and videos on natural health programs for animals - and their people.

Do definitely know that laminitic hooves – without exception - can all recover. The Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016





The Blue Hubbard squash is

Blue Hubbard Squash Soup

both beautiful to look at and

by Heather Kaye

to eat. While the colour is what designers dream of – an antiqued grey-blue shabby chic exterior contrasted with a creamy orange interior, it’s the sweet-tasting flesh that really catches one’s attention!

Ingredients: 1/2 pint heavy cream 1 dried bay leaf 1 or 2 fresh sage leaves 1/2 stick of butter 3 chopped carrots 2 chopped celery stalks 1 chopped onion 2 cloves garlic minced 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 2 cups (approx. 1/2 of a) Blue Hubbard Squash puree (can be substituted with other winter squash varieties including butternut, kabocha, or buttercup) 1/4 cup flour 32 oz chicken stock salt & pepper

Method: The Cowichan Region’s new online farmers’ market Cowichan Green Community


Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016

Quarter, seed, and roast the squash at 350 for an hour. When cool, scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor. Yields roughly four cups. (As you only need half a squash for this recipe, freeze and save the rest for later). Steep bay and sage leaves in the cream by bringing to a boil, then reducing heat to low – leave it on back burner while you prep other ingredients. In a soup pot, melt butter and cook onions, garlic, carrots, and celery until softened. Add nutmeg and cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in squash and flour. Add chicken stock, simmer for thirty minutes and blend. Discard the herbs and incorporate the cream. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or yogurt. Serves 4-6.

down on the


There is much to consider when inviting schoolkids to a working farm, but the benefits lie in the future


by Marley Cummings n this day and age, children are becoming more and more distanced from the tactile, salt of the earth reality we value so much here on the island and in our farming communities. Technology has come to a point where children as young as the age of 2 have their own iPads, and are capable of using them more competently than some adults! This can be a good thing, as technology encourages the spread of information that in the past was much more difficult to access. Unfortunately, this also means that some of the more traditional ways of learning and discovering are lost in a sea of touch screens and smartboards. Children need the opportunity to be a part of the farming and agriculture that is so crucial to our planets health. Without these important lessons, how can we expect the traditions of our own to survive on to the next generation? continued on page 16

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continued from page 15 Give our children the chance to be involved in exploring where food comes from, beyond packaging or the grocery store. One excellent way to do this is to host field trips on your farm. As a preschool teacher, I know we are constantly searching for way to enrich the children’s learning, and this includes how to raise their awareness of communities as a whole and create an understanding of each factor in their lives. If we had the option to go as a class to a farm, and spend the day learning about local produce, livestock, and care for the environment, we would jump at the chance. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, here are a few tips for getting started.

Putting yourself out there

Make your intent to share the farming experience known to local schools and preschools in your area. Post on community websites, reach out to parents on the PTA board, and make a few trips to the schools with short informational packages.

Take seasonal changes into consideration

Plan your accessibility around times when the farm is the most productive and vibrant. Trips in late spring and early fall are the best times, for the school and for the farm. Creating an awareness of what produce is available and how long it takes for plants to develop from seed to final harvesting is a wonderful way to educate children on the work it takes to grow food.

Facilities and weather

Children need bathrooms! This is something you will need to plan for. Consider renting some portable washrooms for the day, and include a good sized area outside for handwashing, filling up water bottles, and eating lunch or snacks. A trip will commonly take about 3-4 hours, and kids will need plenty of bathroom and food breaks in between this time, especially the younger groups. When thinking about transportation around your farm, depending on how large it is, factor in the walking distance. There’s value in exercise, but nothing is 16

more fun than a good old fashioned hay ride if you have the equipment. You may want to instill a rain or shine policy, or have a back-up plan for terrible weather. Flexibility is a necessity in this sense, as an incredibly windy and rainy day may not be fun for everyone.


Organizing a way for 20-30 children to get from the school to your farm and back again is a big undertaking. Spend the time to confer with teachers about how this will work. Bus scheduling and financing is crucial to making the day flow well. There are different options out there, and if it’s a smaller sized group parents may even be open to carpooling.


This is a big one. Typically, a school’s district insurance will cover them while out on field trips, but it is important to remember that teachers and parent volunteers are not included in this. It is up to you to look into your own insurance, and consider taking out a separate liability policy for your farm. Make sure that the

Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016

school is aware of your coverage, and keep communications open to avoid any issues. If you would still like to be a part of classroom education about livestock and produce, but would like an easier option, you can always bring the farm to the kids. Preparing seeds and pots, or involving yourself in creating gardens for schoolyards is an excellent way to promote agricultural awareness and interest. Have chickens or ducks? Make incubation kits. The miracle of life is exciting and special, and teachers will jump at the chance to have these in classrooms. Any way you choose to involve yourself in the education of children in your community is positive and will be wellreceived. To care about the future of local farming and our environment is synonymous with caring for the youth of tomorrow. Young minds crave the stimulation of nature and the chance to get dirty!


Come to the Alberni Valley! • Family Farm Days brings customers directly to your farm • 2 Farm Markets per week where you can sell your produce • Annual “Taste of the Valley” helps customers find you faster • 2 Agricultural Support Workers helping Alberni Farmers get food to folk’s forks • Poised to launch an online distribution/sales channel, providing another sales outlet • Thinking about Aquaculture? Explore with support from the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District • Host of the 2017 Island Agricultural Show, where innovations are shared and contacts are made For further information please contact: Alex Dyer 250 720-2708

The Alberni Valley

Over 7000 hectares of land in the ALR Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016


cowichan green

community notes


t’s always with a warmhearted chuckle when we reminisce about the good ole days at Cowichan Green Community (CGC)–days all wound up by heated debates of trying to save the planet in a tiny 500 square foot office in Downtown Duncan with no bathroom and a ripped leather couch that looked suspiciously like it belonged back in the VW hippie van era. Stained carpets and beat up broken metal desks accompanied the subversive, understated

passion for a more food secure region that was held by the small but dedicated CGC team.

yogi, and a spin around the journalistic world led her to that grubby little office in need of some new fire and light.

focused programs, CGC is now the incredibly delighted parent of this amazing agriculture magazine.

Since those humble beginnings, when lack of funding, direction, time, or energy seemed to be enough to take it all down, Judy Stafford appeared as a somewhat mythical ‘knighttress’ in shining armor. Decades of fighting a good fight in the financial sector, years of standing on her head as a reformed banker turned

Fast forward nine years, CGC now proud owners of the smashingly beautiful downtown refurbished Phoenix hotel, turned affordable housing/ commercial building with an unbelievable 27 bathrooms, dozens of awards and accolades under the CGC belt, countless successful community-building food-

The entire CGC team has been enthusiastically contributing their shared knowledge, wisdom, and expertise into these pages and we are all looking forward to seeing how we can grow this educational tool together with you all. Stay tuned for more inspiring issues ahead – we CAN grow a more food secure place to live, work, play, and love.

Preserving Our Wisdom


unded by New Horizons for Seniors, a grant from Employment and Social Development Canada, Cowichan Green Community (CGC) is hosting 20 FREE food preservation workshops and 8 FREE community meal workshops over the next six months in Downtown Duncan. This project aims to teach or feature a variety of preservation techniques in an inclusive workshop environment including pickling, dehydration, and freezing, water-bath and pressure-canning. The unique spin is that all of these activities will be utilizing as much reclaimed food as possible. All workshops and community meal preparations include elder mentors who are present to share their wisdom and their skills with younger generations. If you are interested in becoming involved as a senior facilitator, to take part in classes, or wish to learn more about the program please visit our website: project/preserving-our-wisdom. Space in these workshops are limited so contact Jennifer from the Cowichan Green Community to reserve your spot today! Phone: 250-748-8506, Email:


Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016

Workshop Schedule DATE


October 19, 2016 October 20, 2016 October 22, 2016 November 2, 2016 November 5, 2016 November 26, 2016

1pm-4pm 1pm-4pm 1pm-4pm 1pm-4pm 1pm-4pm 1pm-4pm

Preservation Workshops Apple Chips Apple Butter Sauerkraut Jam Chutney Salsa Antipasto

Incubator Seed Farm

Get Seedy

with Cowichan Green Community.

It'll be a hoot! Tour the new CGC Incubator Seed Farm Participate in a seed saving workshop Have a hot beverage, a snack and an engaging conversation


by Paula Masyk owichan Green Community started dreaming of an incubator teaching farm to incorporate into its local food security program structure in 2012. In 2015, the perfect site was provided by Municipality of North Cowichan on Beverly Street next door to Alexander Elementary School. The importance of availability of locally adapted seed is a growing issue. Droughts and rising transport costs threaten the island’s precarious food supply. Sources of commercially grown seeds are becoming increasingly centralized which means we’re increasingly dependent on fewer choices. What we can buy may not be what grows best here. In recognition of this need, the vision of the new site as the Cowichan Incubator Seed Farm was conceptualized in the fall of 2015, and quickly became a reality. The mission of the farm is to share knowledge and growing for seed and increasing access to regionally-adapted seed by producing varieties specifically suited to the Cowichan Region and Vancouver Island.

Saturday, October 22nd 1pm to 4pm


CGC is delighted to announce that September 2016 brought with it the dream come true, with the Farm Supervisor and the four Farm Interns busily gleaning the first of many seed harvests to come. The success of Canada’s first Incubator Seed Farm is shared with our many generous supporters. Heartfelt thanks to the Real Estate Foundation, Island Coastal Economic Trust, Coastal Community Credit Union, Cowichan Valley Regional District, The Bauta Family Initiative on Seed Security, Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, Drillwell Enterprises and so many others for making this project possible. Special thanks to the Municipality of North Cowichan for their ongoing support and their contribution to growing the future of food security in the Cowichan Region – stay tuned for an abundance of fabulous CGSeeds coming your way.

The Employment Program of British Columbia is funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016





by Cyle Serra Ceres Edible Landscaping


verything seems possible!” These very powerful words are how Andrea Kross feels when she is hanging out with her edible garden consultant - me. Andrea describes herself as always being a wannabe gardener. Dreaming of that summer where she can be braggadocios at the office, showing off her own grown salad filled with food that she grew. She was, however, constantly feeling overwhelmed by the physical and tactical requirements of getting her dream garden off the ground. One day she stumbled upon Ceres Edible Landscaping, a Duncan-based social enterprise of Cowichan Green Community specializing in helping people grow their own fruits, vegetable and herbs.

building soil fertility and installing small garden beds, perennial shrubs and trees. Finally, at the beginning of this summer, she was ready to plant her dream vegetable garden. Just like magic, ALAKAZAM, she had a bumper crop of tomatoes, peas, kale, spinach, carrots and beans. Thrilled by her new found green thumb, the self-described, wannabe gardener has become the latest zero mile diet diva. She says that the advantage of hiring Ceres as veggie consultants is that we “come in and do in a day what I was trying to do for a year or two.”  We’ve also helped her break some mental blocks by turning what she thought of as a “wasteland full of weeds”, in to an “incredible veggie patch”. Andrea is now planning her next installation which she hopes will have an edible floral labyrinth with seating areas and maybe even a water feature. Success of the garden kind!

Year by year, little by little the expert backyard earthscapers helped by

Doug Routley, MLA


Nanaimo~North Cowichan 

Providing organic horticultural services throughout the Cowichan Valley. We provide design, installation, and maintenance services, as well as education.

Unit 112 50 Tenth Street  Nanaimo, BC  V9R 6L1  T 250.716.5221 | F 250.716.5222 st  Avenue  Box 269 | 524 1 #1-16 High Street Ladysmith, BC  V9G 1A2  T 250.245.9375 | F 250.245.8164

Web: Email:


Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016


For more information or to book your consultation, contact Nora at 250-748-8506, or email



As a recipient of funding you are expected to include appropriate DAYis2 funded Your project/program by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada acknowledg and the BC all project-related communication materials and products. These requirements Agriculture through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. • Business Planning Process: Learn the process • Financial Planning: Learn how to develop and your contractual obligation and if not met, may result in project costs being declare and structure to planning your food business. use budgets, forecasts and financial statements. for As funding. a recipient of funding DAY 2 you are expected to include appropriate acknowledg DAY 1 • and Packaging: Review keys of These requirements • Market Access and Analysis: Learn the basics of all project-related Labeling communication materials andthe products. • how Business Planning the process • package Financialdesign, Planning: Learn how tofood develop and to research andProcess: market Learn your food products. regulations and protection. These guidelines are not and a replacement for approvals. They costs have been yourbusiness. contractual obligation if not met,and may result in project beingdevelope declare use budgets, forecasts financial statements. and structure to planning your food you to appropriately acknowledge the source of funding in all communication ma for funding. • Production Economics: Determine the costs of • Product Development: Learn formulation products related project. All GF2 products must be sent Labeling andoperations Packaging: Review the keys of to your ministry proje • techniques Market Access and to Analysis: Learn the basics of to• your and how commercialize your recipes. production, and co-packing options. for review and forwarding to the Growing Forward Communications Coordinator for ap how to research and market your food products. package regulations food protection. These guidelines are not adesign, replacement for and approvals. They have been develope you to appropriately acknowledge the basics sourceof of funding in all communication ma • Quality Assurance: Learn the implementation • Logistics: Learn the procurement, • of Product Development: Learn formulation • your Production Economics: Determine the costs Please this information with all those involved in the delivery receiving, storage and shipping. operational standards. products share related to project. All GF2 products must be sent of to your ministry proje production, operations and co-packing options. techniques and how to commercialize your recipes. project/program. You are required to ensure that the guidelines are applied consis for review and forwarding to the Growing Forward Communications Coordinator for ap project communications materials and products. • Quality Assurance: Learn the implementation • Logistics: Learn the basics of procurement, Please share this information withshipping. all those involved in the delivery receiving, storage and of operational standards. project/program. You are required to ensure that the guidelines are applied consis project communications materials and products. DAY 1

All communications materials referring to programs funded under GF2 must ac funding contributions of the Government of Canada and the Province of British Co apply the GF2 common look. This ensures that a strong, consistent brand is applied communications products that are easily recognizable asfunded GF2 initiatives. AllSpecialist, communications materials referring toInc. programs under GF2 must ac Facilitated by Farm|Food|Drink Business Greg McLaren - Business Advisory Team and Left Field Marketing

fundingand contributions of theexpert, Government of Canada and the Province of British Co Special guest presenter industry/regulatory Candice Appleby, Executiveapply Director Scale Food Processor Association Your ministry manager will provide you a copy of the Growing the- Small GF2project common look. This ensures that with a strong, consistent brand isForward applied

Standards Guide which includes information on graphicasidentifiers (logos), font treatm GF2 initiatives.

communications products thatVisitor are easily Date: Oct. 18 & 19 Location: Vancouver Island Centrerecognizable

Facilitated by Farm|Food|Drink Business Specialist, Greg McLaren - Business Advisory Team Inc.*and Left Field Marketing INCLUDES LUNCH Comox Valley Workshop: Nanaimo Workshop: Duncan Workshop scheme3607 andSmall sample layouts, BC as well as the appropriate graphic identifiers. AND 8 MODULE BINDER Rd., Courtenay, Time: 9am-4pm Special guest presenter and industry/regulatory expert, Candice Appleby, Date: October 20-21 Date: November 9 - 10 Cost: $89.00 plus GST Executive Director - Small Scale Food Processor Association Your ministry project will provide with Green a copy of the Location: Vancouver Island Visitor Centre, 3607 Location: Nanaimo Chamber of manager Commerce, 2132 Location:you Cowichan Community

Date: October 18-19

Growing Forward font treatm

Small Road, Courtenay, BC, V9N 3Z8 Bowen Road, Nanaimo, V9S 1H7includes information 360 Duncan Duncan, BC,identifiers V9L 3W4 Standards GuideBC,which onSt.graphic (logos), Date: Oct. 18 & 19 Location: Vancouver Island Visitor Centre * INCLUDES LUNCH Register: Register at Register: Cowichan Green Community scheme and sample layouts, as well as the appropriate graphic identifiers. AND 8 MODULE BINDER 3607 Small Rd., Courtenay, BC More info: 250-754-4916 250-597-1112 Time: 9am-4pmMore info: 250-754-4916 The three graphic identifiers (logos) are always placed in this order: More info: 250-754-4916 Cost: $89.00 plus GST


Delivered by:

Funded by:


The three graphic identifiers (logos) are always placed in this order:

Delivered by:

Funded by:

Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016


small livestock for small



by Marley Cummings he fall fairs and exhibitions are behind us and there were many 4-H animals on display all over the island.

The ones that garner the most attention are usually the larger mammals. The horse shows and cow beauty pageants, sheep shearing and goat milking all tend to take center stage. But it’s the smaller “livestock� that can be the most loved, especially by children who are eager to participate in these contests and shows alongside their older more experienced farmer counterparts. Guinea pigs can be a very fun and easy to care for endeavour for anyone who is interested in partaking in the fairs, or who simply wants a pet a tad more exotic than a cat or a dog. These furry little friends go by another name, the cavy, and are originally from South America. They can grow up to 10 inches long and weigh up to 2 pounds on average when full grown. Guinea pigs are a type of tail-less rodent, and their fur is multi-coloured and can be long and curly or shorter and straight. These creatures are friendly, cuddly and sweet. They are not known for


Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016

Guinea pigs & bunnies are cuddly and great teachers for kids

being particularly smart, but they do recognize their owners and will seek out attention from them. They are social animals, and prefer to be in pairs or a small group.

having them lope around the house shouldn’t be an issue in the way of waste pick up. Litter boxes need to be changed regularly to encourage good habits, so be aware that this is something that should be done every couple of days.

The way to keep Guinea pigs is traditionally in a large cage, with about 2 square feet available per pig. The bottom should be solid, and wood chips are great bedding. In their home, you should include lots of untreated wood for chewing, and a place for them to hide so they feel secure. These rodents love to play in food and water dishes, and can make quite a mess, so a good water bottle attachment and food dish is strongly suggested!

Bunnies are good pets for kids that are a bit older. They are timid creatures and can scratch or bite if they feel threatened. They do best in a home with children who can understand the calm demeanour necessary for handling these animals. The bond between your child and the rabbit can be a beautiful thing, and as long as there is mutual respect, the rabbit will behave accordingly and will enjoy the affection your child gives to him/her.

Rabbits The favourite smaller pet for children is of course, bunnies. These docile, gentle and intelligent beings make wonderful family pets, and are marginally less smelly then guinea pigs (don’t tell them I said that!) Before you consider adopting a rabbit, you need to decide something that can change many factors: will my rabbit be indoor or outdoor? Indoor rabbits need a large area to roam around in. This can be a bunny condo, a puppy pen, or simply a room dedicated to housing your fluffy buddy. You will

My pet parents shop at Buckerfield’s

also need to be aware of any electrical wires or outlets, or other items surrounding their homes that could be potentially hazardous if nibbled. These guys need to chew, so provide them with an outlet that is safe and fun!

All your toilet papers rolls and empty cereal boxes can be used to create a cardboard castle, which is fun for kids to build, and great for keeping “Bugs” entertained.

If you would like to teach your children (or simply witness it yourself!) about the miracles of life, both of these animals are excellent for that. The gestation period is quite short, around 6 weeks, and you get multiple cute babies to fawn over. Due to the short life span, it is fairly easy to find loving homes for each baby, or if you are really into it, what’s 6 bunnies or guinea pigs compared to 2! (just kidding, unless you want that number doubled in a few short months).

Rabbits can be litter trained, so


5410 Trans Canada Hwy 1-1277 Island Hwy S 587 Alberni Hwy 1970 Keating Cross Rd

250.748.8171 250.753.4221 250.248.3243 250.652.9188

Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016


it's a

bloom time The many microclimates on Vancouver Island make record keeping invaluable


by Chris Rozema

are highly selective.

all on the north of Vancouver Island came early. While we had some heat in August, rains, often torrential, came the last two weeks in some areas jeopardizing field vegetables like tomatoes and pumpkins by creating the perfect conditions for mildew and blight.

As we are beekeepers, we track two sets of data to help inform our decisions about our bee management. The first is a hive scale that records the weight increases and decreases of one sample hive in our home apiary. Weight increases are then correlated with our record of bloom dates in our area and a comparison year over year is maintained. Numerous have been the times when someone has said some bloom is “early” or “late” only to find when we look back that it is a day or two either side of the previous few years. I encourage you to, if you don’t already, begin recording temperature or bloom dates in your area so you can, indeed, know if something is late or early.

Most of the island is a matrix of microclimates. While I struggled with rain at our little farm just outside of Campbell River, my colleagues just south of me in Merville and Courtenay/ Comox areas seemed to fare better. It is the reality of living and growing in the temperate rainforest and a saving grace for local food security. Many people I spoke to this year claimed this was a return to more “normal” kinds of summers experienced here unlike the hot dry summers of the past few years. What I do know from our record keeping is that our memories


Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016

Record keeping of all types help the farmer, beekeeper, gardener to have a more objective comparison and allow us to tweak our plantings and better understand our local climates. They also provide an interesting historical record for future generations.

specializing in pre-egineered barns, shops & warehouses

Call us today for a free estimate Chris and Gerry Rozema live and work just south of Campbell River BC. Rozehaven Farm focuses on beekeeping and products from the hive as well as many varieties of garlic. www.rozehaven. ca has a link to their hive scale graphs year over year. Tracking temperature can also allow you to use a tool called Growing Degree Days to plan your year. According to Wikipedia, growing degree days “are a measure of heat accumulation….to predict plant and animal development rates such as the date that a flower will bloom, an insect will emerge from dormancy, or a crop will reach maturity.” This method of prediction uses an ambient air temperature (commonly 10°C) as a baseline and tracks, by plant or pest, what number of days over that temperature is needed for optimal management based on what you are growing, trying to eradicate, or what you are trying to improve. A very good explanation, plus the mathematical calculation and a basic list of plants, pests etc. with their growing degree day requirement can be found here: wiki/Growing_degree-day This kind of tool can help you predict when your first pest will emerge and possibly allow you to plan your pest management strategy

implementation with a finer precision. Many other methodologies for determining your growing year also exist. Commercial farming, intensive farming, certified organic farming, ranching, mixed method farming, small scale farming, all rely on a knowledge of the environment in which those activities take place to produce whatever product is chosen. Biodynamic gardening/ farming developed from ideas of Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s, and emphasizes planting on astrological sowings. None of the methods developed by humans regarding the interaction between earth and food production are for everyone. But we all rely on an intimate knowledge of our particular areas weather and temperature cycles. I am very likely speaking to the choir here. Let’s just back up our knowledge with some good data and counteract our very peculiar memories.

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Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016


chicken adventures Our farm to yours

W by Lesley Lorenz

hen we began raising chickens, we did a little research and decided to go with an all-purpose bird - a variation of the Barred Rock that was supposed to lay well and be good eating too. As with many other multi-purpose items in life (like all-weather tires and Swiss army knives) they turned out to be quite a bit less useful than their singleintention counterparts like winter tires, and full-size scissors. To muddy the waters further, we also found frizzles and bantam breeds cute and introduced them to the flock, so we ended up with a bunch of cross-breeds who laid only sporadically and on the handful of occasions we gathered the courage to try eating a bird, found them 26

tough as bedroom slippers, even though I simmered them in a slow-cooker from dawn to dusk.

farm. We decided to keep “Auntie” - a frizzle-bantam who goes broody often and had raised most of the outgoing flock.

Once the flurry of spring laying was over, we were getting only 3 or 4 eggs a day from two dozens hens. Something had to be done, so we posted our flock on line and found a home for them nearby, from farmers who would keep a few of the nicer birds and process the rest. Next spring, we will purchase some excellent laying hens at point-of-lay. We’re thinking of Rhode Island Reds (brown egg), Leghorns, (white egg) Ameraucana (green/blue egg) or Marans (dark brown egg).

The next day, Mark was at work at the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce and went to throw some recycling into the truck when he noticed one lone hen standing in the pick-up bed. He took her into the office for the rest of the day, and brought her home in a box - which she promptly laid an egg in on the way home! Figuring that she had gone above and beyond the call of duty, we named her Cousin and decided to keep her. Since we have just the two for the winter, they roost in the small brood house and spend their days roaming the fields with our three dwarf goats (who are also free-loaders...)

Mark and I collected the hens and roosters after dark, because that is when they get very hazy-minded and let you pick them up with almost no fuss. We put them in the back of the pickup (it has a canopy) and drove them to their new

Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016






“We Specialize in Happy Customers” visit us on facebook

www.west Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016




Minimize risks the by knowing the hazards


arms and ranches contain many potential hazards — objects, locations, or conditions — that may expose a person to the risk of injury or occupational disease. Identifying and controlling the hazards on your farm or ranch will help keep you and your workers safe from injury. You can use the following safety checklist to prevent injuries while operating or maintaining farming and ranching equipment.

Your responsibilities as an employer: Have a copy of the machine or equipment operator’s manual available for your workers to read and ensure they have read and understood it. Ensure workers who operate mobile equipment are properly trained and competent. Ask yourself: Have you provided adequate instruction and information to your workers on how to properly operate the equipment or machine? 28

Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016

Ensure all machines or equipment are in good working condition and ready for operation. Ensure all machine shields and guards are in good condition and safety labels are on the equipment. Maintain your equipment as per the manufacturers instructions (i.e., clutch, brakes, steering). Ensure all equipment has a rollover protective structure (roll bar). Confirm equipment brakes are working well in both directions (forward and reverse). Confirm all equipment requiring seatbelts have one in good working order. Check that the machine has guards where moving parts could injure workers. Ensure lock-out procedures are clearly posted and followed.

Your responsibilities as a worker:

Pre-operational safety checks Locate and ensure you’re familiar with all machine or equipment operations, controls, and lock-out procedures. Ensure all equipment or machine shields and guards are fitted, secure, and functional. (If any machine parts are missing or in need of repair, do not operate the equipment.) Read the operator’s manual and review the safety labels attached to the equipment before installing or using power take-off equipment (PTO). (If labels on equipment are missing, affix new labels before using it.) Use only implements that meet the specifications listed in the machine operator’s manual. Keep records of your preoperational checks. Ensure someone knows where you are, what you will be doing, and when to expect you back.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Operational safety checks

Wear proper foot protection. Wear eye and hearing protection.

Ensure your roll-over protective structure (roll bar) on the machine is in the up position.

Regularly apply sunscreen in accordance with instructions, or wear sun-protective clothing.

When operating machines, fasten your seatbelt before you move the equipment.

Ensure all clothing is close-fitting, and secure long hair with a hat or some other means.

Operate the machinery using a lower speed, unless the operator’s manual specifically states that it’s

safe to use the higher speed. Keep all bystanders away from powered equipment and machines. Assess the machinery by walking around the operating equipment.

Ending operations and cleaning up Ensure you shut down, disengage any powered equipment, and shut off the machine engine once you’re done work. Remember to remove and take the keys with you before leave. Keep warning labels clean and free from obstructing material. Replace damaged or missing labels with new labels available from the equipment supplier. Wait until all moving components have completely stopped before getting off equipment or connecting, disconnecting, adjusting, cleaning, or servicing any powered equipment. Keep the work area safe, clean, and tidy. Making a commitment to health and safety is one of the best ways to protect you and those around you when working on a farm or ranch. To learn more about health and safety, and how to identify hazards and to assess risks, visit

Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016


wasn't that a


Scene at the Cowichan Exhibition...

A real dog and pony show A jarring experience

Off to the (zucchini) races 30

Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016

Elvis sighting? No, it's 14-year-old Sierra Robinson and her crested duck, "Puffy" at the 4-H display


This 4-H page is brought to you by...


Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016



Island Farm & Garden - October / November 2016

Island Farm and Garden October 2016