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WINTER 2016 / 2017



Port Alberni welcomes you this February

Dividing Perennials Gifts from nature

Seedy Events Sharing the wealth

Comfort Food Seasonal recipes

SUPPORTING FAMILY-RUN LOCAL BUSINESS Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017


finding some

system s during installed Decem and Ja ber nuary !

time Reflection and connection


by Eric Morten, Editor

There’s a message in this bottle. Do you know what it says? The message to anyone using bottled water is this: there’s a far more cost effective way of getting clean and delicious drinking water for your home or business. Our under the counter systems are state-of-the-art, out of sight, and because they do away with bottled water, you’ll save a bundle in a very short period of time.

ith the holiday season fast approaching, we thought the best theme for this issue would be "reflection." Anyone working the land must find winter to be a time to look back on a life lived sustainably, to take stock of what worked and what didn't. We always must be prepared to make change. Such is the nature of working in nature. As the stories for this edition came in, it became clear that yes, while it's a time to look back and enjoy a very little breathing room, winter is also a chance to make connections and to plan for the seasons to come. Whether it be connecting with an online CSA or with community at Young Agrarian mixers, at Seedy Events all over the Island, or at the Islands Agricultral Show in Port Alberni, local growers are sharing information and community. And it makes sense. During the growing season, there's little time for anything but work. It's a solitary business being out standing in your field, be it a working farm, market garden or a patch of veggies for your home. The connections are invaluable to the craft. There's always something to be learned, something to be tried and something to be avoided. The agricultural community has been sharing knowledge since there has been a community. It's how humans have survived so far. So attend a workshop, share a palmful of seeds or try a two-step at a good 'ole community dance. Rejuvenate, just as the soil does. And try to find something to do with all your "spare time."

Serving Vancouver Island since 1986 250.753.3333 | 2180 South Wellington Road, Nanaimo


Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

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


Islands Agriculture Show.....................................................................4 A Natural Twist.....................................................................................6 A Great Divide......................................................................................8 The Seediest Neighbourhood............................................................10 Make Holiday Memories–Our Farm to Yours....................................12 Protecting a Winter Harvest...............................................................13 Comfort Food.....................................................................................14 Spooky Behaviour..............................................................................16 Cowichan Green Community Notes..................................................18 From Keyboard to Cupboard..............................................................20 Living for a Living..............................................................................22 An "Agri"Cultural Exchange...............................................................23 So You Think You're Done...................................................................24 Branching Out....................................................................................25 Young Upstarts..................................................................................26 The Best Medicine.............................................................................27 4-H Farm Frolics.................................................................................28 Welcome to Our Town.......................................................................29


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The Islands Agriculture Show is the only agricultural trade show with conference sessions that is serving the farm and food community on Vancouver Island. This show brings together farmers, rural landowners, farm organizations equipment dealers, service providers and the general public to educate and share the latest in farming technology while providing an extensive venue for participants to learn, connect and engage.


Join us in Port Alberni to discover the latest in farming techniques, new regulations and innovative technology geared to farms and agri-food producers. This year’s show will include an entirely new lineup of conference speakers. There are 12 sessions to choose from. Each session is $15.00 and includes admission to

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

the trade show and the Welcome Reception. The show will feature over 60 trade show exhibits as well as a number of outdoor displays that showcase the latest and greatest in farm technology. Seating is limited for speaker sessions. Sign up early at www. or call Shari Paterson at 250-748-0822 for more information.

The Alberni Valley has farm land and aquaculture operations that are creating many oppurtunities to continue to grow local industry. Join us at the 2017 Island Agriculture Show to discover what’s growing on the Island.

To register for workshops visit

Brent Paterson Principle, Paterson Earth & Water Consulting Ltd. Preserving the Future of Water. Brent has over 35 years of ongoing experience with Rural and Agricultural Development leading programs related to water supply, irrigation, water management, water quality and land reclamation. Brent specializes in water related programs that support water security and food productions.

He was formerly the Executive Director of the Irrigation and Farm Water Division, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. Join us at the Islands Agriculture Show on February 3rd & 4th, 2017. Our conference session registration is online at

1 Preserving the Future of Water Brent Paterson

2 New Regulations under the Water Sustainability Act Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations

3 Social Enterprise Models for Agriculture David LePage, Principal Accelerating Social Impact

4 First Nations Aquaculture Panel Myron Roth, AGRI Industry Specialist, Aqua & Seafood to facilitate

5 Forage trails and climate change adaptation: research from across BC, lessons for Vancouver Island Shabtai Bittman Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Agassiz BC and Catherine S. Tarasoff- Forage Researcher, Vanderhoof BC. Samantha Charlton to facilitate.

6 New Organic Certification Regulations Carmen Wakeling, co-president of COABC and principal at Eatmore Sprouts & Greens Ltd

FEBRUARY 3 - 4, 2017 . PORT ALBERNI, BC . WWW.IASHOW.CA . 250.748.0822


Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017


a natural

twist A

by Christine Pollard s with any creative project, you are only limited by your imagination. A starting framework is helpful, then after that, let your creativity lead you on! I started making wreaths in the more traditional form; a circular vine base with a mixture of plant material like foliage, flowers, berries, pods and cones. From there I branched (no pun intended) into really any item I could stick plant material to. And once you get started there are endless combinations of texture, color, size and shape. For the basic wreath, I use a combination of vines grown here on the farm. Oh and another thought for you, the foraging factor. Everywhere you look, there is material for your wreaths! The vines I use are Honeysuckle, Virginia Creeper, Grape, Ivy and Wisteria. The more pliable vines can be bent into wreath shapes right off the plant. The Ivy can be made into a wreath with the leaves still attached. They have a more waxy, evergreen type of leaf that will stay on the vine and stay green for the winter if hung outside on your door or the side of your entranceway. Only Grape, because of its thicker and woodier stem, needs to be cut and shaped over time. I cut the grape vines at this time of year, when all the leaves have dropped, cutting off any rotten or damaged sections. The longer the vine the better. I have a variety of old buckets, bowls or circular 6

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

Wreath making with natural plant materials containers as forms for training the vines. Old wooden barrel staves are handy for shaping larger wreaths. I wrap the vines inside the container and leave to dry until the next fall, ready for the addition of the decorative plant material. To make the circular shape, I start by holding one end of the vine, making a circle with it with the other hand, ending up at the beginning of the vine again creating the size of wreath I wish. With the next round of the same vine, I then start wrapping the rest of the vine around the first circle, going through the middle of the circle and out again, working my way along till I run out of vine. The second length of vine is wrapped around the initial circle, first securing the end into the wrapped first vine to keep it secure until the second wrapping is finished. Depending on how many vines you have and how thick you want the wreath base, you can add as many vines as you wish, continuing to secure the end of the vine and wrapping the vine around previous vines. Now for the exciting creative bit. You can put on the wreath whatever you like or have at hand. Foliage is usually the base. If the foliage is evergreen, no preparation is necessary. Cut, bunch and attach. If you are using

So that, my friends, is the basic formula for wreath making using natural plant materials. Christine Pollard is proprietor of CrackPot Florals and can be contacted on Facebook by email at for custom ordering.

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deciduous foliage, then of course you will be using the leaves. Deciduous leaves can be the beautiful reds, oranges and yellows of fall. For these you will need to dry them, flat or leave them to curl up. Both are attractive. For drying them flat, I use old phone books or plant trays lined with newspaper and weighted down with phone books. Once your leaves are dry, then I bunch them in three’s or five’s. I wire each leaf as a florist would do and then group the leaves, staggering them for maximum coverage of the vine and then wire them together. At this point you can also wire in pods, flowers, berries or cones making an attractive grouping to attach to your wreath. Continue making these groupings and attach to your wreath, working your way around until the wreath is completely covered. Some folks just attach these bundles in one corner of the wreath and attach ribbon or other decorations on the opposite corner. Again, it is your personal preference.

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Materials and Tools Vines: Ivy, Grape, Virginia Creeper, Wisteria, Honeysuckle Foliage: Evergreen: Fir, Hemlock, Spruce, Pine. Deciduous: Oak, Maple, Cottonwood, Dogwood Dried flowers: Hydrangeas, Sedums, Roses, Larkspur, Sunflowers, Statice, Ageratum Pods, Cones and Seed Heads such as Nigella, Purple Coneflower, Acorns, Teasle, Dock, Globe Thistle Berries: Beauty Berry, Hawthorn, Rowan Berry, Crabapple Tools: Florist wire, Florist tape, Wire cutters, Glue gun, Clippers

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w w w. w e s t v i e w f o r d . c a Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017


a great

divide G

by Nora Arajs, Ceres Edible Landscaping ardens give back to us in many forms, but plants are also generous as they grow and spread. Most perennials benefit from division every two to three years to maintain health and vigour, and in some cases division rejuvenates old specimens. But timing and technique are important. Here are some tips for dividing your perennials: Winter or early spring is a great time of year to divide your perennials while the plant is dormant. First, cut back all the spent foliage, this makes handling the root mass easier. Begin by digging just beyond the plant’s drip line, loosening the soil all around the plant, cleanly severing the roots. For large, heavy plants, you may have to first dig around the root ball, then slice straight down through the centre of the plant, halving or quartering the clump before undercutting and lifting it from the soil.


Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

Gifts from your garden can become gifts from you when you split perennials

Lift plants gently with a garden fork, shaking off excess soil so that roots are clearly visible. Large, fibrous-rooted perennials, such as Hemerocallis (Daylily), require two garden forks inserted into the crown back-to-back. Use these as levers to loosen and break the root mass into two sections. Further division can then take place. In some cases, a sharp knife, axe or lawn edging iron may be needed to cleave the clump in two. Plants with woody crowns (e.g. Helleborus) or fleshy roots (e.g. Delphinium or Hosta) require cutting with a spade or knife. Aim to create clumps containing three to five healthy shoots. If you wait until a perennial is declining, or has succumbed to pest problems because it has become crowded and weak, be sure to replant only the healthiest pieces. Usually these are the outside sections. Watch for discolored stems and eroded crowns and roots. It’s important to replenish the soil around the original perennial with organic matter. If you remove a bucket

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For details, visit: of perennial mass, then replace that much compost back around the original plant, to maintain fertility, drainage, and aid in air circulation around the roots. Plant the newly divided plants immediately in a healthy organic soil mix with a good amount of finished compost. Replant pieces that are, at most, 20 to 25 percent of the original clump. Smaller sections grow more vigorously and tend to produce stronger, longer-lasting blooms. Dividing a Hosta, for example, into pieces with about seven growing points will yield the best results. Perennials multiply exponentially—one stem is likely to triple or quadruple itself each year. So if all you do is halve an overgrown clump this year, it will more than double in a season and need dividing again the next year. If you are unable to plant after dividing, you can hold the divided clumps with the roots wrapped in damp newspaper, storing them in a box or bucket in a cool dark place until you’re ready to plant them back into the garden. After you’ve divided the plants, the extras can be shared with friends as living gifts. Decorate pots and share the abundance from your garden!

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Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017



the neighbourhood

Your "to-do" list for the Saturdays and Sundays to come January 14 Saanich Seedy Saturday

10am to 2pm Haliburton Farm presents its 5th annual Seedy Saturday at Horticulture Centre of the Pacific, 505 Quayle Road, Victoria Quality vendors, seeds, plants, starts, local wineries, seed exchange, children’s table. Nourishment provided by Charlotte & the Quail. Speakers at 11am and 1pm include: Lori Weidenhammer on Victory Gardens for Bees. Admission $5 includes entry to the Gardens at HCP.  Contact:

January 28 Denman Island Seedy Saturday Denman Island Community Hall

February 4 Qualicum Beach Seedy Saturday

10am to 3:30pm Qualicum Beach Civic Centre, 747 Jones St., Qualicum Beach Mark your calendar! The theme this year is Flourish and Nourish with Linda Gilkeson’s “Flourishing Food Gardens all Year Round” and Amy Robson’s “Nourishing your Soil; the World Beneath your Feet.” Seed Swap, local garden related Vendors, Master Gardeners, Seedy Cafe and the “Shoots with Roots” family program. Admission by donation, proceeds going to school and community garden projects. Raffles and Door prizes! Check out our new website for more information. 70+ Vendors, Farmers Market, Seed Swap, Milner Garden’s “Shoots With Roots” children’s program, Master Gardeners, Seedy Cafe, Door Prizes and Raffle. Town of Qualicum Beach collecting garden chemicals.


Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

February 11 Salt Spring Island Seedy Saturday

10am to 3pm Farmer’s Institute, 351 Rainbow Road Salt Spring Island Island Natural Growers presents: Salt Spring Island's 22nd Annual Seedy Saturday Feature Family: Solanaceae

February 18 Victoria’s Annual Seed & Garden Show

10am to 4pm Victoria Conference Centre, 720 Douglas Street. Admission: $7 cash at the door, under 16 free Seedy Saturday Victoria, hosted by the James Bay Market Society, promotes seed diversity and local food security. Entering its 25th year of operation in Victoria, Seedy Saturday hosts more than 70 local businesses with seeds, plants, food products, garden services and not for profit organizations who continue to assist in growing greener communities in the Capital Region. The event offers 15-20 educational speakers with expert advice peaking the interest of many. These talks draw quite large crowds so if you plan to see any of our speakers, plan to come early! This fun family event at the Victoria Conference Centre has something for everyone including a Kids’ activity area, seedy café, a used garden book exchange and exciting door prizes. For more information on Victoria’s annual Seedy Saturday find us at www.jamesbaymarket/SeedySaturday. For Exhibitor and Volunteer enquiries, or comments, please email

March 4th Comox Valley Seedy Saturday

10am to 3pm Comox Valley growers and seed savers host speakers are Connie Kuramoto and Donna Balzer. 40 vendors with locally and organically grown seeds and other garden related products. As always there is the seed exchange where you can bring in seeds to exchange or you can buy them. Vegetarian lunch will be served at the Seedy Cafe and there is a children's playroom.

March 5th Nanaimo Seedy Sunday

10am-3pm Nanaimo District Secondary School, 355 Wakesiah Ave. Nanaimo Seedy Sunday is all about the seeds! The Seed Swap is the core of our Seedy Sunday event. This is Nanaimo’s only event all about gardening and growing plants from seed. Admission is $3. Included in the price of Admission are 6 FREE 1 HOUR Workshops. Highlights: Seed exchange, 65+ Exhibitors of local seeds, seedlings, plants, small fruits and succulents. Displays of garden  & food products, Fertilizers and much more! ALSO FEATURED Master Gardeners, Seedy Café and more. Vendors welcome. Contact info Glenda 250-618-6323 or

March 11 Cobble Hill Seedy Saturday

10am to 3pm Cobble Hill Community Hall, 3550 Watson Ave, Cobble Hill Seeds, seed saving, community seed exchange, vendors of heritage seeds, organic seeds, locally grown plants, displays and info. FREE admission.

March 19 Duncan Seedy Sunday

10am to 2pm Cowichan Tribes Si’em Lelum Gymnasium 5574 River Rd., Duncan Cowichan Green Community hosts the 9th annual Duncan Seedy Sunday. An event for local gardeners to source locally and ecologically grown seeds, garden starts, and perennials, this event will also feature activities for children and a series of gardening workshops. Admission is $2/person. CGC members and children under the age of 13 years enter for free.

March 19 Campbell River Plant & Garden Expo

11am to 2pm Campbell River Community Centre A fun and interactive event for the whole community. Seed swap and sale featured. Attendance is free; refreshments available.

weekends too


Check out these local seed producers online Brother Nature Organic Seeds Providing, preserving, protecting and teaching about sustainable seed, soil & food sources. Catalogue on line only. Eagle Ridge Seeds Rare and endangered vegetables, herbs and flowers are our specialty. We practice organic gardening methods, use raised beds, water saving techniques and companion planting. Our designs attract beneficial insects. Order on line only. Fraser's Thimble Farms Pacific Northwest natives, ferns, hardy orchids, erythroniums, corydalis and other rare plants. Main catalog on-line. Full Circle Seeds A certified organic seed co-operative that carries many heritage vegetable, herb and flower seeds. Catalogue on line. Green Space Design Green Space Design grows a comprehensive selection of organic flower seeds, organic herb seeds, and organic vegetable seeds on Cortes Island. Catalogue on line.

Metchosin Farm Seeds Nature’s Garden Seed Company Quality products inspired by nature that will allow you to give, or enjoy for yourself, the everlasting gift of nature - of flowers, butterflies, hummingbirds and bumblebees, year after year. Ravensong Seeds Medicinal and Culinary herbs seeds organically-grown on Vancouver Island. Seed garlic too. Herb plant starts can be bought direct from the farm. Free catalogue and online. Salt Spring Seeds Organically grown open-pollinated seeds. Specializes in beans. A large and interesting variety of vegetables grains and garlic. Catalog on-line. The Market Garden Over 200 varieties of certified organic seeds.

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017



make memories Our farm to yours


by Lesley Lorenz have to admit I’m feeling a little protective about the environment these days. We are lucky that we share Vancouver Island with some magnificent wild creatures. With bears and eagles, salmon and bees depending on me, I keep in mind how shipping barbies and ipods across the ocean has significant impact on climate change. For that reason, my Christmas preparations are looking a little different this year. I’ve abandoned stuffing stockings with cheap plastic items that fall apart even as you remove them from their display hooks, and instead give the most local items I can find - homemade if possible. Food makes a wonderful gift, whether you assemble the ingredients for a chef to build a soufflé (local eggs, cheese and herbs) or give a taste of your home-made cookies or preserves. I make sugar cookies with crushed candy canes sprinkled


on top, and some wickedly delicious chocolate-covered brandy-soaked cherries. This time of year you can still wander out into your garden and find seed pods holding treasures - beens, peas, and marigold seeds. Gather and dry them, then place in an envelope. Potted paper whites or kitchen herbs are both useful and beautiful gifts. Other super local treasures: A scarf knitted from luxuriously soft alpaca wool. Handmade ornaments fashioned from sea shells, pine cones and feathers. Honey lasts forever - and has many healing properties. Partnered with a locally crafted honey pot, it’s the perfect gift for someone you are sweet on. Don’t forget the one-of-a-kind thrift store item; remember, re-using is at the top of the environmentally friendly heap.

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

Retro aprons have baking experience and are great paired with a couple of unusual cookie cutters - or my favourite - a kitchen utensil that you really aren’t sure what it’s for - except as a great conversation starter! Of course, what everyone really wants deep down is more time with loved ones. Create a hand-made card with a promise to visit any one of the free activities communities across the island have to offer, like Ladysmith’s Festival of Lights, skating in Nanaimo or carols in Victoria. Wish you had my recipe for chocolate cherries? The key is to soak real cherries (not maraschinos ) for 24 hours in brandy. When you melt your dark semi-sweet chocolate, add a dash of cayenne and salt to taste before dipping. Yummy! Warn your friends your treats still have the stone inside :)

protecting a winter harvest


the continuity of a farming business. Taking the time to have an insurance broker visit your farm and ask the right questions to learn about your business so they can have a clear understanding of your farming operations, means that you can customize a farm insurance package that will ensure your farm has the protection it needs.

According to a report from the Ministry of Agriculture, in 2015 20,000 farms utilized less than 3% of the provincial land base to produce more than 200 agricultural products. BC had an impressive 23% increase from 2014 to 2015 of agrifood products being exported. This means that BC farmers are busy.

At Waypoint Insurance, we appreciate the impact farmers have in all of the communities where we operate. Whether it’s a Farmers’ Market, a U-Pick berry farm or a Craft Beer Brewery, we understand that this is also your livelihood. Insuring your success is our success. We aren’t content to simply understand your operation and customize an insurance package for you; we want to be your trusted advisors. Meet with one of our insurance experts today and let us show you the Waypoint difference.

by Barb de Ruiter

elcoming Winter in BC also means harvest season has arrived on the farm, and the work has only just begun, along with the risk of loss to the harvest product.

There are several harvest loss issues to consider in order to protect this ‘home grown’ investment and livelihood. On the farm, pre-harvest conditions and production practices can adversely affect a post-harvest market return. Damage could present in the form of too much or too little rain. Our global weather changes impact this industry directly and farmers now must adjust accordingly to avoid a complete catastrophic harvest loss. Postharvest losses can occur easily and will also yield similar adverse outcomes. From low storage humidity to careless handling causing internal bruising, splitting and skin breaks. Care must be taken to store

the product in appropriate environments that discourage the growth or any diseases, fungi or bacterial. Air flow and supply plays a particularly important role in combatting these types of losses. Fruits and vegetables are very susceptible to damage during the marketing chain. Inappropriate cutting, storage containers, over packing and transit conditions can all affect the product and the condition in which it arrives at its retail destination. Following proper pre and post-harvest practices will greatly reduce the risk of loss to the farmer. And where the risk of loss is assessed to be transferrable, insurance coverage may be the most appropriate vehicle with which to protect

Barb de Ruiter is a Commercial Insurance specialist located in the Nanaimo office of Waypoint Insurance. She has been assisting clients since 1998, and has extensive experience in all lines of property and casualty insurance, working with all sizes and types of business.

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Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

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Whether it be a holiday feast or a simple warm meal, winter is a time for kitchen arts



Tomato Chowder Recipe provided by Somenos Women’s Institute 6 Servings

Ingredients: 2 cups raw potato, diced 1 cup celery, chopped 3 cups tomato, peeled and diced 3/4 cup onion, chopped 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper 1/2 tsp dried oregano 2 1/2 cup boiling water 3 Tbsp butter 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper 1/4 cup flour 1/2 tsp dry mustard 2 cups milk 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce 1 1/2 cups old Cheddar cheese, grated 1 tsp parsley 1/4 tsp dill 1/4 lb bacon, diced and cooked (optional)


Combine the first 8 ingredients and bring to boil. Â Simmer for 20 minutes Melt butter and add salt, pepper, flour and mustard 2. Stir in milk and Worcestershire sauce to make a white sauce 3. Stir in cheese until melted and add parsley and dill 4. Add sauce to tomato mixture and stir in bacon if desired. 5. Bring to boil to heat and serve.


Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Onions with Rosemary and Parmesan Simple Stove-Top Stuffing by Larissa Bouvier A quick and easy homemade stuffing that is great with poultry, fish, or vegetables. Serve with Roast Chicken for a traditional dinner.


1 cup chopped onion 1 cup chopped celery, with leaves 1/3 cup hard margarine or butter 1 tbsp parsley flakes 1 ½ tsp poultry seasoning ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp pepper 1 tsp chicken bouillon powder Stale white bread slices, cubed (about 4 cups, 1 L)

Ingredients: 2 ¾ pounds tan-skinned sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes 8 tablespoons canola oil 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 ½ teaspoons salt 1 ½ teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper 1 ½ pounds red onions (about 3 medium), halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into ¼ inch-thick slices ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary



Sauté onion and celery in margarine in frying pan on medium for about 5 minutes until onion is soft. Mix next 5 ingredients in small bowl. Add to onion mixture. Heat and stir for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add bread cubes. Stir for about 2 minutes until bread has absorbed liquid. Put Stuffing into greased 2 quart ( 2 L) casserole. Cover and Bake in 325˚F (160˚C) oven for 30 minutes. Pairs with Chicken or Turkey in the oven. Makes 4 cups (1L). ½ cup (125mL): 143 Calories; 9 g Total Fat; 456 mg Sodium; 2 g Protein; 14 g Carbohydrate; 1 g Dietary Fiber

“From the sale of your residence to the purchase of a new home, Nancy works with you every step of the way. With over 20 years experience she is dedicated to making your dreams come true!”

by Larissa Bouvier An inspired mix of ingredients in a savoury potato dish. This can be prepared four hours ahead and rewarmed in the oven 10 minutes before serving. Yield: Makes 6 servings

Set one rack in the centre and one rack at the lowest position in oven and preheat until 375˚F. Line two large baking sheets with foil. Place sweet potatoes on one sheet; drizzle with six tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with garlic, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and one teaspoon pepper. Toss onions in a large bowl, then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet; drizzle with the remaining one teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Place the sheet with potatoes in the centre, and the onions on the lower rack in oven. Roast until everything is tender and brown around the edges, stirring every 10 minutes or so for about 30 minutes or to your liking. Combine sweet potatoes and onions in shallow bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and rosemary and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper; serve, and enjoy!

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Address nervousness in horses first by understanding it by Eric Morten Horses have survived as prey animals by their ability to sense and flee from danger. For a horse to react with flight is normal, but, for the rider, it can be frightening and even dangerous. Because they are so perceptive, even a small changes in the environment can cause nervousness in a horse. Even the moving of some equipment in the barn can be cause for alarm--that's a natural reaction. And as a one-off, no big deal for an experienced rider. Some horses are naturally nervous. There are many reasons why. These include genetics, or the behaviours they learn from a nervous dam. But if a horse becomes increasingly spooky, it's an issue that must be addressed. There are several reasons why a horse spooks. Here is a list of causes to check out.

Health It goes without saying that horse health is top priority for the rider. But there can be hidden issues that could be expressed by spooking. It can be caused by tooth or chiropractic pain as well as by vision problems. A radical change in a horse's behaviour is a good reason for a health checkup. 16

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

Tack A poorly fitting saddle or too tight cinch will cause the horse discomfort. As prey animals for the last few thousand years, horses' natural reaction to this kind of feeling is to flee. It's the same feeling as being grabbed by a predator. Depending on the nature of the spook, it's important to react accordingly during the spook itself and modifying the behaviour in general.

When a horse spooks Stay calm. It can't be stressed enough. An angry reaction and tensing up makes the horse believe that the danger it feels is real-it can feel like you, the rider, are the predator it fears, not unlike a cougar jumping on its back. Reacting with fear can reaffirm that danger is real as well. The horse could believe that you are also scared of whatever it is that's spooking the horse. The best reaction a rider can have is to stay cool--take a moment to assess the situation. After all, it's also possible that the horse is spooked for a reason. Horses are more sensitive to changes in the environment than humans are--they might also see something

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Doug Routley, MLA you don't see. Although the reaction may be alarming to a rider, it's important to show leadership to the horse and it also gives you a moment to figure out what's going on. Because it's up to the rider to be the leader. You are in control, not only of your horse but also the situation. This is you also showing your horse, by example, a calming attitude. It's important not to tense up or pull on the reins. If the situation is dangerous, you should use the one rein stop and, if necessary to get control, dismount. Don't try to make the horse approach the thing that caused it to spook in the first place, even if it seems like nothing to a human's sensibilities. The best example in human terms is: if you are afraid of harmless spiders, someone holding one up to your face will not make you less afraid. You can, however, address the cause of the spook in an easy manner. The horse may not want to look directly at it but if you display the calming attitude without riding right up to it, instead stopping and regaining composure, you will show by example the horse that it has nothing to fear. The

Nanaimo~North Cowichan 

main thing is for you to stay calm. You must be the leader.

Unit 112 50 Tenth Street  Nanaimo, BC  V9R 6L1  T 250.716.5221 | F 250.716.5222

How to deal with ongoing spookiness If a horse is spooking regularly, conditioning is in order. Start by introducing the horse to causes for spooking in a contolled environment such as a riding ring. Use a tarp on the ground, or have a helper shake a plastic bag. Start from a distance and allow the horse to relax, taking cues from you, before approaching. Conditioning takes time and it is best to have a helper or even better an experienced coach. Spooking is definitely a frustrating experience when it happens. And, depending on the skill of the rider, it can also be a dangerous one. There can be many causes but the solution is in the hands of the rider. Keep a level head, stay as relaxed as possible and, most importantly, show leadership. If your horse senses that you are a confident leader, it will feel your confidence and be willing to follow. Eric Morten first started falling from horses at an early age.

st Avenue  Box 269 | 524 1 #1-16 High Street Ladysmith, BC  V9G 1A2  T 250.245.9375 | F 250.245.8164

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Gifts For Everyone On Your List


4485 Trans Canada Hwy Open 10-5 Daily 250.746.8122 Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017


cowichan green

community notes social enterprises everywhere!


by Judy Stafford, Publisher

hat started out fairly understated as an option for organizations (specifically nonprofits) to run commercial operations to generate profit alongside a social conscience, has exploded into something that’s talked about at dinner tables everywhere. Building their independent social economies is being seen a viable alternative to the grant to grant hamster wheel that many, if not most, non-profits run daily. In December 2009, CGC was fortunate enough to receive funding from Enterprising Non Profits, an agency in Vancouver that was poised to help startups and push the SE envelope. This money was used for board development and readiness for our first social enterprise, Ceres Edible Landscaping. Now in its 6th, Ceres is well on its way to being a self-sustaining and profitable 18

business arm of CGC, whose profits will go directly back into supporting CGC’s core operations and programming.

Judy will be presenting at the Islands Agriculture Show on agriculture-focused Social Enterprises. Be sure to attend. Ceres was the start of what is now CGC’s multi-pronged social enterprise family. The Garden Pantry Store, The Station (CGC’s commercial/residential building), and the Island Farm and Garden Magazine are all enterprises whose main function is to provide profits with a social conscience, to further CGC’s mission – cultivating food, community and resilience. CGC’s newest SE venture is the Cowichan Incubator Seed Farm. This training farm is in its first year of operation and will need much more attention and

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

support until it can make its own way in the profitability world. This project has received great support from various funders including the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, the Real Estate Foundation, the Bauta Family initiative for Food Security, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, and the Coastal Communities Credit Union. And at the November 24th Social Enterprise Catalyst Gala, the farm won an award of $8,000 as well as thousands of dollars of in-kind support from companies such as the Better Mousetrap Marketing and Harbour Air. CGC would like to congratulate the other big SE Catalyst winners, The Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association and the James Bay Community Project/Thrift Store. Have a look here at the Gala event – CGC’s presentation is at the 2 hour mark.

cowichan grown buy local! buy fresh!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT IN 2016! by Heather Kaye 2017 will mark the release of the 8th edition of the Buy Local! Buy Fresh! Cowichan Farm Map (BLBF). Spanning Shawnigan Lake to south of Nanaimo, this annual guide has been helping Cowichan residents and visitors to the region search out Cowichan-grown food, drink, and value-added products since its inception. Blessed with Canada’s only Maritime-Mediterranean climatic zone, the Cowichan is continually making a name for itself as a region capable of producing a wonderfully diverse range of high-quality farm-fresh produce, artisanal foods, and beverages. The BLBF map showcases this bounty and the talented and hard-working producers behind it – in 2016, 56 unique farms and businesses were featured all with something distinctive, fresh, and delicious to offer consumers. From seasonal fruits and veggies, wines, baked goods, honey, tea, seafood, nuts, berries, and meats to more unusual products like steelhead trout, hemp, limes, and balsamic vinegar, local ingredients and products can be easily found by browsing listings on the paper map or using the online search component at cowichangreencommunity. org/foodmap. Searches can be made by farm name, product, production method, or location. Copies of the 2016 print map are still available at Cowichan Green Community’s office at 360 Duncan Street in Duncan or phone 250-748-8506 for other pick-up locations near you. Heather Kaye, with Cowichan Green Community, coordinates the Buy Local! Buy Fresh! Cowichan Farm map and the new online farmers’ market,

CALLING ALL COWICHAN PRODUCERS! If you are a Cowichan-based food, farm, or drink producer or processor, and are interested in registering for the 2017 map, please visit buy-local-buy-fresh/farm-registration to sign up today or call Heather at 250-748-8506.

t s e b e All tsheason! this



Outfitted to suit a variety of cooking needs, CGC has an Island Health certified commercial kitchen available to rent seven days a week from 8am-10pm. It is equipped with a 6 burner gas stove and oven, a convection oven, walk-in cooler and freezer, tables and seating for workshop facilitation, and a complement of basic cooking utensils and equipment. There is also a second area perfect for simple food preparation. For guidelines, information & rental rates visit Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017


from keyboard to

cupboard Online CSA connects consumers with local producers


arm to plate…with a click! This is the slogan of the Cowichan Region’s first-ever online farmers’ market,, which aims to improve consumer accessibility to local farm-fresh foods and processed products while directly supporting small-scale agriculture and preserving precious agricultural land. Launched in August of 2015, the online marketplace is the first initiative of the Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace (CVCM), a fledgling food producers and processors co-operative for the region.

How Does it Work? The Cow-op market is open weekly between Friday and Tuesday for orders which can be placed online or via a convenient mobile app – farmers and processors list their inventory for the week Friday mornings. Wednesday, the online shop temporarily closes allowing farmers to prepare their harvests with a Thursday morning delivery. All produce and products get dropped to Cowichan Green Community’s (CGC) commercial kitchen and cooler for sorting and bagging into individual orders which are picked up later that afternoon by the customer. The CVCM was formed in 2014 following a feasibility funded by the British Columbia Co-operative Association to determine if there was an appetite for a co-operative food hub model in the Valley. CGC had also done research on various online models and food hubs which led to the development of the online marketplace. “It was recognized that Cowichan farmers’ needed to work together to address their challenges, like land, water and labour access, for example, and create opportunities for economic development including increased consumer education 20

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

around local foods, marketing, and distribution,” explains Cowop Market Manager Heather Kaye. “A co-operative online market was the quickest way we could see creating an economic return under which all these other elements could be addressed.”

The Food System Revisioned Industrialized agriculture’s current distribution model tends to rack up millions of earth-damaging food miles not to mention creating mountains of food waste—at every step in the chain, as fresh produce travels from farm to warehouse to processor to local distribution center before reaching the supermarket. “Direct to farmer ordering minimizes waste as the farmers only harvest what gets ordered,” explains Kaye, adding, “centralizing aggregation and distribution also cuts down on the miles consumers need to travel in order to support their local farms.” Centralized local food aggregation and distribution is not a new concept. Food hubs are springing up across North America at a fast pace. Each region has its own model defined by its local suppliers, regional size, climate, and consumer base. The is the first model of its kind to be piloted on Vancouver Island. By keeping things local, regional food hubs like this one eliminate steps between a farmer’s field and consumer’s fridge. Small farms with relatively low volumes of produce find it challenging to win contracts from major retailers, and sometimes challenging to build a base of individual consumers on their own with little time or money to devote to marketing. Another goal of the co-operative is to continue organizing its growers to build a supply chain from the ground up. “We want to ensure that small-scale farms and market gardens continue to have a reason to exist,” explains Kaye. “They are the backbone

of a community’s ability to self-sustain and without growers, we truly then begin to diminish our food security.” The online model allows for sales tracking and production planning which, as the co-operative grows, will provide valuable information to the growers for planning their crops year to year. The co-operative’s producers are also encouraged to preserve their harvests so that they can continue to offer products yearround including frozen berries, preserves and dried goods. Other farmers are recognizing that there is a niche in local storage crops and winter greens and are stepping up to the plate to deliver. “Blessed with Canada’s only Maritime Mediterranean climatic zone, the Cowichan has a distinct advantage, as does the island generally, to extend our growing season,” says Kaye. “Some of our growers are ramping up their year round production by heating greenhouses, or growing hardy greens. Others are planning for more storage crops like onions, garlic, and carrots to ensure supply of seasonal produce through winter’s darkest months.”

Buy Local! Buy Fresh! Consumer education is also a central focus of the co-operative. In a world where consumers favour convenience, low cost, and uniformity above all else, it can be challenging to change behaviour and convince shoppers to eat more in rhythm with the region in which they live. The Cow-op offers a convenience factor with its’ online ordering system and mobile app designed to make it easy to pick and choose locally grown or processed foods from a variety of producers with a one-stop weekly pick up. “For those consumers who wish to support local farms but can’t always make it to the markets, or don’t have the time or desire to search out various farm-gates, the online market is a one-stop portal to a variety of Cowichan farmers and processors,” explains Kaye. “Customers also appreciate the flexibility of a no-commitment system where they can order on an as-needed basis.” The online market has been up and running for just over a year now. The co-operative consists of 45 members, approximately 15 who sell year-round and another 10 sellers who sell on a more seasonal basis. The website has close to 400 registered customers and a core base of 30-40 customers who place regular orders. Plans are underway to establish a Victoria drop-off location and offer bicycle delivery to customers who either live or work within the City of Duncan boundaries for 2017. Buying local has never been so easy! To learn more about the CVCM and its online farmers’ market initiative, visit

Cowichan Green Community Cultivating food, community, and resilience

han c i w Co Map m r Fa



Your year-round guide to locally produced food and drink in the Cowichan Region.

Over 50 farms, vineyards and Cowichan food processors listed!



Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017


living for a


It's not always easy, but oh, the rewards.

M by Chris Rozema

ost of my life, I have wanted to live as sustainably as possible. Some times and places in my life have made that easier than others. Right now, here in Campbell River, it is easier than it has ever been.

We live on 2 acres of fairly fertile land. We both have full time jobs. We are more confident that local, in season, and moreoften-than-not home grown, fulfills in us some greater need and we can create the spaces needed to achieve it. Living this way has taught us to compromise. I have mostly given up on food that has travelled more than I have, but what about bananas and coffee? What about black pepper or, gulp, chocolate? Ignoring strawberries from Chile was tough but doable. I simply freeze local or my own strawberries every summer and enjoy them throughout the winter. Never as a child would I have seen non-frozen strawberries in January but for generations after us this is common and does not inspire much soul-searching. Fruit plates for work functions cause me endless thought–looking at the berries, melons and citrus that all travelled from far away places. Not wanting to seem like the office fanatic (and after realizing the comments I was making about bottled water started to drive people away), I simply ignore the bottled water and grab a mug from the tap. We eat what some might think of as a restricted diet. If we 22

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

haven’t grown it, bought it local, bartered from local, or preserved it, it is rare on our plate. We don’t grow our own beef or pork, but my friend down the road does and she loves honey. Our bartering fulfills a couple of desires – eating local and knowing our farmers as friends. We are lucky that a small local grocery store brings in a lot of local or regional products. So we do get a good balanced diet – but it takes some forethought and planning. This weekend for example, I spent my time making a cheddar cheese, a corned beef, a pickled beef tongue for sandwich meat, sourdough bread for the week, biscuits and a pumpkin prawn bisque. Yes, I have spent most of the weekend doing this. Yes, I could be doing a lot of other things, but I choose to spend my time doing this. When the kids were young, I did less but still managed to cook most meals from scratch. Because I was so busy, Gerry tended chickens and bees and continued with the winterization of the yard. Our lifestyle is a team effort. But we know it is a choice we make intentionally every week. Our compromises remain bananas, coffee, chocolate and some spices. It really is simply about being thoughtful and knowing where you can make some changes. No matter how small, these changes make a difference in the world. Voting with your wallet really is the final act of resistance we have.

an "agri"cultural exchange


ierra Robinson is a 14 year-old Permaculture Teacher, Activist, homeschooler and a passionate farmer from the beautiful Cowichan Valley. She is the oldest of 6 kids living with her family on their 5 acre permaculture farm Many Hands Farm. We first met Sierra at the Cowichan Exhibition and asked her to share her agricultural experience so far. Describe your farm, what do you grow and raise? Many Hands Farm is very educational based, so we try and teach or learn from everything we do. We have weekly farm classes for children and family to give people in our community the option to learn about farming using permaculture techniques and ideas. We also raise quite a few farm animals and have a 2 acre garden to sustain our family, we try to be as self-sufficient as possible.

what the day will bring! It can sometimes be a challenge to prioritize what needs to be done first and to stay organized to help run the farm more smoothly. What has been your best success so far? I think for me personally learning so much about permaculture and regenerative agriculture from a young age has been my best success. I am so grateful for all I have learned and continue to learn.

vital as farming and food security. It gives me hope for the future of farmers and environmentalists. What is your best advice for other farmers on Vancouver Island? I really recommend looking at applying permaculture principles to your farming decisions to help with our changing climate.

What do you think is special about your work/property? The fact that our farm is an education spot and giving the community the space and a chance to learn about something so

Permaculture Principles: Observe and interact. Catch and store energy. Obtain a yield. Accept feedback. Use and value renewable resources. Produce no waste. Design from pattern to detail. Integrate rather than segregate. Use small and slow solutions. Use and value diversity. Use edges and value the marginal. Creatively use and respond to change.

How long have you been doing it, how long did it take to get started? My family bought our property in 2009, we built a cob home on it that first year. We then began to focus on the rest of the farm from animal systems to food production which we continue to do now. How did you get into it? I have always wanted to protect and be one of many voices for this beautiful planet we live on, I always have wanted to help in anyway possible after hearing about some of the crises that the world and its inhabitants were and still are facing. I found many of the solutions in permaculture and green farming practices and I have been determined to share this with others and help show them that there is things that we can do to make a change for the better. What challenges have you faced? Farming is easy peasey you never face any problems! Hahaha just kidding! There are always the ups and downs of everything especially being a farmer you never know

Fresh ideas for your garden Consultation â?€ Permaculture Design Installation â?€ Organic Maintenance

Call us today! 250.748.8506 a social enterprise initiative of Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017


so you think you're


Getting the garden ready for winter means battening down the hatches


By Mark Cullen hose of us who love the outdoors and enjoy puttering around the yard are always looking for an excuse to do something in the fresh air. This column is not for you. This is for those who thought that they were done with the lawn and garden. To you, a question: Have you taken care of the following? If not, it is in your best interest to do so.

Have you: Wrapped cedars with two layers of burlap. Cedars nearest a road (and on the east side of it, especially where they are susceptible to westerly winds full of salt spray) are most vulnerable to winter burn. Wrap them with a layer of burlap to prevent the permanent damage of salt and wrap them again to protect them from the drying effects of the wind, especially if they are exposed to the north or west. Protect fruit trees. If we get an average dump of snow this winter, bunnies and mice can do a lot of damage to fruit trees that are less than 6 years old by nibbling away the bark with their rather sharp teeth. With little to fill their tummies in winter, they resort to this sort of thing. “Bark is better than nothing.” they must be thinking. Wrap the trunk of each tree with a plastic


Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

spiral that extends about a metre up the trunk. After about 6 years or so, the trunk of most trees has become too tough even for rodents to enjoy. Be sure to wrap crabapples and flowering cherries as rodents don’t know fruiting from non-fruiting trees that flower. Compost. All of your leaves are down and you no doubt have raked them off your lawn and on to your garden. Good. If you have a compost pile or bin, now is an excellent time to empty the contents onto your garden. Spread it with a rake and let it sit there over the winter. Come early spring, earthworms will pull the raw compost under the surface of the soil and convert it into nitrogen-rich castings (poop). If you have not built or purchased a compost, now is a good time to do it as there is no shortage of yard ‘waste’ (actually a ‘resource’), grass clippings and fallen leaves to fill it. While we are on the subject, I recommend that you give your power lawnmower some attention. Gas goes bad over winter: remove it. Remove the spark plug connection, scrape out excess grass from the cutting deck and spray the deck with oil. Wipe it down and give it a hug. You won’t be seeing it until early next May.

branching out


By Amy Melmock

s the new Manager for Economic Development Cowichan, I’m pleased to have this opportunity to introduce myself to the readers of Island Farm and Garden. Economic Development Cowichan and the Cowichan Valley Regional District have had a long history of being involved in agricultural initiatives and I look forward to continuing this tradition!

Be sure to turn off the outdoor water faucets at the source (likely in the basement) to avoid freezing. Clean out your eavestroughs. Most of us don’t do this until rainwater falls on our head as we leave through the front door. Best to do this now while the leaves are down and the leaves in your eaves are not frozen. Rhododendrons and other wind-sensitive evergreens like taxus (yews) and boxwood, are best protected with one application of Wilt-Pruf. It prevents the drying effects of wind and extraordinarily low humidity during a Canadian winter. Save what is left in the bottle to apply to your fresh cut Christmas tree. It works better than ANY preservative. Done? Now relax. You have effectively battened down the gardening hatches for another season.

Mark Cullen is an expert gardener, member of the Order of Canada, author and broadcaster. Get his free monthly newsletter at Look for his new best seller, ‘The New Canadian Garden’ published by Dundurn Press. Follow him on Twitter @MarkCullen4 and Facebook.

Since my return to the Cowichan Valley this past August, I’ve had the opportunity to look at the many studies that have been produced during the past five years about regional agriculture. While reading these studies, I’ve reflected on my own experiences working with agricultural producers as a Development Specialist for the Nova Scotia provincial extension agency AgraPoint between 2007 and 2011. The opportunities that exist in Cowichan for supporting existing and emerging farmers through meaningful extension programs, enlightened public policy and planning initiatives and through new investment in the sector are many. I recognize that Cowichan farmers and agricultural organizations have demonstrated their commitment to moving forward on these opportunities by coming to the table time and time again to share their wisdom and their insights. I also know from speaking to producers and to organizations like Cowichan Green Community that local producers share a desire to create local solutions to local challenges. This is the first of a series of columns I’ll be writing for Island Farm and Garden. In 2017, I look forwad to sharing articles on how we’re working in partnership to help raise the profile of the agricultural sector in our region, to respond to the need for local food and to help local farmers to succeed. I wish you all the best of the holiday season!

Cowichan Agricultural Society Soil Fertility Workshop Providing farmers with information about best practices for managing soils under high rainfall conditions. The workshop will combine presentations about strategies for different types of agriculture, and visit a number of farms to look at specific issues, depending on soil types. Lunch provided by the Somenos Women’s Institute. FEATURED SPEAKERS: DeLisa Lewis, Research Associate at UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Bob Maxwell, retired BC Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks soils scientist, and Wayne Haddow, former Regional Agrologist for the Cowichan Valley.


To register, contact Larissa at Cowichan Green Community, 360 Duncan Avenue, Duncan, BC: 250-748-8506 or

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017


Connecting a new generation of farmers




By Darcy Smith & Moss Dance inter is a good time to reflect on the seeds planted over the last five years by our Grow-A-Farmer movement. While the root vegetables sleep in the cellars and the farm cat snoozes by the woodstove, our Young Agrarians network sprouts into action! In fact, the cold season is a crucial time for Young Agrarians—we take advantage of the lull in farm activity to bring our new and young farmer community together for celebrations and knowledge sharing. Since our first Farmer Mixer in Kelowna in 2012, Young Agrarians has been busy establishing deep roots. Today, YA offers a sunny season event series across BC and Alberta, and Winter Mixers on Vancouver Island, and in the Okanagan. We also have a rich online and offline community of resources and supports, such as our online U-MAP, a business mentorship program, and facilitated land matchmaking pilot in the Fraser Valley. Our program is designed to to grow new 26

and young farmers and support them on their journey to establishing viable farm operations. A typical scene at a Farmer Mixer: twelve young and new farmers sitting around a table with steaming bowls of delicious soup, talking about chicken tractor designs. Farming can be a lonely

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

business, and bringing farmers together into the same room to share their hardearned wisdom is revolutionary. “In the beginning, as a brand new farmer, I didn’t have a network of people to reach out to,” says Comox Valley farmer Robin Sturley. “Young Agrarians helped me discover the wider community of small-scale farmers on Vancouver Island. Through YA's farm

the best medicine


by Dr Brenda Bernhardt

tours, workshops and mixers, I was able to connect to moral support—whew, I wasn’t alone!” At Farmer Mixers, we meet to find our farming co-conspirators, share skills, break bread, and trade stories and encouragement. At our first mixer four years ago, we watched as farmers who lived just down the road from each other met for the first time— and saw the beginnings of a powerful new community. Each year at our mixers, we invite skilled farmers and experts to teach about business planning, production methodologies, indigenous food systems, tools, and so much more. The community built at these events is only the beginning of a farmer’s journey. Farmer Mixers are a gateway for the “farmcurious”—those young people who think they might want to farm, but don’t know where to start. When we meet with these fresh-faced farmers-to-be, we can’t help but think of all the challenges facing new and young farmers today: the high cost of land, the unyielding demands of farming, the isolation, and the struggle to make a financially viable business from the ground up. Each Young Agrarians program has grown out of a need, whether that be need for community, resources, or services. Our business mentorship program has helped young farmers thrive by coaching them through those first challenging years of production, and building systems that will keep them thriving for years to come. Land prices in Southern BC are among the highest in Canada, and we hear again and again that finding land is the biggest challenge for new farmers. Our new land matching program currently piloting in the Fraser Valley builds on our BC Land Access Guide and land linking workshops to provide hands on support so that farmers who are passionate about growing food can find tenured land agreements and a stable place to start their business. Reflecting on the community that has flocked to the new farmer movement, we are inspired on a daily basis by the farmers and food lovers who are reaching out to us to tell their stories, ask for help, and share their expertise. We hope you’ll be one of them! Next Vancouver Island Winter Farmer Mixer is January 28-29, 2017, at Shawnigan Lake. Find out more at:

n veterinary college I had an outstanding pharmacology professor. He was internationally published, well spoken, humorous and had received many awards and honors. He used to say that the sign of a good doctor is how many patients you can get off medications, not how many you can put them on. I remembered laughing and at the same time being surprised hearing that from a man who had dedicated his life to studying drugs and was considered to be one of the top veterinary clinical pharmacologists in the world! He reminded my class regularly that every single drug has side effects and that the body has to deal with them and “it’s not always pretty”. He told us that every drug can and will, at some point, cause harm. I wanted to be a good doctor and I certainly didn’t want to cause harm in the process. The basis of the Hippocratic Oath, “First Do No Harm,” had always appealed to my ethics and ideals for living and for practicing veterinary medicine. Hippocrates was a Greek physician, who lived about 400 B.C. and was considered “one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine” and the Father of Modern Medicine. He understood that the body has an amazing ability to heal and that the physician’s job is to support that process. This is the essence of Holistic Medicine and recognizes that the parts of the body are intimately interconnected, as well as to its environment. A sick liver, for example, is viewed as being a part of the whole patient; affected by diet, lifestyle, emotions, and all the rest of the body parts. Healing then becomes a patient/client/vet team approach that addresses all aspects of an animal’s life and uses a variety of health care practices to support and facilitate the patient’s innate ability to heal. Treatment involves working towards correcting the cause of the condition, not just alleviating the symptoms. Allergies are a good example - instead of simply prescribing drugs such as antihistamines or steroids to relieve or bandage the patient’s symptoms, a plan is formulated to work with the healing intelligence of the body by removing toxins, strengthening the body’s immune system, and limiting further immune stress through diet and other considerations. A healthy immune system doesn’t attack its self and healthy pets don’t do drugs. “First Do No Harm” - doesn’t that just make sense? Dr Brenda Bernhardt is the owner of Cowichan Veterinary Holistic Services serving the Cowichan Valley since 2000. Dr Brenda provides housecall appointments and telephone consults to support your pet's wellness. Check out her website at www. and see her new line of organic remedies and wellness products for radically healthy pets.

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017



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Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

You'll see a lot of friendly faces in Port Alberni at the Islands Agriculture Show


By Pamela Walker ne day, while watching the cows come into the milk parlor at the farm where I was staying, I asked the farmer some pretty naïve questions: “Are the stragglers always the stragglers and are the first ones always first?” I had recently moved to a beautiful 200acre dairy farm in the Alberni Valley from the city of Vancouver and didn’t know much about much. I knew that chocolate milk didn’t really come from brown cows, but after that, I was a bit foggy about the process. For instance, who knew that dairy farmers have this whole, intricate program of getting cows pregnant (through artificial insemination), delivering the offspring, and feeding the calf until it’s old enough to eat hay, and then—and only then—taking the milk for us humans! During the years I lived on that farm, I came to love the life and the Alberni Valley. It has great things going for it: reasonably priced, fertile land; lots of rain in the winter and lots of heat units in the

welcome to our


summer. It also has a thriving agricultural and aquacultural sector as well as a supportive, local government willing to help with everything from farmland leasing to marketing. The Valley also has two agricultural support workers who are helping implement an Agricultural Plan that is in place for the Valley. You can come and see all this for yourself if you mark it on the calendar to attend the next Islands Agricultural Show happening February 3-4. Just turn west on the Island Highway at Qualicum. The 25-minute drive from there is one of the most picturesque on the island. Driving “over the hill and through the woods” you will see Mount Arrowsmith, Cathedral Grove, and stunning waterfalls before you look down on the picture-postcard view of the Alberni Valley. Chock-a-block with interesting exhibitors at the trade show and inspiring speakers at the workshops, the Glenwood Centre is proud to be promoting the Valley’s new and innovative agricultural practices.

components that have never been displayed at the Islands Agricultural Show before such as First Nations wildcraft harvesting, big leaf maple tapping, and aquatic farming ideas. Also brand new is a full-day Farm Startup Workshop and an evening social facilitated by the Young Agrarians organized for the day prior to the show. I lived in the Alberni Valley for over fifteen years until I bought my own farm and while I know a lot more about the field than I used to (no pun intended), there is always so much more to learn. That’s why I’ll be at the show. I hope you’ll be there, too. Oh, and, it turned out my questions about cows weren’t so naïve after all. Yes, the stragglers were always the stragglers and the first ones in the milking parlor were always the same cows. “Just like people, really,” said Farmer Lothar Haack. “The ones that are late are usually late.” The moral of the story is, don’t be a late cow. Sign up for the Islands Agricultural Show today!

The show offers unique West Coast Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017


The Alberni Valley Vancouver Island’s Most Affordable Agricultural Land

Planner Alex Dyer 250.720.2708


Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

The Alberni Valley invites you to attend the Islands Agriculture Show Where: Port Alberni – Glenwood Centre & Alberni Fall Fair Grounds When: February 3-4, 2017 More Info: Port Alberni is proud to host the 6th annual Islands Agriculture Show and showcase the Alberni Valley and neighbouring coastal communities. The show will have some unique westcoast features which include a marine production component, Big Leaf Maple syrup and First Nations initiatives. Come and attend the tradeshow or participate more fully by attending some of the diverse and inspiring workshops.  This year we will add two extra farming related events prior to the show. On Thursday, Feb 2nd the Ministry of Agriculture is sponsoring a new farm startup workshop (limited space) during the day which will lead into a "Farmer Mixer" on Thursday evening which will be an all ages networking opportunity facilitated by the Young Agrarians. Check for more details closer to the event.

Photo Courtesy of Arrowvale Farm

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017



Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2016 / 2017

Island Farm and Garden December 2016  
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