Local Dirt Magazine / Issue 1 / 2022

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New! Community Food Hub

t r i D Meet local Get the

farms and ranches Cariboo Farmers' markets



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Ranching program Long Table Grocery Dome green houses crooked lake resort horsefly, bc FARMED Opportunities 2022 and beyond

Growing Community Through Food Gr o ce r y , Ca f e + Ch a r cu t e r ie 141 Marsh Drive in quesnel Open tuesday to saturday


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Find out how we can help your business grow!



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Welcome to the first annual issue of Local Dirt magazine! Whether you’re a long-time local, new to the region, or just travelling through, supporting local producers and businesses, and focusing on self-sufficiency and local networks has never been more important. Nearly every community in BC is currently working through the effects of transition and change due to wildfires, flooding, and COVID related issues. This has exposed the weaknesses in local networks, as well as their strengths. Resilience is the ability to persist in the face of challenges, to adapt to changing circumstances, and to expand from old foundations with seeds of potential for new pathways of transformation. We usually can’t solve the large and complicated problems in the world, but we can

Passionate ABOUT Growing local farms, communities, AND food.

www.localdirtmagazine.ca 250.392.0018 | info@localdirtmag.ca

focus on our local “dirt” to find solutions and network with the people around us. That’s what Local Dirt is all about. Access to quality food, shelter, knowledge, support, and belonging are necessities, and the ways we care and share with one another can also help with challenges to personal resilience. Knowing where your food comes from and becoming aware of the effort that goes into producing it, learning about the capacity of the land to support us, staying local, and putting consumer dollars behind small businesses and sustainable production methods are all ways we can strengthen our resilience in times of change. All day, every day, communities form the backdrop of our lives. The ways we connect with one another and share our stories and experiences can mean the difference between surviving or thriving. When we work together to deal with problems that arise, we can live less stressful, healthier, more connected, and vibrant lives.

Our 2022 issue is filled with the dirt on Cariboo farms and ranches, food security initiatives, outdoor destinations, local businesses at the hub of communities, people focusing on self-sufficiency in their own lives, and those working to enrich others’ lives in community. It resonates with reflection on the issues, and it puts faces and names to the challenges and solutions affecting our local networks. Whether you are a local producer, a farmers’ market supporter, a self sufficiency enthusiast, an adventurer, or someone who appreciates good food (made with fresh, local ingredients and lots of love), there is something in Local Dirt for you. Maybe it’s time we all get back to the dirt, roll up our sleeves, dig in the soil, and focus on local and sustainable networks that can support us in times of change. Get connected with all your favourite local food and farm producers. Stay tuned for our online issue at www.localdirtmagazine.ca, and the upcoming Local Dirt Directory. Lisa Bland - Publisher, Editor-in-Chief LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022




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ISSUE NO. 1 / 2022 Local Dirt Magazine www.localdirtmagazine.ca info@localdirtmag.ca

Publisher / Editor in Chief: Lisa Bland


Senior Editor: Jessica Kirby Contributors: Sage Birchwater, Heloise Dixon-Warren, Tera Grady, Amber Gregg, LeRae Haynes, Jim Hilton, Erin Hitchcock, Ingrid Johnston, Jessica Kirby, Shawn Lewis, Amy Quarry, Terri Smith, Brianna van de Wijngaard, Ron Young Layout & Design: Stacey Smith Website / Technical Support: Stacey Smith Advertising: Lisa Bland Printing: International Web exPress Inc. On the Cover: Daniel Usher Photography. Instagram: DanielUsherPhotography Local Dirt Magazine is published yearly by Earthwild Consulting. To subscribe email: info@localdirtmag.ca or visit our website: www.localdirtmagazine.ca ©2022 Local Dirt Magazine. All rights reserved. Opinions and perspectives expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of ownership or management. Reproduction in whole or part without the publisher’s consent is strictly prohibited.


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Central Cariboo Community Food Hub Project


Big Bear Ranch


Puddle Produce Farm


Long Table Grocery


Applied Sustainable Ranching Program


Mountain Biking in Williams Lake


Bean Counter Bistro


Cariboo Farmers’ Markets


Sprout Kitchen Food Hub


Paradise in Solitude at Crooked Lake Resort


The Amazing Growing Dome


The Eagle and Paxton Store will go Onward & Nuffield Travels


Recipe: Garlic Scape Pesto


StoneRich Farm in Horsefly, BC


Make Dirt, Not Methane


Dirt Science


Hanceville Cattle Company


Food Sovereignty vs. Food Security


Margetts Meats


Horsefly’s New Commercial Community Kitchen


Horse Lake Community Farm Co-op


FARMED: Opportunities 2022 and Beyond


Peták Produce: Stswecem’c Xgat’tem’s Market Garden


2022 Has Been a Spud-tacular Year for the Potato House! LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022





any of you reading this article may have already heard mutterings of a new Community Food Hub project launching in Williams Lake in the past six months. It’s true! The Social Planning Council of Williams Lake and Area secured funding from United Way BC in 2021 to launch a Regional Community Food Hub for the Central Cariboo. So first, we thought we’d chat a little bit about “food hubs” before we dive into what our plans are for our community food hub project, as it has become quite the buzz term in the last number of years and could likely benefit from some definition! There are many food hub projects across the province and country, and they all serve the shared goal of improving food security in different ways. First, as a “hub” it means that the project serves as a collaborator or network of food security stakeholders, building capacity as a group and increasing their overall impact by working together and supporting through coordination. One of the best existing definitions comes from the United States National Food Hub Collaboration. They define a food hub as a “business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and 6

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institutional demand”. Many of you have likely heard of the new food hub in Quesnel: Sprout Kitchen. This food hub is a “shared-use food and beverage processing [facility] that offers food and agriculture businesses access to commercial processing space, equipment, expertise, and resources to support business development and growth”. So, at the end of the day, food hub projects are meant to support the scaling of local and small-scale agricultural producers to meet local demand, increase local food production, and do what it takes to help them survive and thrive. As a project of United Way BC, our Central Cariboo Community Food Hub has two focus areas: we are focusing on improving community food security, as defined above, through initiatives that support local producers in increasing or improving local production so that it is sustainable for the community, the local environment, and the farmer, and developing policy and action plans that prioritize a local and regional food system. We are also focusing our food hub’s efforts on improving household food security by increasing access to healthy, nutritional, culturally-appropriate foods to those most vulnerable. There are many synergies between household food security and our local food system: we can employ some solutions to one through the resources and opportunities of the other. For example, during the 2022 growing seaWWW.LOCALDIRTMAGAZINE.CA

son, our community food hub is working with our farmers’ market committee to facilitate as much local food recovery as possible for donation and distribution to local organizations that have existing food access programs for clients. Our goal in this initiative is to not only provide more healthy food options for those most vulnerable, but to also make the collection, delivery, and tracking process that much easier for local farmers and get them a portion of the market value for food items that would otherwise not be sold (especially perishable goods like vegetables, fruits, and baked goods). This also saves them from having to deal with these “writeoffs” on the other end, like composting or disposing of any unsold products. These are often difficult for organizations to store, as well, due to their short shelf-life, so our food hub has purchased a number of freezers and a fridge to provide some much-needed cold storage for these healthy perishable food donations, and we have partnered with the Potato House Project to help complete their root cellar renovation as a shared-use opportunity. With any donated foods from the farmers markets that may not get donated right away, we have also partnered with our local St. Andrews church to rent their kitchen periodically and process these donations into healthy, ready-to-eat meals that can go in our freezers for donation at a later date. Lastly, we have been working with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society to support and expand their annual gleaning event to capture as much local food as possible from urban and peri-urban properties and farms, with the goal of reducing food waste and taking as much of the work off the farmer’s hands as possible. It’s starting small but these are the project focus areas we are able to achieve this year with the resources the food hub currently has at its fingertips. We have some longer-term goals for the project that will take time and funding to build. We also must recognize the importance of systems change, policy development, and relationship-building. We want our food hub to work as closely as possible with our municipal and regional governments, as well as our Indigenous leaders and communities, to develop an action plan in meeting our shared food security goals that is sustainable well into the future. One thing we have learned as we’ve been building this food hub model for our region is that there is no one solution to household or community food insecurity. In fact, there are many. The challenge so far has been to narrow down which solutions we should focus on and for which we have the most resources and capacity, and those that would have the greatest positive impact. If you want to learn more about our short- and long-term goals for the Central Cariboo Community Food Hub, you can check out our Project Assessment on the Social Planning Council’s website, under the Food Hub menu. Brianna van de Wijngaard is the project coordinator for the Social Planning Council of Williams Lake and Area’s Central Cariboo Community Food Hub Project. She is also the owner of Puddle Produce Farm, a 1.5-acre certified organic vegetable farm based in Soda Creek, BC.

Photo: Brianna van de Wijngaard



d n u o r G e h t m o r f d oo F y Health h c n a R r a e B g i U p at B BY LERAE HAYNES


ig Bear Ranch in Horsefly, BC, started out as a dream for providing healthy meat and veggies for one family, and it has grown into a successful family business that provides healthy food to hundreds of people throughout the province. From the soil up, the family-owned and operated ranch is naturally and sustainably maintained, and the healthy, contented cows, sheep, and pigs that range and feed on it are a testimony to its success.

At Big Bear Ranch, the owners believe in the importance of a holistic balance between the land, plants, animals, and people. They start with creating a natural, healthy, fertile soil to grow a great variety of healthy and nutrient dense plants that the animals graze. This provides the ranch and its customers with nutritious and great tasting meat. Rainer Krumsiek was a high-end landscape architect in Hannover, Germany, who followed his dreams to be a ranch owner in Canada. It all came about because Rainer and his wife, Gigi, wanted to raise their own food: healthy veggies and meat. For the first two years in Canada the couple and their children lived in Kelowna, looking for a ranch to buy, but found ranch properties unaffordable. They broadened their search and began looking in the Cariboo region. Their search covered many ranches, including Big Bear Ranch, and the following year, they made their decision. Even though they considered Big Bear far bigger than they originally wanted, the price was right. “It was so beautiful and there is no public road across it,” Rainer explained. “I had never lived on acreage myself, but my grandparents in Germany had about three acres with a vegetable garden and chickens and two pigs. After World War II, there was a program in Germany where new village houses included a ground level entrance where you walked in and there were two stalls for two goats and for two pigs. Everybody was supposed to have their own milk and meat supply.” When they purchased Big Bear Ranch in 1995, it was 2,200 acres, and Rainer said if his grandfather had seen it, he would have been astonished and overjoyed. “I sold my house in Germany with a quarter-acre property, and with that money I bought the ranch,” Rainer said,

Photo: Stefanie Krumsiek 8

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Photo submitted by Big Bear Ranch adding that renovations, especially to the existing ranch house, were extensive. The couple brought five Icelandic horses with them to their new home. Gigi bred these strong, agile, gaited horses—it was a passion of hers. “We still have some here today,” he said. The first animals they brought to the ranch were cows. “The spring after we moved in, we bought 106 older cows, which was perfect for us, because we really had no idea what to do, and these cows already knew how to calve,” he said. “The problem was, we were told they wouldn’t start calving until the end of March, and the first calf was born before Christmas. Most of the rest came in February. That winter was the coldest on record in Horsefly: it was -54 degrees C.” Every time they thought a cow would calve, Rainer spent the night up in the loft in the barn. He would put a huge light outside where the cows were, and when he saw that the calf was about to drop out, he started running. “You had to get to the calf before it was on the ground too long, because if you didn’t, it immediately froze to the ground,” he added.

Photo submitted by Big Bear Ranch LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022


“I would carry the calf into the barn and call my wife on the radio. She would run out with a couple of hair dryers, and we would dry off the calf. Then I carried the calf back out to the cow, and because these cows were older, they recognized their own calves and knew what to do.” They kept all the calves from those 106 cows over the winter, and the next year they sold 103 yearlings. Next came two pigs. “We got them to share between us and some friends, and everybody loved the meat so much we decided to include it in our business ventures,” he said. Big Bear Ranch became certified organic in 2004, and was also certified by Animal Welfare Approval both for the humane treatment of their animals and for the animals being grass fed. “This all mattered a great deal to us,” Rainer said. “We always tried to buy certified organic for ourselves. I


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think it’s so important that you don’t put poisons into your body, and that you are aware of the impact your food has on the environment.” The animal welfare certification step was also very personal for the Krumsieks. “I like animals,” Rainer said. “I really want to treat them like they want to be treated. It’s been said that a pig needs to express its ‘pigginess,’ and I think that’s right. A pig has certain things he likes to do, and if he can’t do them, he isn’t happy. You want your animals to be happy.”

land, living the Big Bear kind of life. “I love it!” he said. “I spent all my holidays when I was young at my grandparents’ place in the country. My parents lived in a rented flat in a big city. I couldn’t wait to see my grandparents and get out in nature.” “Last year, my oldest grandson got to hold peas in his hand and plant them in the garden,” Rainer said. “He got to watch them grow and he got to eat them. I think this experience is wonderful, and so important for children.”

Rainer runs Big Bear Ranch with his son and daughter-in-law. Besides cows and pigs, they also raise sheep and chickens for their personal use.

For more information about Big Bear Ranch, visit bigbearranch.com, email info@bigbearranch.com, or phone (250) 620-3353.

Doing the meat deliveries is very satisfying for Rainer, who gets to touch base and visit with many long-time customers who have become friends.

LeRae Haynes is a freelance writer, song writer, and instigator of lots of music with people of all ages in the community. She fearlessly owns 12 ukuleles, clinging to the belief that you’re not a hoarder if you play them all.

Rainer has two grandsons now, ages 2 and 5. He gets great satisfaction from seeing them grow up on the






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Photo: Daniel Usher Photography, Instagram: DanielUsherPhotography 12

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rianna van de Wijngaard of Puddle Produce Farm is on a mission to support, build, and diversify the community food supply. Are you in?

If it involves local farming, growing, or food production in Williams Lake, Brianna van de Wijngaard has been a part of it or influenced it in some way. Her passion for growing, promoting, and supporting local farmers and growers is palpable, and she’s been carving a niche for a growing local food sector in the region since she moved there from Victoria in 2013 to start Puddle Produce Urban Farms. van de Wijngaard spent her first three years in the Cariboo establishing her market gardening business, known as SPIN farming, which used available land on residential properties in Williams Lake for growing and selling food. She converted 4,500 square feet of yard space to productive garden beds. In 2016, she supercharged her business, moving to a 70-acre property in Soda Creek, just north of Williams Lake. Puddle Produce Farm obtained organic certification in 2020, and started a 70-member weekly box program, in addition to attending two farmers’ markets from May to October and selling to Long Table Grocery in Quesnel in the summer. Clearly, van de Wijngaard still had time on her hands and fuel in her heart. While she was growing her farm, she also served on the board of directors and as store manager for the now disbanded Cariboo Growers Food Co-op for three years, and for four years she served on the Board of Directors for the Cariboo Direct Farm Market Association. More recently, she was hired to coordinate a new food security project, the Central Cariboo Community Food Hub, improving household and community food security in the region. She was also appointed to the Cariboo Regional District Agricultural Development Advisory Committee in 2022.

“I also realized through that experience that I could be doing something tangible for the environment while fulfilling my need to be outside and working,” van de Wijngaard says. “I felt an instant attraction that I remember to this very day!” Once she started learning more about gardening and sustainable farming, she also developed a great respect for farmers. “I admire them and their commitment so much, and I wanted to be a part of and support the amazing work that they do,” she says. And amazing, important work it is, not just the act of farming but also the ancillary work of supporting and promoting local food systems, the way van de Wijngaard does on the daily. It preserves and protects local food security and sustainability for communities—but it is also bigger than that.

Not only does it improve our own health through better, more nutrient-dense food, but sustainable agriculture can also serve as a tool in combating climate change. “Not only does it improve our own health through better, more nutrient-dense food, but sustainable agriculture can also serve as a tool in combating climate change,” she says. “With regenerative farming techniques, like cover cropping and low or no-till farming, soils can sequester billions of tons of carbon each year and improve nutrient availability for plants and livestock. It may not be the top industrial GHG emitter (10% on average), but I think its ability to transition perhaps more readily than other sectors like transportation and energy is promising or worth exploring.”

With a list of achievements this long, and obvious passion for community access to fresh, healthy, local food, one would imagine van de Wijngaard grew up toddling in a veggie patch and playing in the garden dirt—not so.

Farming and growing is hard work, not just physically but in terms of competition, the constant struggle for fair prices, and because of infrastructure and labour challenges.

“I never gardened or had much of anything to do with growing food until after university,” van de Wijngaard says. “I just didn’t grow up with it, so I didn’t know I would like it. But, I have always been really drawn to environmental work, so I think that plays a big part in my connection to it.”

“I think one of the biggest challenges farmers and growers face is simply competing—largely on their own—in a very challenging market,” van de Wijngaard says. “I am happy and encouraged to see so much government and community support for local food production increasing recently, but the playing field is far from level quite yet.”

She volunteered on a farm in Hagensborg in the Bella Coola Valley after graduation, and it was then that she realized how much she loved the physical work of market gardening.

And it doesn’t necessarily have to be, she adds. There will always be grocery stores offering far more than local growers can but supporting local addresses a different facet of the food supply. LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022


Farming and growing is hard work, not just physically but in terms of competition, the constant struggle for fair prices, and because of infrastructure and labour challenges.

Photo: Daniel Usher Photography, Instagram: DanielUsherPhotography 14

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“I think if we want to invest in community food security— something only local and regional producers can provide—we have to invest in building that system and proactively supporting them,” van de Wijngaard says. Farmers and growers face high costs for inputs and expenses, which affects profitability, and labour is difficult to secure, given it is most often seasonal work and most growers are already struggling to pay themselves. “They also face processing challenges in getting their product direct to consumers, especially for local meat producers,” van de Wijngaard says. “It’s a long list, and it is up to communities to help make a difference.” Of course, the best way to support local farmers is to buy from them as often as possible. This can take extra effort because it means going out of one’s way to get to those producers, but as the sector grows, van de Wijngaard is hopeful growers will be able to build in and support convenient ways for the community to access local food. “If someone wants to go a step further in supporting local farmers and growing the sector—which is the long-term goal—they could consider reaching out to our municipal, regional, or even provincial governments to voice support,” she says. “We have a very supportive agricultural minister right now, so it’s a receptive time for community outreach.” Lastly, if you have the time (and prefer to get your hands dirty or get moving!) consider becoming involved in growing the local food sector. “This could be as simple as organizing something to celebrate and promote local or culturally-significant food or volunteering on a local food project like gleaning or working on a local farm,” van de Wijngaard says. “Even though we have a long way to go to shift the system, every little bit helps.” Learn more | www.puddleproduce.ca



Growing Community Through Food By Amy Quarry


ince 2017, Long Table Grocery has been “Growing Community Through Food” in Quesnel through a local-focused grocery store, café, and catering company. Working with over 50 local farms, ranches, and businesses, we offer a range of services and products that continue to evolve, but everything we do is done with the goal of increasing the local food economy, creating employment opportunities, and supporting other local businesses and charities. We are deeply committed to food security and work with several local organizations toward increasing access to healthy local food for all. Since we founded the business in 2017, we have seen our community hit with all manner of challenges, including wildfires, floods, heat waves, road closures, and a pandemic, among others, and we have had a front row seat to witness the impacts of these events on local farms and ranchers. With weather events like these, the brunt of the negative effects often fall on the farmers, farmworkers, and ranchers who grow our food. No matter the weather, animals have to be fed, crops must be watered and harvested, hay has to be put up. Often crops are lost or severely damaged or, even worse, people are injured or killed. Extreme weather often leads to wildfires as we are seeing now, which we all know impact farmers and ranchers and rural properties disproportionately. Farmers and farm workers are often unseen and under-appreciated, and these events illustrate how vulnerable our food system is. For so many of us, we really don’t have any idea what it is like to farm or what it means to stake your entire livelihood on something that can be taken from you any time by a weather event like this that is totally out of your control. We don’t see the risks and stresses, we don’t know how physically hard they work, day in and day out, in all kinds of weather. We don’t see the loneliness of it, the discomfort, the grit that is required to keep going outside when the weather is literally trying to kill you or when you face a catastrophic event like a flood or fire. 16

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We don’t see how much energy they put into caring for their animals and how much it affects them when one is injured or sick. We also don’t see the successes, we don’t understand how much of a win a full abundant harvest is, and we miss out on the celebration of what harvest time really means when you have paid for it with your literal blood, sweat, and tears. This disconnect that most of us have from where our food comes from is so sad and such a critical factor in why so many of us in our culture continue to support businesses and practices that hurt the planet and hurt people so much. We don’t see the people who are directly impacted by our purchasing choices—the illegal or temporary farm worker who dies of heat stroke because they don’t want to speak up about unsafe working conditions. The fishermen who are forced into actual slavery to harvest seafood. The children who are harvesting produce and crops around the world. We also don’t really see the people in our own communities who are sacrificing their time, their WWW.LOCALDIRTMAGAZINE.CA

Photo submitted by Amy Quarry

health sometimes, and their physical bodies for very little financial return, often at immense financial risk. Most small-scale farmers I know work well beyond an 8-hour day or 40-hour week, and no one is paying them overtime. They carry the risk and unfortunately often very little financial reward. This is why it is so important to purchase local food when we can, even if it may cost a little more, and choose ethical and organic farms when we can’t source locally. This is why we choose to support businesses and farms that treat workers fairly and humanely, both locally and further away. We are all connected, and our choices matter. If we want to think global, it starts with acting local. Unfortunately, the kinds of weather events we have seen over the past few years—fires, extreme temps, floods— are likely to increase in the coming years. The time to build a strong, local food system that can support our local growers is now. There is that saying, “the best

time to plant a tree is ten years ago, the next best time is today”. That sentiment applies to how we choose to move through the world and how our daily choices build the world we want to inhabit. We can’t undo the actions of governments and corporations or choices we have made in the past, but we can choose differently today and each day moving forward. We can plant the seeds now for a system that will support all within it—the farmers, the farmworkers, the distributors, the truck drivers, and the grocery store workers—to live healthy, safe, productive lives in a community that appreciates and values them in the ways they deserve. We can build a better community together, no matter what the future holds. Amy Quarry is an entrepreneur, community-builder, maker, graphic designer, and localist. She loves her small town and strongly believes in the resilience of a community built together. Long Table Grocery is a locally-owned independent food hub providing good food that is sustainably sourced and locally-rooted in the Cariboo region of BC. LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022




tudents are best served by learning on local ranches, engaged in land management that promotes soil health, regenerative practices, and sustainable business enterprises. The Applied Sustainable Ranching (ASUR) program is a 60-credit program, the first of its kind in British Columbia, which launched in January of 2016 and is currently in its seventh cohort. Going strong, the program was designed to support ranching students working on the land. It runs parallel to extensive work practicums that students receive on host or family ranches. Through a culture of applied learning and research, students are encouraged to question and test out ideas they may have about land and business practices on their family or host ranches. Rather than being discouraged by experiential learning and agriculture’s inherent challenges, students focus on the process, improving their applied skills to mitigate the learning curve and counter difficulties found in agriculture. They do this with a willingness to discover new things and share knowledge along the way furthering learning about soils, crops, and cost-effective practices within their community of host ranches. Students earn credentials with natural resource science courses, including biodiversity, soil health, range ecology, grazing management, and riparian management. At the core of the program, there is a strong enterprise management element that gives students a solid foundation in business and production practices. Business courses focus on strategy, financial management, marketing, and human resources where students gain the tools to build and manage a diversified and resilient ranch, farm, or agricultural business. As part of the program, students complete a business and land management plan that is presented to a panel of experienced agriculture producers and agriculture bankers, who provide valuable feedback. 18

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PARTNERSHIPS In addition to the host ranch network, the ASUR program has focused on strengthening partnerships with local businesses for scholarships, fostered connections with other university programs for laddering opportunities, and partnered with local First Nations communities to create Indigenous focused programming. A dual credit program was developed with school district 27 and students in grade 12 can take the ASUR 1040 course and obtain credits for both high school graduation and the course work in ASUR. Similarly, ASUR diploma graduates can ladder into their third year of the Applied Agribusiness Degree at Olds College. Cohort one student Catalina Oitzl graduated with her degree through the Olds College Agribusiness pathway, and Laura Bedford and Zetteh Gunner are currently at Olds completing their degree. TRU Kamloops also allows ASUR graduates to ladder into the second year of the Natural Resource Science program or the Bachelor of Business Administration, providing they have the prerequisite courses from high school. A recent and important partnership with Skeetchestn Indian Band, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (TteS), and Thompson Rivers University (TRU) created an innovative pathway to the ASUR program, teaching Indigenous students how to run a business using Traditional and Western land practices, and food sovereignty. “Food sovereignty, or our ability to take control of our food, is so important to making sure our youth do not lose the traditions of the past,” said Terry Denault, Skeetchestn Elder advisor to the program. “This program will help ensure our Indigenous practices are incorporated into the teachings.”


ASUR Students tour Onward Ranch for Introductory Week. Photo: Angela Abrahao Long-standing community partnerships have been instrumental in providing scholarships and grants to students. ASUR has two specific yearly entrance awards, the Bill Freding Memorial Entrance Award and the Cariboo Chevrolet Buick GMC 4-H Bursary Award. Entrance award winner Melissa Grossler of Lillooet, BC, was awarded the $5,000 Freding award this year. This scholarship is awarded annually in memory of Bill Freding, a pioneer in the agriculture industry with a passion for lifelong learning and giving back to the community and industry. Grossler is a positive role model, and she is committed to sharing her knowledge on regenerative agriculture. “I believe the most effective means of educating consumers about the beef industry is through on-farm application of regenerative agriculture and sharing through visual modes how farming in all aspects can be used to improve our planet,” she says. “With transparent business, people’s increased desire to be connected to their food is met. Everyone should be able to see how their food is raised, know what it is fed, how it is treated, and the health benefits of consuming such product.” The Cariboo Chevrolet Buick GMC 4-H Bursary Award was created by Brian Garland, owner and president of Cariboo Chevrolet Buick GMC. Antonia Westwick of Miocene, BC, was this year’s winner of the $500 Cariboo GM 4-H Award. Registration for the program is now open for the September intake. For more info on the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program, contact program director Gillian Watt at: 250-3192367. To learn more about the program see the Applied Sustainable Ranching Facebook page at facebook.com/AppliedSustainableRanching LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022





here is this notion that we have been trying to cultivate, concerning mountain biking in Williams Lake. It is the notion that you can go from anywhere in town to everywhere in the network, or in our case, networks. Surrounded by three main ridges and nestled in a valley, Williams Lake seems like it was made for mountain biking. Relatively short climbs, no more than 300 m, will get you into any one of our three main riding areas: Fox Mountain, Southsyde, and the Westsyde. These networks each host a wide variety of trails suitable for all riders. From meandering singletrack to technical rock gardens, and from benched mossy sidehill that looks like it’s been built by bunnies, to steep, dry, loose, fast descents that will leave you clenching more than just your handlebars. Add in Williams Lake’s newest trails, Foxfire, a green, kids’, machine-built trail, finished in 2021 and To the Ride, a blue flow trail, which will be finished in late spring of 2022, it’s no wonder we are dubbed “The Shangri La of Mountain Biking.” This is not to suggest that we have the best trails in the world, as BC alone is home to amazing trails everywhere. But it is hard to find a network that has our vastness, scope, and connectivity, all accessible from town. Williams Lake is not an overnight success story, however, and the dollar value of our current network would be in the millions. Trails were


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being built in Williams Lake shortly after mountain biking was discovered in the late 70s and early 80s. Marin County in California and Crested Butte, Colorado, may claim to be the birthplace of mountain biking, but the North Shore, Kamloops, and yes, Williams Lake, were among the earliest adopters of the sport in the mid-80s. There were a handful of builders that started poking around in the bush and “grubbing in” trails. Their early work formed the essence of the current network—perimeter trails that would allow for future development, connective trails to link to the other riding areas, and using Crown land to help preserve the work. Of course, at that time, all the trails surrounding Williams Lake were rogue and therefore a little secretive. A lot of the time the builder would suggest you check out their new trail and when asked if it was ready to ride, the answer was usually, “Yes!” It only took a few times to learn that this, in fact, meant no. Riding in the early days was as much trail finding as it was riding, and yells of frustration often permeated the air. As the network and ridership grew, trails became more defined and route finding meant you could link multiple trails together for a good and proper route. Today, Williams Lake has over 150 trails and more than 250 km of singletrack that can take you from network to network and provide smiles WWW.LOCALDIRTMAGAZINE.CA

for miles. Maintained by the Williams Lake Cycling Club (WLCC), all three networks are considered legal and have the full support of the Williams Lake First Nation, the province of BC, the City of Williams Lake, and the Cariboo Regional District. Working together and with other partners, WLCC strives to offer the best riding experience it can for all types of riders. This maintenance is done with a combination of volunteers and paid crews to keep them safe and fun.

James Doerfling, Westsyde Network, Snakes & Ladders Trail.

Key to the development of mountain biking were the original bike shops, and they remain a primary cog of the sport. Thankfully, Williams Lake has always had a good bike shop in town. Red Shreds led the way and Barking Spider, now Cycle Logic,

complemented what was already being offered. One can find all their needs in either of these personable shops. Current times show the value of accessible outdoor recreation and the quality of life. The benefits of being outdoors have been proven in countless articles—vitamin D from the sun promotes health and immunity, fresh air blowing through the trees clears the lungs and invigorates the mind. Working your way up a tough climb or picking your way, at speed, through the trees forces you to focus on the present, the here and now. By losing yourself in the ride, residual elements dissipate from your body, negative thoughts leave your mind, and clarity of the moment can be realized. It’s not quite Zen, but when things are going well, it could be. Outdoor recreation, and especially mountain biking, has been part of the city’s Attraction and Retention strategy for professionals. Once the trails were legalized in 2009, the WLCC and the City of WL signed an agreement to work together for the benefit of the community and for local businesses. The club is proud to be proactive in this agreement and hopeful that our efforts have helped bring people to town to work and to play and will continue to do so in the future. The WLCC continues to maintain, enhance, and develop one of the largest legal networks in the province. We actively pursue new funding opportunities and collaborative programs so we can continue to progress the network while retaining it’s “old school” feel. A solid membership allows us to seek these opportunities because there is strength in numbers and a loud, collective voice is a strong one. The club works for you—please support us by becoming a member. You can do that here: spruceregistrations.com/wlcc/ register. There is only one thing left to ask now: where are you riding from and where do you want to go?

Fox Mountain Trail, Hillbilly Deluxe.

For all the comprehensive trail information you need to ride local trails, please consult Trailforks.com. LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022


& Love

Counting Beans Feeling the



he Bean Counter Bistro in Williams Lake bustles with energy that seems to call you in off of the street. When you arrive, the first thing you will notice is owner Cindy Chappell greeting you with a glorious smile and a friendly “Hello!” no matter how busy she is. In a moment of downtime, among preparing fabulous food, serving customers, and empowering her team of seven, Cindy might stop by your table to say hello, share a kind word, or have a friendly chat. “I’ve always looked at the sunny side of life,” she says. “I believe the only thing you receive with negativity, is negativity. People are so fascinating and beautiful. Absolutely, we get grumpy customers, but I feel in my heart that we don’t know what this person is going through in their life, so why not embrace their anger or sadness with kindness?” Cindy was born in Vancouver and moved to the Cariboo with her family as a toddler. Because of her parents’ jobs, they travelled around a bit— from Williams Lake, White Rock, and Puntzi to Anahim Lake, where they ran The Frontier Café, and to Cranbrook, Kamloops, and Alexis Creek where they ran The Hitching Post. They also worked with a local company, Williamson Blacktop.

Fred McMechan, frequent Bean Counter customer (and Cindy’s grade school math teacher), and Bean Counter owner, Cindy Chappell.


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“We always came back to The Cariboo, which is where we planted our roots, so to speak,” she says. “I went to school in Vancouver, but my counWWW.LOCALDIRTMAGAZINE.CA

Photo: Cindy Chappell

try roots and small-town love called me back to Williams Lake where I remained, raising four amazing sons.” In 2010, Cindy purchased The Bean Counter because her four sons moved away to school and work, and she needed a “new baby”. “I had no previous experience in a coffee shop,” Cindy says. “I just love a new challenge, and I love people. My mission was to create a kind atmosphere, supporting local farmers and growers as much as possible.” Over the past decade, she’s grown The Bean Counter into one of Williams Lake’s favourite coffee shops and places to meet with friends, connect in a warm environment, and enjoy local food and goodies. Settle in for a home-made soup, delicious wrap, or a salad, and top off any meal with a muffin, cookie, or other sweet goody. Have gluten or vegan diet requirements? No problem. The Bean Counter’s menu is quickly expanding to include more sweet and savory options to suit any dietary needs. Customers love that they can get a Dandy Blend Latte—aka dandelion coffee—at The Bean Counter as an alternative to coffee in the afternoon. Try a creamy, dreamy latte with a vegan pumpkin spiced muffin, or sink your teeth into a yam wrap or chicken panini on a Lac La Hache

hoagie roll to warm your lunchtime tummy. Whenever possible, Cindy sources meat, veggies, honey, and other ingredients locally, tending a fierce flame to support local. “After being a member with the farmers’ markets for many years previous, it feels easy and rewarding to support local farmers and growers,” she says. “And, of course, knowing exactly where that delicious food, produce, and meat comes from makes it an easy choice.” The ability to farm-to-table meats, vegetables, honey, and crafts yearround in the Cariboo is just one reason she loves the area—there is also the gorgeous and accessible outdoor playground. “So many places to explore!” she says. Growing a business in a connected community like Williams Lake comes with its fair share of memorable moments, both heart-warming and challenging. She recalls one Bike to Work Week when The Bean had bikes lined up and down the sidewalk—so fun! “Challenging moments are when I can’t get fresh produce from the farmers in the winter,” she says. “And my most challenging moment was visiting a long-time customer in the hospital with his favorite coffee and scone and learning of his passing days later.”

She recalls a customer in line one day who looked so sad, it prompted Cindy to take action. “I left the till and walked up to her and gave her a hug and said, ‘You looked like you could use a hug today’,” Cindy says. “She called me the next day and thanked me, saying, ‘You don’t know how much I needed that hug.’ How wonderful to make people smile.” Cindy is stoked for Local Dirt because she can’t wait to connect with and support the beautiful Cariboo and the people who build it. Stay a little longer at The Bean Counter and you will soon notice that Cindy and her staff sprinkle hearts on everything—there are heart holes punched in the frequent buyer coffee punch cards, hand drawn hearts on to-go bags and cups—the love in the room is tangible. Why hearts? Because Cindy has loved them her whole life. “Hearts just call out LOVE and everyone could use more of that,” she says. Learn more about The Bean Counter in Williams Lake and connect with its energetic, friendly, home-grown vibe online at beancounterbistro. com, Facebook @thebeancounterbistro, and Instagram @wlbeancounter.





here is nothing like entering a farmers’ market. Everyone seems so happy. They meet and mingle, catch up with each other. The air is fresh, the atmosphere is relaxed and joyful. Often, a local band plays. This is the heart of the community, a celebration of food, local craftsmanship, and friendships. With so many farmers and producers selling their wares in the region, it’s so easy to support local. And when you take home that head of broccoli, loaf of bread, or woodcarving, you feel you took part in something special, something meaningful. Barb Scharf, manager of the Williams Lake market, has been busy preparing for this year’s market, which is planned to be business as usual, following various COVID-19 restrictions in recent years. “We’re anticipating it’s going to be a normal farmers’ market year,” Scharf says, adding that with COVID-19, nonfood vendors and musicians weren’t originally allowed at the start of the pandemic. There was one-way foot traffic and restrictions were placed on how many could attend at once. “It’s all status quo this year,” Scharf says. “It’s a full, normal market. We’ll have musicians, everything.” The Williams Lake market kicked off with the 13th annual Seedy Saturday and Earlybird Farmers Market on Saturday, April 30, jointly hosted by the Williams Lake Food Policy Council and the Cariboo Direct Farm Direct Market Association. 24

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It will run Fridays, however, starting May 6 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. between Kiwanis Park and the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Centre, and includes most previous vendors, as well as some new faces. Expect lots of plants, textiles, pottery, baking, wood and metal works, and bath and body products. The well-loved Fennel Cup food truck is no more, but the previous owners will still be vendors, selling Indian food and pottery. Fresh crêpes, bannock, and Mexican food are also planned and can now be enjoyed on site. But it’s not all just about the goodies. “A lot of people come because it’s essentially a social occasion,” says Scharf, who shares the management duties with her husband and daughter. “Shopping is almost a side thing that’s happening. They meet people, you see people chatting, they’re in little groups talking, they’re sitting down having lunch together, they’re just hanging out.” The Williams Lake Farmers Market is under the umbrella of the BC Farmers Market Association, which also includes the South Cariboo, McLeese Lake (Alexandria), and Quesnel, though there are other, independent markets scattered throughout the region, too. Because some of the markets are held on different days from each other, Scharf says many of the vendors hop-scotch between them, offering their products in more than one location. “It fills a really strong need in our communities to have a place to connect with local growers and producers and small business operators, people who make their own WWW.LOCALDIRTMAGAZINE.CA

items,” Scharf says, adding that the pandemic, floods that closed roads and highways, and forest fires have all highlighted the importance of food security, as those events have all played a role in limiting what has been available in grocery stores during those challenging times. “People realize how dependent we are on food coming from other places and also the importance of strengthening local food economies and production.” It’s not yet known where the South Cariboo Market will be held this year, as the organization, at press time, was fine-tuning a possible location and new manager. However, market board director Rod Hennecker was optimistic everything would come together soon, ensuring the market’s 37th year of operation. “We’ve got some good farmers here and artisans, too,” Hennecker says, adding the market has between 30 and 40 vendors, some coming from as far as Lytton, Little Fort, and the Okanagan. Though it’s expected to continue running on Fridays from early May to September, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., those interested can contact Hennecker by phone at (250) 395-3580, email ceeds@xplornet.ca, or visit the South Cariboo Farmers Market Facebook page to find out the location. Tim Cadwell began managing the Quesnel market just when COVID-19 started in 2020, so in addition to the new market duties, he also had to stay on top of restrictions. He says he looks forward to it being like it used to be prior to the pandemic and senses that enthusiasm from others. “I’m seeing more people excited about it, musicians especially,” Cadwell says, adding that the pandemic financially hurt a lot of farmers and food vendors.

greens. “Having an indoor covered area year-round for producers or artisans who just need a little extra protection will just be phenomenal.” Though the former site at McLeese was beautiful, the market was also limited on space and accessibility for food and cooler trucks. “Now we have no issues with that,” she says. “We are hoping we will be able to get some bigger vendors in, so we can fit everybody.” While many of the markets in the region share some of the same vendors, exclusive to this market is Luv Your Bunz, Smooth Cut Woodshop, and Mini’s Crochet. “Every market has a slightly different flavour,” Bystedt says. “We are all in the same region but we’re not cookie cutters, so I think you really get a sense of each community by what their market is like.” The Farmers Market at Alexandria kicks off Sunday, July 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. until mid-September and then returns from mid October till the end of the year for the holiday season. Erin Hitchcock is a freelance journalist with a focus on environment and sustainability. She lives with her husband and two children east of Williams Lake.

However, the market received grants that will allow for new picnic tables, which will be put to good use now that visitors are able to sit and visit with each other at the market. “We’re looking forward to a normal year and want to get it back to where you can visit with friends and family and have a nice day at the market,” Cadwell says. The Quesnel market runs Saturdays, starting May 7 until Oct. 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Helen Dixon School site on Kinchant Street. Visit quesnelmarket.net for more information. The McLeese Lake market will find an exciting new home this year and go under the new operating name of Farmers Market at Alexandria, says market president Wylie Bystedt. It will now be held at the Alexandria Community Hall, where it holds its Christmas market, and will therefore include both outdoor and indoor space. “It’s awesome, especially for some of the artisans,” Bystedt says, explaining that hot summer temperatures can affect items such as candles, baked goods, and leafy LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022



Helping to Build A Sustainable Local PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY SPROUT KITCHEN

Chanelle Sankey and Donna Telford of Hixon Falls Company preparing their crackers in Sprout Kitchen.


n July of 2019, the City of Quesnel, with support from the Ministry of Agriculture, began to develop a business plan for a small-scale food processing and innovation center for the region. The City of Quesnel had a vision to build a food hub that would become a leader in community economic development by providing space and support for emerging and existing food entrepreneurs, shared processing infrastructure, an education center for food processing and food safety training, and access to business support services. With additional funding from the City of Quesnel and Northern Development


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Initiative Trust, the Sprout Kitchen Regional Food Hub and Business Incubator opened its doors in the spring of 2021.

supported through the BC Food Hub Network that aim to support community efforts to build vibrant and sustainable local food economies.

Food hubs are an integral part of the local food system. They are shared use facilities that provide equipment and space to support the development of small food-based businesses. More than ever, there is increased demand for locally produced food and a greater desire for regional food security, but it is often difficult for small businesses to break into the larger, more competitive markets. Sprout Kitchen is one of 12 food hubs

Located in West Quesnel, Sprout Kitchen is a 2,000-square-foot commercial kitchen space equipped with a variety of specialty cooking and food processing equipment. Sprout Kitchen serves the region from Vanderhoof to One Hundred Mile House through access to a regional delivery service. The delivery service, which is planned to be up and running later this year, will transport food to the hub for processing or storage and will WWW.LOCALDIRTMAGAZINE.CA

vibrant and food economy

deliver finished products to retailers within the region. Sprout Kitchen will work toward building a regional network of producers, processors, grocery buyers, and consumers. Through collective marketing of its members and their products, Sprout Kitchen hopes to become a regional distribution hub for local food. As members of the food hub, businesses can rent out space and equipment. Sprout Kitchen members will have access to shared processing infrastructure that will help small businesses scale up and gain access to new markets. Sprout Kitchen will

support the production of a wide range of products, including value added processing of canned goods, frozen and ready to eat meals, dehydrated and freeze-dried foods, fermented products, baked goods, and much more. Labelling and packaging equipment is available to support production from start to finish. The kitchen also supports businesses such as restaurants, caterers, and food trucks with lots of open workspace, professional cooking equipment, and cold storage. Sprout Kitchen is more than just a workspace. It will provide

opportunities for different producers, processors, and entrepreneurs to network and build relationships. By bringing people together, Sprout Kitchen will cultivate innovation and build community that will support growth and build a strong local food economy. For more information, check out sproutkitchen.ca, or follow our activities @ sproutkitchenhub. We hope you’ll grow really well here! -LD LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022


e s i d a r a P in Solitude





Take the long and rewarding road to Crooked Lake Resort to fall in love with the Cariboo Mountains, the towering alpine, and Kim and Al Bouwmeester.


rooked Lake Resort is a peaceful, off-the-grid collection of cabins, campsites, and magnificent views on Crooked Lake, nestled between Boss Mountain and Eureka Peak, and declared by the town of Horsefly.

I don’t mean ‘Aw, there’s no internet; aw, I can’t use my hairdryer; aw, I hate bugs; aw I’m scared of bears’,” Kim says. “I mean the awe that is, ‘Wow, I can’t believe places like this exist and hardly anyone knows about them.’”

When Kim and Al Bouwmeester first came from their home in Ontario to see the resort, they were down by the lake with Victor Kong, their real estate agent, pointing to and admiring the snow-capped Boss Mountain’s majesty.

The resort was built in the early 1960s by a local trapper named Clifford Eagle. After that, the Boyes family ran it for several years as a hopping bar and hotspot for logging, mining, and local folks who drove to it at least 45 km in any direction. After the Boyes family moved on, four other families came and went until the Bouwmeesters took over in 2016.

“It was beautiful, no doubt, but when I turned around and looked up at Eureka Peak, it owned me,” Kim says. Six years later, they are living and running the resort in paradise and loving every minute of it. Crooked Lake Resort is 65 km outside of Horsefly. Sixty-two of those are on FSR and about 35 of them are unmaintained, which means when you head there, you are on your own, except for friendly backroad travellers and wildlife. “For some, being this remote is a dream and for others it’s a nightmare,” Kim says. “We laugh when we call it a resort because it has absolutely none of the perks you may expect to find at a ‘resort’. As a matter of fact, while you can book on our website, we insist that you call or email to confirm your reservation so that we can make sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself into when you visit us out here in the Cariboo Mountains.” That said, no one has ever left Crooked Lake Resort wishing they’d never come. “Even the faintest of heart have admitted a sense of awe that they hadn’t anticipated,” Kim says. “And

“Our kids thought we were out of our minds to take on such an unknown, but once they visited, they got it,” Kim says. “And after COVID hit, they asked us, ‘How did you know?’” Crooked Lake is nine miles long with a fault line running through it, so its depth varies. The resort has eight cabins of various sizes, prices, and comfort, and eight RV sites with 15-amp service from 6-10 p.m. and water hook ups. “Al and I feel very strongly about reducing our footprint and being great stewards of this magnificent part of the BC Backyard,” Kim says. “We now only rent kayaks, canoes, and row boats. Folks are welcome to bring their own motorboats, but because Crooked Lake is not known for its big fish, we don’t get a lot of motorized water action. That makes it a perfect lake to float about on.” The crystal clear and clean water is often like glass, reflecting the mountains and rainforests. Hikers keen to tackle the four-hour hike to the alpine will often find snow in July, among the luscious flora and fauna.

“Because we are a small resort, folks can feel like they are the only ones here at times, giving them a real sense of the peaceful, quiet, joy Al and I feel being here all year round,” Kim says. Kim and Al led a busy life as parents and foster parents in a rural community near Toronto, but when their children grew up and moved away, they realized they’d perhaps outgrown their purpose for staying put. One year, they rented an RV and did the BC loop, and their fate was sealed. “Al fell in love with the mountains and everyday after that he reminded me how much he wanted to move to the mountains,” Kim says. In April 2016, Kim called Al’s bluff and announced they were selling the house, buying an RV, and heading west. Of course, Al was mesmerized by the possibility and the planning began. One month later they were leaving Ontario in the dust and burning rubber to a bright new future. Except, the cost of living dropped clouds of realism over their plan to live in or near Vancouver, and it was soon time to recalibrate. “We looked at over 100 properties from Vancouver to Princeton to Kamloops,” Kim says. “We met a young man at the Knutsford Campground who suggested we check out Horsefly ‘just for kicks and giggles’. We were heading up to Williams Lake and beyond when Al noticed the listing for the resort.” A mental health and community engagement worker and a construction worker/volunteer fire fighter, Kim and Al weren’t sure how their skill sets would transfer to resort ownership, but once they took their first drive down that long road and were greeted by a mama moose and her calf, LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022


“faintest of heart Even the

have admitted a sense of awe that they hadn’t anticipated.

some baby pigs, cows, and horses all over the road, and the signs of bear, they knew they had a lot to consider. In the end, they decided to dive right in. “The first year was spectacular,” Kim says. “The weather was perfect, bugs were normal, and business was great. Our first morning on our own, we were overlooking some 17 trailers and full cabins, wondering what we’d gotten ourselves into this time.” They figured it out. From a couple of guests who tossed their canoe but were found safe and sound to a winter so cold the shower water couldn’t drain because the drain was frozen, they have found joy and adventure in their new endeavour. In 2017, they heard about but did not see evidence of the fires that raged in Williams Lake, and the following winter brought so much snow the grader broke down and the road became sled-in only. In 2019, it rained and rained and in 2020, COVID-19 arrived. “We were sitting on our porch this time of year in 2020, cocking our 30

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heads and wondering what could possibly happen to make us have to sell the resort, our beautiful piece of paradise,” Kim says. “Well, there’s gold in them there hills, and thanks to the folks who live for that, we got to continue to live for this. Thank goodness mining is an essential service.” For the past six years, they have offered Crooked Cooking—a simple idea that if they just cooked, people would show up to eat—and they have. Moving forward, they are offering their commercial kitchen and the lodge for rental so visiting groups can create their own “Crooked Concoctions.” This is just one more turn down that challenging and fabulous road that brought the Bouwmeesters to Crooked Lake, saw them learn, grow, and thrive, and that has led to fulfillment they never imagined. “While walking around this gorgeous rainforest or sitting down by the lake, Al and I never cease to be amazed at how alone we can be at times,” Kim says, “especially in

Aerial view of Crooked Lake Resort. Photo submitted by Al and Kim Bouwmeester. those in-between seasons, where the ice is just beginning her whale-like song-moan or opening up to the sun, letting little waves crash and move ice down the McKusky River to the Horsefly River and falls.” No matter how complicated the world—or the parts of it the Bouwmeesters hear about—can be, they are always astounded by the simple beauty, complexity, variety, and liveliness that changes the view and compliments their perspectives. “Today, we are here,” Kim says. “We wish to be nowhere else at this moment, and while we cherish our ‘alone’, we relish in the thought of showing and sharing this unique and precious space around Crooked Lake Resort.”

Learn more about Crooked Lake Resort and book your corner of paradise at crookedlakeresorthorseflybc. com.


Tel: 250-395-4545 Fax: 1-877-606-5385 spellizzari@telus.net

Stephen Pellizzari NOTARY PUBLIC

Cariboo Mall 575 Alder Avenue Box 2105, 100 Mile House, BC V0K 2E0

Stephen Pellizzari NOTARY PUBLIC





Growing Dome BY RON YOUNG


don’t fall into the category of gardener you might be familiar with, but I refer to the quote by Charles Cooley: “Today, I’m not what I think I am. I’m not what you think I am. I am what I think you think I am.” So, in that brief quote I provide the caveat that whatever I pretend to know about gardening is just that, and I defer to the many brilliant Cariboo gardeners and their hardwon wisdom.

But I would like to introduce a concept to those who aspire to food security, which these days is an admirable pursuit given the convolutions of world events. While scrolling through some social media a couple of years ago, I came across an ad from a Canadian company advertising “geodesic growing domes”. Being a techie kind of guy and always with one eye on new ideas for doing things better and easier, I was intrigued. Exploring the site of this company called Arctic Acres and their U.S. affiliate Growing Spaces, I discovered the following from the “About” page of Growing Spaces’ fascinating history: In 1980, John Denver (yep, that John Denver! Country Roads. Rocky Mountain High!) teamed up with Tom Crum. And with the mentorship of Buckminster Fuller, the creator of the geodesic dome, they built the Windstar Foundation. It was outside Aspen, Colorado. They were operating on the assumption that if we learned to “do more with less” we could feed the world and solve our environmental problems. The Windstar Foundation housed a large biodome showcasing sustainable gardening practices. The biodome at Windstar was big. The project attracted attention and volunteers who travelled far and wide to be part of it. The inspiration for helping people and the planet drew visionaries from all walks of life… One such volunteer, and visionary, was Udgar Parsons, the founder of Growing Domes. To hear him tell the tale is inspiring. He walked into the biodome from the barren frozen landscape of the wintery Rocky Mountains… And into a tropical paradise. 32

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I looked at the photos and videos of the growing domes. It was really inspiring to see them being used in places like Alaska, or at 2,500 m in the Colorado mountains, and in the Arctic circle in Longyearbyen Norway and growing food all year around! A very bright idea bulb went on in my tiny cranium as I thought about the possibilities of keeping a garden going at least a few months longer than the typical growing season in the British Columbia Cariboo region, which is five months or less. The growing dome concept has undergone several decades of evolution since its inception, and there is a fantastic community of users who share their experiences. The dome kits include a large above ground pond that sits along the north perimeter and acts as a heat sink, storing heat through the day and releasing it at night. Even on the coldest days this can add several degrees of warmth to the interior. The walls are made of a translucent, multi-layered, long-lasting polycarbonate. The kit includes most of the components required for the structure, and the end user then builds the garden beds according to their own requirements. There is an air circulating system that circulates moist, warm air from the interior of the dome and transfers it into the soil beds using a simple solar powered fan. Additional enhancements are up to the gardener. In our case, I added a “climate battery” or ground to air heat transfer system. I did this by following some excellent recommendations from a website called ecosystems-design.com. The climate battery works by pushing temperate air from several feet underground into the dome, cooling it in the hot summer periods and warming it in the cooler winter months. It can make an amazing difference in regulating the temperature. It works on the same principle as a heat pump, and the circulating fans are also solar powered. We have just completed our first winter season with the dome, and it has been a learning experience. We were able to grow veggies well into the late fall when our regular outdoor garden was long gone. When temperatures got below -10 degrees C, I gave up trying to supplement heating and just let things go, but in February I installed a greenhouse heater fan that is thermostatically controlled and keeps the interior temps above 10 degrees C. We have been harvesting kale and lettuce (which actually survived the winter) since March, and now in April, we have several other seedlings taking root. WWW.LOCALDIRTMAGAZINE.CA

We were able to grow veggies well into the late fall when our regular outdoor garden was long gone.

Photo: Ron Young

There are some things that we want to accomplish with our dome before next winter, including adding a solar heating panel to provide an added heat boost in the winter, and we are looking into having fish in the pond. Many others using these domes actually raise edible fish like Tilapia or decorative varieties like goldfish. Apparently, it is also possible to raise edible giant freshwater prawns, which are much more temperature tolerant. As yet, we haven’t even explored the possibility setting up an interior recreational space to sit and have coffee, read a book, or follow other relaxing winter pursuits that are possible in the geodesic dome growing space. You can do a virtual tour and see amazing things people are doing with their domes on arcticacres.ca or growingspaces.com. I have also put a short video collage of our construction experience on my video channel: vimeo.com/ ronyoung Ron Young, a renewable energy specialist, owns the earthRight store in Williams Lake, established in 1993. A series of articles on the basics of solar energy can be found on his website: solareagle.com. Copyright Ron Young 2022. LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022





warmly invite you to listen in on some of the exciting happenings at the Onward Ranch near Williams Lake. I’ll fill you in on a little bit of the Eagle & Paxton Store history (now home to our grass finished beef), and I’d like to tell you about the tremendously exciting opportunity I’ve had to represent Canada as a Nuffield Agriculture Scholar through World Farming Connections.

We live steeped in history on this farm. Secwépemc peoples were on the land for 10,000 years before Charles Eagle (of Pennsylvanian origin) and Anna Tatkwa (of Bonaparte heritage) built the ranch in the 1800s. It’s been a mecca for artists during the years that the Cowan and Cornwall family were here. A.Y. Jackson, Joe Plaskett, Takao Tanabe, and many other artists were guests, painting the beautiful landscape and gritty lifestyle. Painting, pottery, theatre, music—so many art forms have flourished at the ranch.



But let’s steer this conversation to that of local food. For our family, it has been a humbling place to raise livestock, to bring up wholesome children (the kids run free and wild), and to take care of the land. We are learning from the past and projecting forward to a future not as reliant on fossil fuels and chemical fertilizers—a future in which carbon is sequestered through grazing. We’ve also made the leap to be the first in BC to provide grass finished beef directly from the ranch and deliver to doorsteps throughout BC. We have spent the last two years working on the old general store called Eagle & Paxton. The store was named after two of Anna Tatkwa’s children. Her first child was named Tommy Paxton and her second child was named Johnny Eagle (They were half brothers). Built in the early 1880s, it is considered the Cariboo’s first sawn lumber structure, and it was built by wood milled on the ranch by a steam powered engine and held together with square, handmade nails. There was a route that led up over the mountain from Onward Ranch right past the store, over to Chimney Lake, then down the valley to Felker Lake, and eventually out to the ferry that crossed the Fraser River into the vast wilderness. It was with great joy that we decided to offer grass-fed beef from this historic building. It once offered provisions and it does again. We started the process of protecting this important part of history. Oh, the interesting journey that was. We found disintegrating roof shingles held down with horseshoe nails. We imagined cowboys 34

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from the farm helping with the roof in the off season. Within the walls while we were insulating, we found old, bounced cheques from the 1880s with “No Good” scrawled in Victorian cursive. We imagined little bits of paper being shoved into the nooks and crannies to keep the winter draft out, as more wood was added to the heater. We found elegant, hand-painted green wallpaper with scrolling flowers behind the door frames. It used to cover the old roughhewn boards on all four walls—wow! The store once sold all manner of food grown on the ranch. Vegetables were measured in tonnes when harvested—there was an ice-house for the ranch meats. Everyday items, such as gunpowder, spectacles, and fabric were also sold. We found an old root cellar under the store where cold cheeses and veggies were kept. My oldest daughter has two milk cows and joked with her dad that she would move her cheese aging contraptions into that cellar. He kiboshed this idea, so the aged Gouda, cheddar, and brie are staying in the rock-walled cellar under our old house. But now we have a great walk-in freezer

space for our beef in the store—all the usual rib eyes and ground—also yummy jalapeno cheddar burgers, beef jerky, pepperoni, and Montreal smoked beef. It is with a sense of pride that we offer BC a product not available in stores. Dry aged, grass-finished, hand cut, and all by a local BC abattoir. We have a commercial farm kitchen that will also be the future home of some BBQ sauces and spice rubs, and a place to jar up the lovely honey foraged by the Onward bees. Along with modern and Food Safe features, we also kept old touches, such as a 1920s sink. Shortening the supply chain helps customers, who get to know their farmers. It also helps the environment. Connected with this new, exciting model for BC, I was chosen to represent Canada as a Nuffield Scholar. This involves travelling anywhere in the world to research my topic, “Farm to Door”—writing a paper, presenting nationally, then having my work stored on an international database. Nuffieldinternational.org has more info about this amazing program that builds excellence in agriculture. Ty and I already teach the beef module for the

The d w n a i l d e e . r f kids run

Photo by Laureen Carruthers Photography LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022


Applied Sustainable Ranching program, and helping others learn and grow has been amazing. The Nuffield experience is accelerating this collaborative and sharing atmosphere. I attended a conference in Norfolk, England, that connected scholars from 15 countries. We laughed and cried and learned together. We were challenged to think—we debated, we brainstormed—and we presented to the British parliament. I was able to exchange fabulous ideas with a wagyu beef farmer from Japan and a Zimbabwe pork farmer. I had fascinating chats about grassland, grazing, and carbon sequestration with farmers from Brazil and Chile. Farmers from the Netherlands, Paraguay, Kenya, France, and more were also part of the week—and, with a hint of sadness, I was Skyping with a Ukrainian farmer. My two daughters then joined me on farm stays in England, Scotland, and Ireland. I can’t even express all that I learned—the conversations sitting in 300-year-old stone cottages, as we talked about how to serve customers, our duty to care for the land better, shortening the supply chain, our love for the livestock—all while drinking excessive amounts of very black tea and nibbling on warm soda bread. We walked the pastures, marvelling at the ancient stone walls and looking at the soil, grazing practices, and perennial mixtures. We stopped at farm stores

carrying Devon cream, full frames of honey, and all manner of meat pies. It was a beautiful season of baby lambs and daffodils—the girls helped deliver stuck twin lambs for the first time. Meanwhile, Ty was calving out our own black angus and speckle park herd with the two youngsters. If you run into him downtown, shake his rough rancher hand and let him know how much he is appreciated for holding down the fort. Also, as part of the Nuffield journey, I have interviewed four abattoirs in Hawaii and studied ways that ranchers are connecting directly with customers there. I spent time on papaya, coffee, honey, rum (45 heirloom sugar cane varieties going into it), pastured pork, and fruit farms. Each conversation, each meal together, every moment together with these farmers has been enriching. So, we know if you are reading this magazine, you are interested in where your food comes from and you are interested in good food. We encourage and celebrate you on your journey! May we cross paths and be able to chat more! Ingrid Johnston | Onwardranch.ca | @onwardranching Ingrid Johnston is a fiddler, rancher, and teacher who loves gardening and knowing deeply where her food comes from.

Photo by Laureen Carruthers Photography 36

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Photo by Laureen Carruthers Photography

Photo by Laureen Carruthers Photography



GARLIC SCAPE PESTO Great on toast, pasta, potatoes, anything. Recipe by Terri Smith

INGREDIENTS 2-3 garlic scapes ¼–½ cup grated parmesan cheese ½ cup walnuts ¼ cup olive oil salt and pepper 1. Whirl the scapes in the blender or food processor until finely chopped. 2. Add cheese and seeds or nuts and whirl again then with motor running pour oil in a steady stream. 3. Add salt and pepper to taste.


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Eat Well, Live Well, Sta-Well

natural supplements, bulk foods, groceries, homeopathic remedies seasonal local produce and so much more! family owned and operated

proudly supporting the community since 1977

250-392-7022 stawellhealthfoods@gmail.com

79 D Third Avenue North Williams Lake, BC LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022


finding JOY in self sufficiency at stonerich farm in horsefly, bc BY ERIN HITCHCOCK | PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY PAUL HEARSEY AND SANDY MCNIE


hen Paul Hearsey and Sandy McNie say they love gardening, they really mean it. “I just love seeing those carrots and potatoes come up,” McNie says. “It’s such a wonderful feeling to grow your own food.” Living as close to a self-sufficient lifestyle as possible, the pair grow all of their own vegetables, have an orchard and root cellar, tap birch trees, and live in an off-grid home on 40 acres in Horsefly, BC, at their StoneRich Farm. Hearsey and McNie, who just celebrated their 25th anniversary, met as co-workers in a long-term care hospital on the coast, where they both shared a love of gardening and good food. They decided to retire in Horsefly from Salt Spring Island about 14 years ago, as McNie’s brother Bob McNie lived in Williams Lake, and she wanted to be closer to him. Though it may be easier to garden on Salt Spring Island, which has a plant hardiness zone of 8, they knew they would have no problem continuing to do so in Horsefly, a zone 3, as they both had many years of experience. “We said, ‘Of course we can garden!’ so we just started gardening,” says McNie, who is also Horsefly’s Fall Fair president.


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Starting with a 2,500-square-foot garden, they continued to expand. Now they have a 6,000-square-foot vegetable garden, in addition to the original one that is now mostly dedicated as an English country-style flower garden, as well as a 20x40-foot unheated greenhouse and an 8x15foot root cellar that is set into a hillside. A second 12x40foot greenhouse is planned to go up this summer. “There was no soil in our garden spot, but there was sun,” she says, adding that they brought in soil, did alternate planting, added green manure and made compost to keep building up the soil.

They estimate they could probably go a full year with the food they have, storing it in their freezers and root cellar, and they can their produce, as well. They also have a few chickens that provide them with eggs. Furthermore, they tap birch trees. Hearsey has set up a reverse osmosis system, which takes about 80 percent of the water out, leaving a concentrate of sap that can be then cooked down to make birch syrup. That is still in the beginning phase, however. “Right now we just drink the sap right out of the tree,” McNie says. “It’s a spring tonic. It’s delicious.” Living a self-sufficient lifestyle carries a lot of meaning to the couple. For McNie, in addition to simply loving the experience of it, the health benefits of consuming fresh, organic food is especially important, as well as knowing where their food comes from. Plus, she says, gardening keeps them fit and healthy, and it’s enjoyable to share their vegetables and heritage seeds with others. For Hearsey, it’s also about having food security and not needing to rely on external sources. “When we had the 2017 fires… we had lots of fuel, lots of water, lots of food,” says Hearsey, who is the president of the Horsefly Community Club and has been instrumental in helping the community hall get a new commercial kitchen (see related story in this issue of Local Dirt magazine).

“My greenhouse is just full of all of the lovely things a greenhouse should be full of,” McNie says, listing a variety of produce grown in it, including corn, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, beans and greens of all kinds. They enjoy overwintering their spinach, using a floating row cover so it gets an early start, and also grow Asian greens, mizuna, arugula, lettuce, cabbage, potatoes, onions, garlic, beets, and rutabagas. They also grow saskatoons, raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, currants, haskaps, cherries, apples and plums. “We don’t grow what we don’t like,” Hearsey says. “We grow what we like to eat.”

Their home is off-grid, super insulated, and has photovoltaic panels, a solar hot water system, and a wood cookstove. Though there is hydroelectricity on the property, they built their home as an off-grid house simply because they wanted to, not because they had to, Hearsey says. Hearsey and McNie also hold occasional garden and home tours. Email them at parsleybed@netbistro.com to get in touch. The Williams Lake Garden Club will also stop by July 23. Anyone interested in joining the tour can contact the garden club at gardenclubwl@gmail.com. Erin Hitchcock is a freelance journalist, with a focus on environment and sustainability. She lives with her husband and two children east of Williams Lake.

They have a cabbage salad nearly everyday, as it seems to help with McNie’s arthritis. “We didn’t actually know we liked cabbage,” Hearsey says. “We grew a little bit. We ate it, we grew more, we ate more and we got to the point where we have probably coleslaw five days out of seven.” They grow as much as they can of everything they enjoy eating and are in the process of growing half an acre of wheat. Currently, McNie grinds her own flour using organic wheat she buys and makes her own bread from it. They also plan to restore a 1950 Massey Harris antique combine harvester and use that to collect their wheat. LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022


MAKE DIRT, NOT METHANE Compost at home to keep food waste out of the landfill and dollars in your wallet By Tera Grady, Supervisor of Solid Waste Management for the Cariboo Regional District


oday is the perfect time to start composting or ramp up production of nutrient rich soil in your existing compost pile. A low green house gas (GHG) emission compost pile will have a good balance of carbon to nitrogen and a continuous supply of oxygen. If your compost isn’t breaking down, or if it smells terrible, it’s because one or both are missing. Compost piles should be layered with veggie/fruit waste and a carbon source, like leaves. Compost needs ongoing access to oxygen and ideally should be aerated (stirred up) weekly. Why should you compost? Because leaving your veggie and fruit waste in the garbage creates methane gas, increases landfill leachate production, takes up space in the landfill, costs money to transport, and wastes the nutrient content of the food. In oxygen deprived landfills, organics don’t get a chance to break down into compost or soil. Rather, they slowly decompose and release methane gas in the process. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with 86 times more global warming potential than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period and landfills are responsible for about 23 percent of Canada’s methane emissions¹. All landfills create leachate, but leachate production can be limited by the amount of moisture present in the waste. Organics contain over 60 percent moisture (by weight), which turns into leachate as the organics decompose. Leachate travels through other waste and collects contaminants. If landfills don’t have leachate collection systems, contaminants could transfer into the ground; if they do have leachate collection systems, the contaminants must be managed, which is a costly process. Lifespans of landfills are measured in volume by how many years of waste will fit into existing landfill footprints. If the amount of waste going into each of our landfills is reduced, there will be more years of use, which is an excellent reason to divert as much as we can from our landfills.


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Organic waste is heavy because of its moisture content, and waste disposed of at transfer stations is hauled to regional landfills, which is generally paid for by the tonne. This is another good incentive to divert the heavy organics out of our garbage and turn them into nutrient rich soil for yards or gardens. The nutrients from food waste cannot be used if they are mixed up in landfill leachate, but they can be used in your compost. Even if you only turn your finished compost out onto your lawn or place it around the base of the trees or shrubs in your yard, the nutrients will be put to good use. If composting has so many benefits, why isn’t there separate curbside food waste collection and food waste drop off at CRD landfills and transfer stations? This is a future service that the CRD’s Solid Waste Advisory Committee has included in a feasibility assessment as a part of the current Solid Waste Management Plan update process. The advisory committee is also looking at other ways to divert food waste from landfills, including a food waste reduction strategy because, according to the “Love Food Hate Waste Canada” campaign, 63 percent of all household food waste is avoidable. To learn more about the Solid Waste Management Plan update and ways you can participate, visit cariboord.ca/swmp. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognizes that Canada needs to accelerate action to address climate change to avoid the worst climate change impacts in years to come2. We can all take action to reduce the GHG emissions we produce. Composting food waste and minimizing the wasted food we generate are both great ways to start. 1 ECCC, National Inventory Report (NIR): Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada: executive summary, 2021 2 IPCC, Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 C, 2018








hen I was asked to write an article for the first edition of Local Dirt, it reminded me of my introductory soil science course, which is part of every agrologist’s undergraduate degree. One of the first things we learned is that there is no such thing as dirt in the science of soil. Soil structure (texture) was one of the first aspects of describing a soil in the northern temperate area, which is different in the warmer climates—something I learned later when working in the tropics. Most people, especially gardeners and farmers, will relate to a loam soil being nearly equal portions of sand and silt along with clay (20%). These are the three corners of the soil texture triangle. All three have similar chemical composition but differ in size. Sand (coarse and fine) is the largest, silt is finer than the smallest sand particles, which gives it a very slippery consistency when wet, and finally, clay is the smallest size particle. Clay is also slippery and sticky when wet and very hard when dry. Some people, like potters, seek out sources with a high clay content for their products. Since it has been some time since my soil course, I found some of the following information on the internet from westcoastseeds.com: “Minerals (those sand, silt, and clay particles) make up about 45% of the overall mass of soil, and nearly 90% is composed of the elements silica, iron, oxygen, and aluminum. Minerals play a mainly physical role in soil health. Water and air are both present in soil, and each account for around 25% of the soil’s mass. Water and air interact with the mineral components of soil in ways that affect drainage, aeration, compaction, and porosity. These are important factors when growing plants, as the roots of all plants need to penetrate soils easily, draw off mineral nutrients, absorb water, and exchange gases. Soil organisms also depend on the varying amounts of water and air present in soil. The remaining 5% of the mass of soil is made up of organic matter and humus.” I think the 5% of organic matter might be a little low and could vary depending on the soil type. One term that I was not familiar with was PEDs, which are described as follows by the Soil Science Society of America: “Ped shapes roughly resemble balls, blocks, columns, and 44

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plates. Between the peds are spaces, or pores, in which air, water, and organisms move. The sizes of the pores and their shapes vary from soil structure to soil structure. A soil’s texture and structure tell us a lot about how a soil will behave. Granular soils with a loamy texture make the best farmland, for example, because they hold water and nutrients well. Single-grained soils with a sandy texture don’t make good farmland because water drains out too fast. Platy soils, regardless of texture, cause water to pond on the soil surface.” Some soils are very new (for example, material left behind from retreating glaciers) while others are very old, like some I worked with in the tropics. I learned a new term—CLORPT—which is an acronym for five major factors that control how a soil forms. They are climate, organisms, relief (landscape), parent material, and time. Good soil maps are an important planning tool, especially for a province like BC because our rugged landscape has concentrated our best growing sites in our valleys and gentle slopes, which means difficult decisions about what should take place in these special but limited areas. While these high-level government decisions are important, people are also interested in the best places to plant gardens. A good place to start is determining the soil texture. With a little practice, anyone can learn the basics of determining a soil’s growing potential. The basic tools required are a shovel (my planting shovel is my first choice), a water bottle (for soil texturing and cleaning your hands after texturing), and a little manual labour. First, take time to review some good information sources on BC’s Soil Information Finder Tool as well as UBC’s Virtual Soil Science – Soil Classification. Many shortfalls in your existing soil can usually be corrected with the addition of organic matter and fertilizers, the more natural the source, the better. Good luck, and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Jim Hilton is a professional agrologist and forester who has lived and worked in the Cariboo Chilcotin for the past 40 years. Since his retirement he has been spending his time with a number of volunteer organizations, including community forests. WWW.LOCALDIRTMAGAZINE.CA





uri Agapow is co-owner and operations manager of Hanceville Cattle Company. Purchased in the fall of 2016, it has been in operation since the fall of 2017.

Hanceville Cattle Company ranges cattle seasonally on about 60,000 acres of wild Chilcotin landscape in Hanceville and north of Alexis Creek. There is a range in elevation and topography, including grasslands, meadows, forests, lakes, and rivers. The cattle co-exist with an abundance of wildlife, and they enjoy clean air, endless water, and wild forage. Juri had 17 years’ farm and cattle ranching experience in Alberta, running around 40 head of cattle. His wife, Irinel, worked as a horse trainer and breeder. “In 2016, we decided to move away from Peace Country,” Juri said. “We wanted to go to a place where there were mountains. We fell in love with the Cariboo country and found our dream place in the Chilcotin.” A forest engineer by trade, Juri had always assumed that farm, ranch work, and horse breeding would be a side-gig, and that he would semi-retire and work as a forestry consultant. They arrived at their new ranch with two pet cows and no idea that their future would unfold beyond their wildest dreams.

with him on the cattle production,” Juri said. “We decided to give it a go.” He said that to this day it’s the differences between he and Randy that make it work. “Randy excels at business, marketing, and public relations,” Juri said, adding that his experience and interest make him good at the solid ranch work and management. “We trust each other 100%, and we’ve both learned a lot.” The project grew very quickly, with Randy inspiring and growing the big picture and with Juri and his wife on the day-to-day management of the ranch. “I thought maybe we’d have 50 head or so in the back yard, but we bought our first herd of about 70 animals and now have a total of about 450,” Juri said. “We like the specialty breeds, like the Belted Galloways that people call ‘Oreo’ cows. It’s an old Scottish Highland breed that thrives on poor soil and scarce food: much like here.” In the beginning of the Hanceville Cattle Company operations, they sold their grass-fed, grass-finished beef to Randy’s restaurant. Working with a local slaughterhouse was a success, with Randy knowing exactly what cuts to request from the butcher.

When they bought their new ranch, the neighbouring place was for sale, too. Randy Jones, a restaurant chef from Pemberton, bought the place with the vision to grow his own beef for his restaurant, One Mile Eatery.

Through his culinary background and connections, Randy started marketing to other restaurant chefs. He did presentations for these other chefs, showing the best way to cook, prepare, and present the specialty, grass-fed meat.

A chef by trade, Randy didn’t know a lot about animal husbandry, but Juri did. “Randy told us about his vision for raising cattle and said he needed someone to work

Hanceville Cattle Company met with success at many farmers’ markets, including Williams Lake. They expanded to markets in Vancouver and on the lower mainland,


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They arrived at their new ranch with two pet cows and no idea that their future would unfold beyond their wildest dreams.

catering to food-savvy customers and providing all kinds of cuts for true culinary variety. “Randy was really good at adding more value to our products and helping customers get the most out of them,” Juri said. “He designed things like chillies, sausages, and meat pies, selling to supermarkets and to local First Nations gas/food stations.” Another diversified aspect of Hanceville Cattle is bees. Juri said that he’s always been a hobby beekeeper, adding that they have 25 hives on site. “The bees use the alfalfa in our fields, which is beneficial to us,” he said. “We produce alfalfa honey from our bees. Last year we got 1,500 lb of honey.” Hanceville Cattle Company products are available at their farm store and at Randy’s restaurant in Pemberton. People also order direct and get product delivered. Whether it’s steaks for a family barbeque or stocking a high-end restaurant with a range of beautiful meat, nothing is too big or too small for Hanceville Cattle. Juri said they work hard to give the animals a low-stress life. “We give them our best, and our customers appreciate that,” he said. “We go above and beyond for both animals and people.” For more information about Hanceville Cattle Company, visit hancevillecattleco.com, email juri@hancevillecattleco.com, or phone (250) 394-7149. LeRae Haynes is a freelance writer, song writer, and instigator of lots of music with people of all ages in the community. She fearlessly owns 12 ukuleles, clinging to the belief that you’re not a hoarder if you play them all. LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022



Sovereignty vs. Food



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here has been an overwhelming amount of uncertainty and upheaval over the last few years. There have been many times when I have felt afraid. But, whenever I am afraid or unhappy, I go to the garden. In the garden, I know what to do. In the garden I forget the difficult things and I marvel over the perfection of newly fruiting tomatoes, or the miracle of a butterfly’s wings. I feel a twofold sense of peace here as I observe and work with nature, for here I am replenished, and here also I grow the food that sustains us. I have written about food security for years. But it is only in this last year that I really realized it isn’t quite the right term. Food security really only tries to preserve the food systems we already have in place, and over these last few years we have seen just how broken those systems are. In BC, on top of everything else, we have watched our major transportation routes shut down repeatedly due to fires and unprecedented flooding. We watched the grocery store shelves empty almost overnight, and empty shelves became a common sight for the first time in most of our privileged lives. We have lost the ability to feed ourselves. And suddenly, things have become very uncertain.

movement that define the difference between security and sovereignty thus: “Food security does not distinguish where food comes from, or the conditions under which it is produced and distributed. National food security targets are often met by sourcing food produced under environmentally destructive and exploitative conditions and supported by subsidies and policies that destroy local food producers but benefit agribusiness corporations.”

“Food security does not distinguish where food comes from, or the conditions under which it is produced and distributed.”

Small, local farmers have been disappearing as regulations run them off the land. Sometimes quite literally. This is why food sovereignty is needed more than food security. Food sovereignty allows the people who eat, produce, and distribute food to also control the methods and policies of food production and distribution, while our current corporate food regime has put corporations and market institutions in control of the global food system.

Food sovereignty emphasizes ecologically appropriate production, distribution and consumption, social-economic justice, and local food systems as ways to tackle hunger and poverty, and it guarantees sustainable food security for all people. It advocates trade and investment that serve the collective aspirations of society. It promotes community control of productive resources; agrarian reform and tenure security for small-scale producers; agro-ecology; biodiversity; local knowledge; the rights of peasants, women, Indigenous peoples and workers; social protection; and climate justice.

The term “food sovereignty” was first coined in 1996 by members of La Via Campesina, an international farmers’ organization and grassroots

What I like most about food sovereignty is that, while I am hoping for policy changes, it doesn’t actually require waiting for policies to catch up.

We can start today. Right now. And we should. During these last few years, the small community of people I have grown even closer to as our social circles shrank have spent many hours talking about how we can all thrive, even while everything falls down around us. One important way is through food. A few of us in our community grow a lot of food. We share our labour in the production of food, and we get together to process it for winter. If we don’t grow it ourselves, we buy or trade for what we need from other local farmers. I have friends who come to the farm to help me with larger garden tasks, like garlic harvest and planting. The days they are here, time passes so happily and productively, and before I even know it, we have finished a task that would have taken me days alone. When harvest time comes, we gather to make sauerkraut and to can and to freeze. We have fun, we save money, and we provide for ourselves and our families. The growing and preserving and preparation of food is a beautiful thing, and when we take back control over how and what we eat, we are happier, we are nourished, and we feel less uncertainty about the future. -LD Terri Smith still teaches gardening workshops and she also teaches the magical art of needle felting through her new business: Something Magical. As well as forever identifying as a gardener, Terri is also a purveyor of wool, felting kits and supplies, and other bits of magic and art. She lives with her partner, Mark, and a few sheep and cats on a small farm near Quesnel. She can be found at www.somethingmagical.ca Further reading: www.foodsecurecanada.org/whowe-are/what-food-sovereignty www.changeforchildren.org www.weseedchange.org LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022


Photo submitted by Pam Lussier.



f you want to “meat up” in Williams Lake, the best place to do that is Margetts Meats on South Mackenzie Avenue, across from the main entrance to the Stampede Grounds. This family-owned business has been in that location for 20 years and many agree it contributes to the quality of life in the community and addresses food security by providing an outlet for other growers and suppliers. Besides providing quality meat products and custom cutting, Margetts offers an outlet for other local producers of fruits, vegetables, honey, bread, baking, coffee, homemade meals, mustards, spices, and garlic products. What you can count on in Margetts is quality. One of the delectable trademarks is the wide variety of in-house sausages produced in the store. This range includes fresh frying sausages of many descriptions with interesting flavours like chipotle, English bangers, mild and hot Italian, and others, or how about a coil of bacon and maple flavoured breakfast sausage? Most days, your senses will be titillated by the aroma of the in-store smoker. Home smoked pepperoni and garlic sausage trade places on the racks with an array of beef and pork smokies—Jalapeno with cheese or just plain. Margetts Meats had humble beginnings. It started out in 1985 when John Margetts opened a store in the Hodg-


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son Mall next to the barbershop, just down from the post office. The town’s butcher shop had closed and he saw an opportunity. John learned the trade from McKenzie Meats on Oliver Street when he was just out of school. He ran the shop on his own the first year, then in 1986 he was joined by his brother Steve. “So there were two of us,” Steve says. “I was working in the sawmill making $20 an hour, and I left that for a job paying $5.50 an hour.” Steve says he learned from John on the job. Always resourceful, Steve drove school bus for 23 years to supplement his income, and was a volunteer in the fire department for 10 years from 1988 to 1998.

Steve says. Until last year they carried Bella Coola Valley Seafoods products, but they are no longer in business. The store has a clientele from out of town. “We ship meat all over the place,” Steve says. “People phone for an order, then come up and take it back home.” Until recently, all the local supermarkets had their own butchers, custom cutting meat for customers. But that all changed. With the closing of Safeway, the last supermarket butcher service closed. Now all supermarket meats are prepared out of town.

“We know most of the customers coming in by name. The staff know everybody.”

After nine years in Hodgson Mall, Margetts moved to Peoples Foods on Highway 20, where they remained eight years. Then in 2002 they moved to their present location on South Mackenzie Avenue next door to the former Chuck’s Auto Supply.

“We’re the only cut in town,” Steve says. “If you want a thick steak or a special cut, you’ve got to come here.” And when you go to Margetts Meats you’re not a stranger.

“It’s been good,” Steve says. “We know most of the customers coming in by name. The staff know everybody.” Sage is a freelance writer based in Williams Lake. He has been enjoying the rich cultural life of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Coast since 1973. He is the author of the upcoming book, Talking to the Story Keepers [Caitlin Press, 2022].

A year and a half ago, Steve and his wife, Pam, purchased Margetts Meats from John. A lot has changed and a lot remains the same in the business John and Steve created nearly 37 years ago. For one thing, the number of employees has swelled to 13 from the one-horse show (and then two-man show in the 80s). But many of the quality suppliers are the same. Bill Lawrence, the uncle of John’s wife Maureen, owned a successful butchering business in Dawson Creek. He gave John credit to get Margetts Meat Market started in 1985, Steve says. Margetts still purchases quality meat products from Lawrence Meat today. “We import 500 to 600 pounds of Lawrence bacon a week from Dawson Creek,” Steve says, “and we get all our pork from there.” Margetts also gets fresh chicken out of Armstrong three times a week and frozen Hutterite birds from the Peace River. Then there are the organic milk products from Avalon Dairy. “Milk in glass jars,” Steve says. “Milk, cream, butter, eggs, yogurt, and cheddar cheese.” A big seller are Laura’s fruit pies from an orchard in Salmon Arm, and Simon’s meat pies from Richmond. Wild salmon is brought in once or twice a week from the Lower Mainland. “We try not to use anything farmed,” LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022


Paul Hearsey in the newly completed Horsefly Community Kitchen. Photo: Lisa Bland

Horsefly’s New Commercial Community Kitchen Ready To Open BY ERIN HITCHCOCK


fter more than two years of major renovations, Horsefly will finally have a brandnew commercial kitchen at the Community Hall. Paul Hearsey, president of the Horsefly Community Club, says the previous kitchen was “hopelessly inadequate,” with no potable water. “It could never have passed the new health regulations, so we tore it all out and started again,” he says. The new, full-fledged commercial kitchen is expected to be completed by mid-May. It features an Italian commercial dishwasher capable of doing a load of dishes in 60 seconds, and a restaurant range from North Carolina with six burners, a griddle, and two ovens, as well as a separate pair of stacked electric wall ovens. Tapping into his knowledge from past work in the healthcare field, Hearsey was able to redesign and help gut the existing kitchen, ensuring health regulation and licensing requirements would be met. The Cariboo Regional District contributed funds for the drilled well project to support the kitchen, and 52

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the community kitchen project funds came from Northern Development Initiative Trust, Williams Lake Community Forest, the Horsefly Women’s Institute, community members, businesses, and donors, with volunteers helping out when they could. “Between me and two other volunteers—Owen Knox and Mo O’hara—we’ve put in 1,327 volunteer hours and counting on the project,” Hearsey says, adding that the 67-year-old building needed all the old plumbing torn out and replaced with lead-free piping. The new well is also tied to a water treatment system to meet modern drinking water standards. The renos took longer than originally expected due to COVID-related supply chain delays getting materials, fixtures, and appliances. Now, the Horsefly Hall will be able to hold community events and celebrations, such as monthly breakfasts, similar to the nearby community of Miocene, and events such as the Arts on the Fly Festival, the Old-Fashioned Horsefly Community Christmas, Horsefly Women’s Institute functions, banquets, memorials, and 4-H events.

“Health inspectors want to see food prepared in a licenced kitchen, and we want to be able to hold functions for the community,” Hearsey says. There are people in the community looking for a commercial kitchen to rent, and ranchers producing meat products are required to use a commercial kitchen for such purposes. It will also help the hall better serve the community in emergencies as a place to access information, food, and clean water. “During the 2017 wildfire season, some community members were unprepared and didn’t have access to food and water for a short time,” Hearsey says. “The Horsefly Community Hall will be central meeting place for all community emergencies, where people can access meals, phone and internet, and up-to-date information from a fire department liaison. The new community kitchen brings the capacity to cook and serve meals entirely in-house.” Erin Hitchcock is a freelance journalist with a focus on environment and sustainability. She lives with her husband and two children east of Williams Lake.






ixteen years ago, a group of farmers, concerned citizens, and aspiring healthy eaters purchased shares to buy 133 acres of heritage farm property near 100 Mile House, and Horse Lake Community Farm Co-operative was born.

their North Vancouver home and purchased 11 acres on Rose Lake along the Horsefly Road and began implementing their dream of a rural agriculture commune. They were known then as Ochiltree Organic Farm.

Lead proponent behind forming the co-op was Community Enhancement and Economic Development Society (CEEDS), a group with a long history of organic farming in the Cariboo.

In 1975, they sold the Rose Lake property and moved to the Borland Meadow in Miocene owned by Willie Wiggins. There they adopted the philosophy that renting and leasing property for agricultural purposes was preferable to owning title to the land.

CEEDS started as an experiment in communal living on Quesnel Lake in 1971 under the visionary tutelage of Jerry and Nancy LeBourdais. The following year, Jerry and Nancy sold 54

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Over the next ten years the group redefined its identity as Ochiltree Organic Commune and enlarged their

footprint to include several pieces of land from Horsefly to Riske Creek, producing a wide variety of products from vegetables to sides of beef, pork, bacon, eggs, lamb, and mutton. In 1985, Rod Endacott started the 100 Mile Farmers Market and the group from Ochiltree attended as vendors. “We started coming down to the 100 Mile Market and were given a warm welcome by the community,” says Rob Diether, one of the founding members of the group. That year they moved out of the Borland Meadow and started looking for a place to rent in the 100 Mile House area. Rob and his partner Lorraine WWW.LOCALDIRTMAGAZINE.CA

Co-op at $5,000 a piece and arranged a mortgage with Betty Johnson who held onto the title. At some point another member of the Co-op stepped forward to hold the mortgage, which the group began paying down with the rent paid by tenants of the property. The Co-op is run by a board of directors, and The Betty Place property is leased to three member farmers. CEEDS members Rod Hennecker and Karen Greenwood live on the property with a few head of sheep and some poultry. They also tend the large community garden with fellow tenant David Laing. Brian Considine is the third tenant who uses part of the property to pasture his Galloway cattle. Produce from the Betty Place is sold at the 100 Mile House Farmers’ Market.

Potato Harvest. LeBourdais found suitable accommodations at Webb Lake near Bridge Lake and spent the winter of 1985 there. “We started to make connections in the area, and we really liked 100 Mile House,” he says. Members of the organic commune spelled each other off at the various encampments they occupied across the region. Rob says there were lots of places to rent in the Bridge Creek watershed, and over the next four years the group pulled up stakes in Williams Lake and Miocene and relocated to the 100 Mile House area. In the process they rebranded themselves as CEEDS. “We decided to rent 160 acres on Horse Lake owned by Dick and Nancy Minato,” Rob says. “It was an old fishing camp and there were lots of little cabins, which was ideal for us.”

After 16 years, the Land Conservancy is no longer involved with Horse Lake Community Farm Co-operative. Presently the organization is structured as a for-profit co-operative. “Once we have paid off the mortgage, we will have the opportunity to restructure ourselves as a non-profit co-operative,” Rob says. “Our ability to purchase this agricultural property contributes to food security in our Cariboo region. We couldn’t have done it without the support and commitment of the people who stepped up to become shareholders.” For more information check out the group’s website horselakefarmcoop.ca. Sage is a freelance writer based in Williams Lake. He has been enjoying the rich cultural life of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Coast since 1973. He is the author of the upcoming book, Talking to the Story Keepers [Caitlin Press, 2022].

In 1989, they moved out of Webb Lake into a large farmhouse on Horse Lake Road known as the Alexander Place. “It was a giant house with seven or eight rooms, which was handy for us,” he adds. Around that same time, they found another place to rent where Bridge Creek flows into Horse Lake. The 133 acres owned by Betty Johnson became known as The Betty Place. In 2005, Betty Johnson wanted to sell, but CEEDS couldn’t afford the $400,000 price tag. “We couldn’t afford to buy,” Rob says. “Then we learned that the Land Conservancy of British Columbia had a program to preserve natural and heritage properties.” That was the impetus behind creating the Horse Lake Community Farm Co-operative, which was incorporated in August 2006. The group began selling shares in the

Solstice weeding. LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022




he North Cariboo Agricultural Marketing Association/FARMED (farmed. ca) is rolling out an exciting project that will have positive economic and social impacts on the region. By linking the farmers and ranchers of the North Cariboo with residents, the group is improving food security. This project, titled “Opportunities 2022 and Beyond,” builds on past projects that FARMED has championed.

FARMED (Farming - Agriculture - Rural - Marketing - Eco - Diversification) is a grassroots, industry led non-profit based in the North Cariboo. Established in 2006-07, the organization is volunteer- and member-based. Since its establishment, it has completed many worthwhile projects, including supporting the establishment of the Cariboo Regional District’s Agriculture Development Advisory Committee (ADAC); hosting conferences, workshops, and tours; and most recently, the North Cariboo Agriculture Awareness and Marketing Project. Phases 1 and 2 of that project included the development of the “North Cariboo Farm Country – Grown for You” brand, the installation of highway billboard signage north and south of Quesnel, refurbishing a kiosk promoting FARMED and local agriculture products and services, lamp post banners, signage, and three versions of the “Farm Fresh Product Map and Guide”.


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The project also has a strong emphasis on knowledge and skill set sharing. Opportunities 2022 and Beyond is a collaborative project focused on the creation and enhancement of partnerships and connections across the North Cariboo and beyond. A committee composed of both FARMED members and non-members has been meeting regularly since May 2021 to move the project forward. Grant applications have been written, presentations made, and partnerships formed. The project also has a strong emphasis on knowledge and skill set sharing. The project is focused on seven different components. It is recognized that this is a long-term project, and it may take several years for all the goals to be realized. The components are as follows: i) Create the fourth version of the “Farm Fresh Product Map and Guide” for the North Cariboo. The guide will be available both in a hard copy and digital format. ii) Develop an online, web-based interactive mapping tool that will connect producers to consumers and support food security. The site will include listings of local agriculture businesses with information on the products and services they offer and where they are available (farmers’ market, farm stand, retail outlet, etc.) and a listing of local agriculture / food security related non-profits. The site will incorporate the use of ArcGIS Story Maps (by Esri), which will enhance the site by providing a place to share stories about the farmers and ranchers that make the North Cariboo home, non-profits, the products, and some historical facts, using photographs, texts, and spatial information. It is the goal that this site will connect to other similar sites across the CRD and beyond.

vi) Create an updated inventory of regionally based businesses and non-profits supporting the agriculture/local food production/food security sector complete with a listing, by season, of the products grown and services provided; vii) List culturally significant wild foods regionally available in the North Cariboo with their Indigenous and Latin names and information on how to identify them, their traditional uses, sustainable harvesting tips, and the ecology in which they grow. This part of the project will be undertaken in partnership with the local First Nation communities who have expressed support for this project. FARMED is excited about this project and hopes that you will be, too. FARMED views this as an important step in celebrating the agriculture sector in the North Cariboo and in providing an avenue to further build awareness and information on what is grown locally and by whom. FARMED looks forward to working closely with other organizations, both within the Cariboo Regional District and beyond. If you wish to learn more, please reach out. We welcome folks joining the committee. For additional information on the project, please email farmed2007@gmail.com. To connect with the FARMED board of directors, please email info@farmed.ca.

iii) Update the FARMED Kiosk (located in LeBourdais Park, Quesnel) and highway billboard signage (located on Highway 97 north and south of Quesnel). This update will include the addition of signage promoting the interactive web-based tool. iv) Promote and market local farms and ranches online using 360 degree tours and videography. This may include drone footage. These marketing materials will be shared with the local farmers/ranchers who participate in the project and/or on the interactive web-based tool. v) Every successful project needs a celebration! Planning a celebratory event to launch the project. The aim is to hold the event on a local farm, and it will include a ribbon cutting, demonstrations, farmers’ market, local food, entertainment, historical presentations, and other goodies. LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022



PETÁK PRODUCE – Stswecem’c Xgat’tem’s Market Garden




or the past ten years, members of the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem (Canoe Creek Dog Creek) First Nation have been bringing produce grown in their 3.57-acre Peták Produce community garden to the Williams Lake Farmers’ Market. Most Fresh and Pure as Springnotable are their abundant crops of squash and potatoes. In Secwepemc, “Peták” means potato.

Food sustainability and food se­curity are important for the overall health and well being of our com­munity.

There’s probably no better growing site in the Cariboo than the fertile benchland above the Fraser River where Stswecem’c Xgat’tem established their farm at Spring Gulch. The extreme heat along the river easily reaches 40 degrees C during a normal summer. The limiting factor is water. “We grow everything there,” says Stswecem’c Xgat’tem General Manager of Economic Development, Clayton Harry. “Beans, zucchini, onions, spaghetti squash, and potatoes.” He says much of the produce is consumed by the community with the excess brought to the farmers’ market. In the five years he has been involved with the project, Clayton has watched it flourish. “The garden has always been exciting for me,” he says. “But it’s more about the community, providing produce for the people.” He gives credit for the garden’s success to his long-time staff Joyce Harry, Bert Samson, and Bradley Johnson. “They are dedicated and do a pretty awesome job,” Clayton says.


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He adds that the soil is deep and fertile but having enough water is an issue. “I’m always working to improve our operation. Our goal this year is to upgrade the water system.” Part of Clayton’s responsibility is to seek out funding from various sources like Agriculture Canada to finance the goals and needs of his community. Food security means investing in the people and the land to make projects like the community farm viable. “We hire three or four full-time staff and also summer students,” he says, “and travel costs to bring the farm’s products to market are prohibitive.” Due to its remote location 100 km south of Williams Lake down the Dog Creek Road, Stswecem’c Xgat’tem is literally off the edge of official government maps. The two villages of Stswecem’c (Canoe Creek) and Xgat’tem (Dog Creek) that make up the community are only 23.7 km apart. Yet they are in two different regional district jurisdictions and two different school districts. Xgat’tem is in the Cariboo Regional District and Dog Creek School is in school district 27, headquartered in Williams Lake. Stswecem’c, on the other hand, is in the Thompson Nicola Regional District in Kamloops and lies in the catchment area of the Gold Rush School District 74 based in Ashcroft. However, Rosie Seymour School in Stswecem’c is a band-run school. Historically, Stswecem’c and Xgat’tem were separate communities independent from each other. WWW.LOCALDIRTMAGAZINE.CA

Then the population suffered a dramatic decline in the mid-1800s due to the smallpox epidemic and impacts from colonization. With their dwindling numbers, the Canadian government amalgamated the two communities, naming them Canoe Creek Band. The Pet’ak Produce community garden is only one of the projects for which Clayton Harry is responsible. “I oversee numerous businesses for the community, but I do it through my managers,” he says. “For example, I oversee the community store in Xgat’tem, but I have a manager in place. I also oversee our forestry business, but I have a forester in place.”

One of the more interesting projects is Big Bar Guest Ranch, which the community purchased in the fall of 2018. “There are some exciting opportunities here,” Clayton says. The place came with 30 horses, the lodge, and a few guest cabins. Then COVID-19 pretty much eliminated the tourism industry for two years. But now things are picking up. Clayton said they invited Thomas Schoen to develop mountain bike trails for the lodge, which will complement horse trails and routes for motorized vehicles like ATVs for lodge guests.

The Stswecem’c Xgat’tem forestry projects include range restoration, firefighting, layout, and roads. “Everything but logging,” he says.

Ironically, one thing that helped the guest ranch financially was the Big Bar slide two years ago. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans and various contractors working to remediate the damage caused by the slide booked the lodge for accommodations.

Meadow Lake Ranch is another acquisition Clayton oversees for the community. Currently, the property is rented out with grazing licenses.

So, Peták Produce is just one small piece of a much larger picture for the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem community moving forward.

“Spring Gulch Farm has the potential to expand its operation into a successful market-oriented program,” Clayton says. “One of the goals of our community is to promote agriculture as one of the economic initiatives that can bring in revenue and create jobs, while leading the community toward a path of self-sufficiency.” He says food sustainability and food security are important for the overall health and well being of the community. “We use manure to fertilize the soil, plant winter crops, and practice crop rotation to develop the health of the soil. And we are proud members of the Williams Lake Farmers’ Market.” Sage is a freelance writer based in Williams Lake. He has been enjoying the rich cultural life of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Coast since 1973. He is the author of the upcoming book, Talking to the Story Keepers [Caitlin Press, 2022].



2022 Has Been a Spud-tacular Year for the Potato House! BY AMBER GREGG, PROGRAM COORDINATOR

A young gardener examines the soil in one of the Potato House’s community garden beds. Photo by Laureen Carruthers Photography.


he little blue and white house on the corner of Borland and 1st Avenue in downtown Williams Lake has been bursting with activity. Anyone who has been by the Potato House recently may have seen machines and contractors working in what appears to be a construction site. In 2021, the house had its old foundation replaced, and the work has continued to finish the new basement, restore the siding and porches, and rebuild the grounds. The Potato House Sustainable Community Society (Potato House) is thrilled with the progress; however, the organization’s staff and volunteers are also excited about projects planned for 2022. The Potato House has partnered with the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and WorkBC 60

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through a Job Creation Partnership program to build a 1,000-squarefoot veggie garden on the property. This project started in April and will contribute to local food security and food growing education. The organization has hired a contractor from Wells, BC, to review and update the tours that are currently offered, and to work with local stakeholders to create new tours that include Indigenous and LGBTQ2S+ history in Williams Lake. This project is thanks to funding by Heritage BC and the 150 Time Immemorial Grant Project. The Society has been fortunate over the years to receive generous funding for projects to restore and renovate the house and transform the grounds into lush, green space. Most residents are pretty familiar with the site, but for some guests, the Potato

House can be hard to find, as there is no signage to identify it. The Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society has provided funding so that the organization can have permanent signage created. Dwayne Davis has designed a sign to be painted and installed on the grounds, and Zirnhelt Timber Frames has generously donated their expertise to build the structure to hold the sign. With any non-profit organization, there is always a wish-list of projects and goals. The Potato House is grateful to be able to complete these items with support from local businesses, volunteers, partners, and funders. Each project allows us to support local businesses and organizations and increases the value of our wonderful community.






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Directory listings

Community/Organizations CARIBOO CHILCOTIN CONSERVATION SOCIETY, WILLIAMS LAKE Working within the community to promote a healthy environment as the basis of a strong economy and vibrant society. Programs include Water Wise, Waste Wise, Sustainable Living, and Watershed Health. 102-197 2nd Ave. N

250-398-7929 | conservationsociety.ca | coordinator@conservationsociety.ca

SPROUT KITCHEN REGIONAL FOOD HUB AND BUSINESS INCUBATOR, QUESNEL Sprout Kitchen offers regional food and agriculture businesses access to a shared commercial kitchen, specialty food processing equipment, cooler and freezer storage, workshops and other business services. 250-992-0958 | www.sproutkitchen.ca | sproutkitchenhub@gmail.com

Food/Farms continued… DRAGONFLY NATURALS, QUESNEL “Suppor�ng the journey to your best health.” Quality Supplements, Organic Foods, Sports Nutri�on, Organic Skin Care, Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products, Essen�al Oils, Gi�s, BC Jade, and more! 9am-5:30 pm, Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm, Sat | 436 Reid St. 250-992-7312 | khealthfoods@gmail.com | Find us on Facebook

FROM BEDS TO BOWLS, QUESNEL Market Garden farm located west of Quesnel in Baker Creek. We specialize in growing salad greens and tomatoes as well as unique varie�es of other vegetables, including beans, cucumbers, radishes, carrots, kale, broccoli, onions, garlic and much more. You can find us at the Quesnel Farmers Market. frombedstobowsl.ca | frombedstobowls@gmail.com

LAC LA HACHE BAKERY, LAC LA HACHE European Bread Specialist. Wholesale & Custom Baking. Retail Hours: Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri - 8am to 6pm. Also available at your favourite grocery retailers: FreshCo & Save On Foods. 4836 Hamilton Road. 250-396-4435 | fybetz.llh-bakery@netbistro.com | Find us on Facebook

Food/Farms BEAN COUNTER BISTRO, WILLIAMS LAKE Cozy coffee house and food bar offering BC and locally grown and harvested goodies and beverages. Made with love! Come and bask in our happy environment with friends or family! Hours: Monday to Friday 7:30AM to 3:30PM 180B 3rd Avenue North 250-305-2326 | beancounterbistro@gmail.com | Facebook & Instagram

PUDDLE PRODUCE FARM, WILLIAMS LAKE 1.5 acre cer�fied organic vegetable farm located in the Soda Creek valley. You can find us at every Tuesday and Friday farmers’ market in Williams Lake, on Long Table Grocery store shelves in Quesnel, or you can buy a share in our weekly veggie box program. 778-961-0600 | puddleproduce.ca | info@puddleproduce.ca

SPOKIN MOUNTAIN FARM, 150 MILE HOUSE BEE HAPPY HONEY, SODA CREEK Life is Sweet. Fine quality, local, raw honey since 1997. Alfalfa, clover, and wildflower honey. Introductory beekeeping lessons most springs with Diane Dunaway, Master Beekeeper. 250-297-6399 | beehappyhoney@dunawayranch.com

BIG BEAR RANCH, HORSEFLY Grass Fed and Grass Finished Beef and Lamb, Pasture Raised Heritage Pork. Animal Welfare Approved. Sustainability is maintained through biodiversity. We believe in the importance of a holis�c balance between land, plants, animals and people. Steffi, Florian, and Rainer Krumsiek. 250-620-3353 | www.bigbearranch.com | info@bigbearranch.com

BLUE SPOON CAT FLOWER CUTS FARMERY, WILLIAMS LAKE “By hand with love.” An urban cut flower farm that provides fresh cut flowers to the community and surrounding areas of Williams Lake. You will find us on Fridays at the Williams Lake Farmers Market behind Kiwanis park between 9am – 2pm. 250-303-1311 | bluespooncat@gmail.com | Find us on Facebook


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70-acre farm located at the base of Spokin Mountain. We are passionate about farm animal welfare and commi�ed to opera�ng with the environment in mind to improve our land and raise nutri�ous and healthy food. We sell lambs, lamb meat, and farm fresh eggs. Year-round greenhouse providing produce and cut flowers for sale in late spring. For more info visit: www.spokinmountainfarm.com

SPRINGHOUSE GARDENS AND GRASS FEDFINISHED BEEF, WILLIAMS LAKE Debbie Irvine B.Sc. (Agr.) RHN.Organically grown market garden veggies; Grass fed/finished beef–no hormones, no GMOs, no grain, no an�bio�cs. Enquiries welcome. 250-392-9418 | springhousedebbie@gmail.com

STA-WELL HEALTH FOODS, WILLIAMS LAKE Eat Well, Live Well, Sta-Well. Organic Foods, Natural Medicines, Emergency Freeze Dried Foods. Whether you need supplements for health or organic food for dinner, we have you covered! Tues–Fri 9am–5pm, Sat 10am–3pm | 79 3rd Ave. N. 250-392-7022 | stawellhealthfoods.ca | stawellhealthfoods@gmail.com


Food/Farms continued…

Local Businesses continued…

NEXT GENERAL - MERCANTILE + REFILLERY, WILLIAMS LAKE We are modern day mercan�le and refillery with focus on two things: suppor�ng canadian women-owned businesses and reducing plas�c waste through refilling containers! Come see us for local vendors + bulk essen�al oils, DIY ingredients, products for cleaning and hygiene care, and many other product op�ons to lessen your everyday footprint. 271 Oliver St.

INTO THE ELEMENTS, WILLIAMS LAKE Into the Elements offers horsemanship/equine and wellness based services on Fox Mountain, and throughout the Williams Lake area. Each of our programs is designed to facilitate the development of life skills, confidence, and self awareness, while promo�ng general wellbeing and connec�on to the natural world.

250-398-2167 | nextgeneralmercantile.ca | hello@nextgeneralmercantile.ca

250-392-0805 | www.intotheelements.ca | horses@intotheelements.ca



Stony Mountain Farm raises farrow to finish heritage pigs, pasture raised eggs, chicken, turkey and grass fed lamb. Lard based soaps also available and Chef prepared soups, broth and meals. All products are sold direct to consumers via online shop, monthly subscrip�on box “Ranch Club” and farmers markets. Check out our website for more details.

The best store in Williams Lake for Furnishings and Accessories. Appliances too! Savings, Service, and Sa�sfac�on since 1971. Four Floor Furniture Store. Appliances, Furniture, Bedding, Kitchen Supplies, Ma�resses, and so much more. Sourcing Local and Canadian Made. 99 North 2nd Ave.

604-815-9014 | www.stonymtnfarm.com | Find us on Facebook | Instagram

250-392-6933 | laketownfurnishings.com | Find us on Facebook



We roast the freshest coffee beans using careful hands-on roas�ng techniques. Organic and ethically sourced. Our fresh coffee beans are roasted per order, packaged and shipped directly to your door. See us at the Williams Lake Farmers’ Market Fridays 9am to 2pm. Call today to order.

Cobbler, Crystals, Curiosi�es. Curator of wondrous things. Jewellery, Handmade Soaps, Crystals, Statues, Singing Bowls, Vintage Wall Plaques, Incense, Natural Beauty Products, Exclusive collec�on of Sid Dickens Memory Blocks.

250-302-2631 | unclepaulsgourmetblends@gmail.com | Find us on Facebook

77A N. 2nd Ave. | 250-305-4187 | Find us on Facebook

WILLIAMS LAKE FARMERS’ MARKET Outdoors at Kiwanis Park–farmer direct to you! Locally grown produce, eggs, meat, fruit. Ar�sans, bakers, hot food, live music! Great food, bedding plants, carefully created arts and cra�s, beau�ful and useful things for you and your home—you’ll find it all at the Farmers’ Market. Fridays, 9am–2pm, May 6 to October 7, Tuesdays, 2pm–7pm, June 14 to September 27.

SOULSTICE HERBALS, 108 MILE RANCH Organic, loose leaf tea blends that nurture the body, mind, and soul. Aspiring tea sommelier Loralei Snider creates blends in small batches in stunning 108 Mile Ranch. Surrounded by the beauty of nature, her goal is to encourage people to take �me every day to relax, refresh, and reflect on the good things in life. www.soulsticeherbals.com | Find us on Facebook | Instagram

250-297-6553 | wlfm.manager@gmail.com | williamslakefarmersmarket.com

ZIRNHELT TIMBER FRAMES 150 MILE HOUSE Qualified Net-Zero Energy builder providing complete design-build services for custom homes, outbuildings and community buildings including daycares, administra�on buildings and health centres. Our industry-leading prefabricated building system minimizes construc�on �me and delivers consistent beauty, comfort and durability every �me.

WINDY CREEK FARM, MIOCENE At Windy Creek Farm we produce the kind of grass-fed beef that we like to eat. Our animals are raised in a peaceful free range, low density environment where they can thrive without the use of an�bio�cs, added hormones, vaccines, chemical pes�cides, grains or animal by-products. 250-296-3256 | grassfedbeefbc.ca | shawn.mcgrath1@gmail.com

Local Businesses

250-296-3499 | www.ZTFrames.com | admin@ztframes.com



Curbside compost pick-up right outside your front door! Our bucket exchange service provides you with a clean, five-gallon pail for your food waste weekly, and packs away the full one so you don’t have to deal with it! Closing the organics loop, right here in Williams Lake, BC.

3000 sq. �. Retail frontage, warehouse, kitchen, lounge, 2 sublet rooms, receiving desk, 2 working modules. This 14-year old, well established and reputable store is located on the most prosperous block of downtown Quesnel. Includes all assets, inventory, furniture and equipment.

778-764-1444 | cariboocompost@gmail.com

Serious inquiries to Marilyn at greentreehealth@uniserve.com


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250-620-0596 | www.earthdancebotanicals.com | Find us on Facebook

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Quality, natural, organic, and ethically harvested products. We sell blends of wildcra�ed/garden herb healing teas as well as salves and balms—including co�onwood, calendula, dandelion, and arnica. Wildcra�ed �nctures available. Infused honey, wild chaga, smudge mixtures, essen�al oil sprays, and more.




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your business could be here! info@localdirtmag.ca www.localdirtmagazine.ca LOCAL DIRT MAGAZINE / 2022


Unique. Eclectic. We invite you to Diverse. shop local. Northern BC is oneof ofour the region most colourful, diverse The character is and eclectic regionsby in the Canada. largely shaped unique businesses

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