All posts by jillianm

Beyond the Market Project Staff Changes

Farewell Jillian!

Community Futures 26After more than five years of service, our founding coordinator is moving on. We wish her the best of luck in her many roles as a Director for Integris Credit, a Councillor with the City of Prince George, and operator of her two businesses, Jillenium Consulting and the Plump & Juicy Garlic Co.

“Thank you to all those I’ve had the pleasure of meeting through this great project. Some of the stories you’ve been generous to share with me will remain in my memory through my lifetime. I’m very proud of what we’ve built for our northern farmers. Though I’m gone from the project, it won’t take more than a simple Google search to find me again. Please feel free to reach out to me in future.”

Welcome Christine!

Community Futures 19Christine Kinnie is a long-time employee of Community Futures, and now the coordinator of the Beyond the Market project. She be working to provide the same great services you’ve come to expect over the past year, adding her own personal touches, including exceptional customer service, marketing skills, and communications talents.  We hope you will welcome Christine to the food and farming community and reach out to make a connection with her. 

“I am excited to serve as coordinator for Beyond the Market, and have been very lucky to learn from Jillian as she has passed her knowledge on to me. I am looking forward to contributing my passion and dedication to the community on this project.”

Green Wheel Farm

Bill Pirillo produces a wide variety of market garden vegetables on his farm in Vanderhoof, B.C. Bill offers a CSA share program to Vanderhoof area customers in teh spring and summer seasons, as well as eggs from pastured chickens year-round.


CSA Share; Vegetables; Eggs


Direct Sale


(250) 567-0828

15745 Mapes Road, Vanderhoof, BC, V0J 3A1

Blog: Using Small Technologies on Your Farm

By Diandra Oliver

Agriculturalists and farmers rejoice! You are celebrated for being at the forefront of technology use since the dawn of time. You are resourceful and can always make something out of nothing. Maybe it’s because you always have supplies on hand to fix that thing, or because, in a pinch, you can change your day around for a surprise birthing. You can even push a neighbour’s vehicle out of the ditch with your own two hands, and yet, getting a crop plan out of your memory and into a recurring App on your tablet is kind of a pain, if it works at all. Maybe the thought of reaching your customers via your Facebook page instead of at the Farmer’s Market might be completely foreign to you, but bringing technology that works for you and fits with your business on the farm is actually pretty easy and low-cost too!

Picking Technology that Works for You

In northern BC, the image of a farmer tracing their fields on a tractor, iPad in hand, is almost laughable. It’s hard to track field data when there’s no internet signal or the expensive farm management software you purchased does not have up-to-date GPS maps of your land. Before you go forward with adopting a new technology, device or program for your farm business it’s first important to assess your business needs, your own skills and your access to devices themselves. Use our handy Self Assessment Tool as a guide to determine which of your farm activities need support and what tools and resources you have available to make them better with technology.

Getting the Right Hardware

Once you have an idea about the kinds of programs you want to use, it’s important to consider your access to devices and internet service. Across northern BC, every community has a different service provider (satellite, dial-up, high speed, at the library only, great cell service, etc) and a different store or technician to get computer equipment or mobile devices from. Getting your hands on well priced, durable and adaptable technologies is not as hard as it seems. Take some time to do some research (, ask your friends and neighbours about what they like best and use often. Figuring out what works within your budget and can get more than one job done will save you lots of time, money and frustration in the long run.

Using Programs that Make Your Life Easier

There’s a fine balance between choosing a small business or farm management program that meets your needs, works on the devices you have and with the internet connection you have and is both easy to use and adaptable. Here is a list of our favourite technologies to get you started. Most are free or low-cost and relatively easy to get along with. Taking initiative to get one or a few of these up and running with your farm business can go a long way in reducing your load, giving you just a bit more time to do some other things you love.


Proposal for a Province-Wide Community Based Extension Program

We would like to make a special request of our valued community and followers.

We have been running a community-based agriculture extension program in northern BC for the last five years and have witnessed some incredible achievements of the farmers we work with. We believe that we’ve developed a great program model, especially for new and young farmers in BC.

We are now pitching a model for provide-wide community-based extension service to the Minister of Agriculture. We made the pitch earlier this month and are now soliciting letters of support from farmers and agencies across the province. We hope to deliver these letters in a package to the Minister in October.

If you, your farm, your business or your organization would be willing to provide a letter of support for this program, it would be greatly appreciated!

Download the details of our proposal and a template for a letter of support below

Feedback, comments and questions are most definitely welcomed and can be sent directly to me at or by way of phone conversation. Fax and mailing info is included in the signature below.

Help us secure the future of our amazing program and reach farmers all across the province.

Jillian Merrick
Project Coordinator
Beyond the Market
P: 250-562-9622 F: 250-562-9119
1566 7th Ave, Prince George, BC, V2L 3P4

Small Business Technologies Facilitator Wanted

Community Futures Fraser Fort George is seeking a qualified facilitator to develop and deliver a three hour seminar on technologies for small farm businesses in British Columbia. The seminar is to be delivered in the communities of Dunster, Prince George, Vanderhoof, Fort St. James, Smithers and Terrace in Fall/Winter 2015.


The purpose of the seminar is to introduce farm operators in northern BC to low-cost technologies that would improve the operations of a farm business, with a particular focus on software and mobile technologies. The seminar should consist of a short introduction that provides the farm operators a snapshot of the state of small business technology, with the remainder of the seminar focused on providing an overview of the purpose and function of at least twelve different technologies. Software and technologies showcased in the seminar should be designed to assist small farm businesses with the following tasks:

  • Inventory management
  • Traceability
  • Time management
  • Billing and payment systems
  • Branding and marketing strategies
  • Financial management
  • General farm management

Community Futures Fraser Fort George staff will work with the successful facilitator to provide feedback on the content of the seminars developed. Community Futures will manage all seminar registrations, promotions and logistics associated with the delivery of the seminars. Seminar dates are negotiable; however the successful proponent is expected to deliver one seminar in each the six communities over the course of a single week.

Interested proponents are invited to request more information or submit a proposal to Community Futures Fraser Fort George, attn.: Jillian Merrick,, 250-562-9622

The Traceability Adoption Program Is Open

If you attended our recent Simply Sheep seminar series hosted by Roma Tingle, you will have learned how Roma was able to purchase weigh scales for her farm through this program. Now Roma has kindly let us know that the program is open once again! The application process is clearly laid out, but let us know if you would like assistance. We will gladly assist you with the application process.

– JIllian Merrick

Funding applications are for the Tracebaility Adoption Program, and up to 75% cost-share funding is available!

Traceability/product tracing is the ability to follow the movement of an agri-food or seafood product through specified stage(s) of production, processing and distribution. It can be limited to critical points along the supply chain (e.g. livestock), or be “full-chain” from farm to fork (e.g. meat and fresh produce).

The objective of the Traceability Adoption Program (TAP) is to have increased implementation of facility-based traceability systems across the agri-food chain in primary and secondary agri-food  and seafood production sectors.

Success of the program will be measured by the number of on-farm and post-farm businesses having implemented traceability initiatives, by commodity or industry groups (as per the North American Industry Classification System).

The TAP will assist producers/farmers, food processors and agri-food businesses by assisting with specific costs relating to the purchase and installation of traceability infrastructure, and the training of staff to implement traceability systems for plants, animals and agri-food products.

What you need to do:
Step 1:
Complete Traceability Self-Assessment Questionnaire either online (will be emailed to ARDCorp when an account is made) or print and submit the PDF form below and submit with application.
Step 2:
Review the Program Guide and complete the TA Program Application form including all the supplemental documents, background information on your operation and a detailed overview of the required equipment and tasks to improve traceability on your farm or plant.
Step 3:
Submit complete application package to ARDCorp for approval via fax, email or mail.
Step 4:
Upon approval, complete your traceability improvement projects as outlined in your application including any additional modifications noted in your approval letter from the program.
Step 5:
Submit your claim, including copies of paid invoices (receipts), a summary of project completion and proof of achieved traceability for processing and reimbursement of funds
Financial Incentive
  • Cost sharing: 50% to 75%
  • Cap: $15,000

For more info visit the website:


Time to Scout your Fields for Grasshoppers

By Jim Forbes, BC Ministry of Agriculture

Last year we had quite a number of calls regarding grasshoppers. With the open fall we had and a relatively dry spring so far, 2015 is shaping up to be even worse than last year for grasshoppers.  I was in a field on Monday evening and came across a significant infestation of the little blighters at just the right stage for treatment.  For those of you with long memories, the Grasshopper Control Act was repealed in 1998 so you have been on your own with regards to controlling them for 17 years now.

The biggest key to successful treatment is to catch them early and at the right stage for the products to act before they have consumed much crop, and before you really have to saturate them with the product to kill them.  Catching them at the early stages means monitoring your fields now, when the grasshoppers are usually small enough that they are hard to notice.  By the time the grasshoppers are big enough that you can’t miss them, then you have already lost significant crop, have fewer options and those options may be less effective.  Here are some other points to consider:

Identify – Identification of species, abundance, and stage of development are all important factors in successfully controlling grasshoppers.  Of the approximately 60 species of grasshoppers in BC, only 4 cause appreciable damage (see the links below for species and pictures) and warrant control treatment, so it pays to know which ones you have.

Is Control worth it? – Usually the economic threshold for controlling grasshoppers is about 7-12 grasshoppers per square meter in the crop, 13 or over is considered severe and control is generally recommended.  You will find that the numbers tend to be almost twice as high by the roadside so it is important to walk out in the crop and do the survey (walk a W pattern in the field and count at a minimum of 4 points along each leg of the W).  For range it is best to  use the values from the roadside as in the table in this link: .

Option 1, Baits – There are two types.

Carbaryl bait can work well at the right stage (younger stages, 3rd instar) for short-term killing of the hoppers.

Nolobait {a biological control that is a microsporidial pathogen} takes more time to kill (3 to 6 weeks so does not reduce the damage as quickly) but can infect more of the population and can decrease populations in subsequent years without affecting other species.  It is available through Purity Feeds but must be ordered from the manufacturer as required as it has a relatively short shelf life, so you have to plan ahead:

Option 2, Spray – If you are going to spray (see options below), it is best when the majority are in the third or 4th stages (about 6-10 mm or less than ½ inch long), before they can use their wings.  Insecticides are generally require more care and attention to details than a lot of herbicides as they can have more acute toxicity issues for humans & livestock so it is advisable to hire a certified pesticide applicator.  Use with Cautionthere are also issues for non-target species to consider, particularly if there are beehives within a few miles. Get to know your local bee keepers and discuss your situation with them.

Option 3, Ride it out and encourage natural predators – Depending on which species of grasshoppers you  have you might not actually be experiencing damage; on the other hand, if you do have some of the 4 damaging species it is likely there will be some more around in years to come.  Some producers have had some success with putting up bluebird houses in areas that see chronic infestations – it doesn’t kill them all but it can help prevent some of the large build ups that can occur when the grasshoppers go unchecked. From my experience Blue grouse, wild turkeys and chickens also tend to favour grasshoppers as a food source.

More information about grasshoppers is available in these links:$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex6463?opendocument$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/faq6750$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex3497

Last year Robson at Purity provided the following information regarding grasshopper control options available at Purity Feeds

PLEASE NOTE that while the relative differences may be similar, prices will likely have changed significantly with the change in the US/CDN $ exchange rate.

1. Lagon 480 E (Dimethoate)

  • Registered for grasshoppers on pastures/range
  • Water volume is 80L/acre (21 gal/acre) for good coverage.
  • Chemical rate is : 220ml-400ml/acre. Use the 400 ml/acre rate when the grasshoppers are larger or heavy infestation.
  • Remove cattle when spraying.
  • 28 day pre-harvest and pre-grazing interval for the 400 lm/acre rate.
  • Cost/acre=$15.40/acre

2.  Sevin XLR (Carbaryl)

  • Registered for grasshoppers on pastures/range
  • Water volume is 80L/acre (21 gal/acre) for good coverage.
  • Chemical rate is : 1.0-1.4 L/acre. Use the 1.4L/acre rate when the grasshoppers are larger or heavy infestation..
  • Remove cattle when spraying.
  • 0 day pre-harvest and pre-grazing interval for Sevin XLR.
  • cost/acre=$29.72/acre

3. Malathion 85E (Malathion)

  • Registered for grasshoppers on pastures/range
  • Water volume is 80L/acre (21 gal/acre) for good coverage.
  • Chemical rate is : 0.40-1.1 L/acre. Use the 1.1L/acre rate when the grasshoppers are larger or heavy infestation..
  • Remove cattle when spraying.
  • 0 day pre-harvest and pre-grazing interval for Sevin XLR.
  • cost/acre=$32.70/acre

4. NoLo Bait (Nosema locustae spores)

Hopefully anyone who experienced issues with grasshoppers last year is already checking their fields. Even if you were OK last year, it pays to be vigilant.


Jim Forbes,
Regional Agrologist

Ministry of Agriculture
441 Columbia St.
Kamloops, BC, V2C 2T3
Ph: 250-828-4513”

17th Annual BC Food Systems Gathering

“Gathering and Growing Together” 

June 25th to 28th, 2015, Prince George, BC

The BC Food Systems Network is thrilled to announce that our 2015 Gathering will take place at Camp Friendship in Prince George, BC, in the traditional territory of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, on the weekend of June 25-28, 2015. This will be our 17th annual gathering.

Registration for the 2015 Gathering is now open.  To resister please go to the following link (you may have to cut and paste):

This year’s rates are:

– Early Bird Rate (till June 1st): $325
– Standard Rate (after June 1st): $350
– Semi-private Room Rate (two or three per room): $400
– Youth 12-18: $125
– Children 6-11: $65
– Children 5 and under are free!!

There are a limited number of partial subsidies available. Please contact the Gathering Coordinator ( to discuss how we might be able to support helping you to attend.

The Working Group for Indigenous Food Sovereignty will host their annual general meeting as a pre-Gathering event on Thursday, June 25th.  Please ensure that you register for this day if you plan to attend.  There is a separate registration fee for this day to cover the costs of accommodation and meals.  For those who cannot afford the fee there is an option on the website to register free as we want to ensure that the fee is not a barrier to participation of WGIFS members.

Rates include all workshops, accommodation and meals. Standard accommodations are 12 bed cabins, although there are also some rooms in the lodge with 2 or 3 beds per room. In order to reserve one of these rooms, please choose the “semi-private” accommodation type when you register. Extra charges will apply. We also have a limited number of rooms set aside for families, for elders and others with limited mobility at the regular rate. Please contact the Gathering Coordinator to discuss any specific needs.

* There is space available for those who would rather camp in a tent or bring a trailer.  Please indicate this when you register so that we reserve a spot for you.

* Please also indicate if you have any special dietary needs.

* If you have extra room in your vehicle or if you are looking for a ride please go to the “2015 BC Food Systems Gathering – Ride Share Page” on Facebook and connect with others from your community.

The 2015 Call for workshop proposals is currently open. We are looking forward to hearing your ideas for workshops, panels, roundtables, and discussion topics related to the theme “Gathering and Growing Together”. We are also looking for people who are willing to lead food demonstrations/ activities and artists who might be willing to graphically record the Gathering.  The Gathering Committee encourages all of you to share your knowledge and ideas for making the Gathering a meaningful and enriching experience. We also ask people to bring seeds, foods and resources to share and trade.  Please submit a one or two paragraph description of your proposed workshop, presentation, or activity (as well as a short bio) to Norine Messer, Gathering Coordinator ( by May 30, 2015.

For those who would like to sponsor someone facing financial barriers to attend the event please go to our donation page at:

We are also asking people to bring donations for out Silent Auction.

We hope that you will be able to join us for a wonderful time of meeting old friends, making new ones, and above all else forging new connections to one another and to our food systems.

For more information please go to our website or contact Gathering Coordinator, Norine Messer at

Farm Business Planning Bootcamp Series

Kick start your farm business with this intensive two-day business planning bootcamp designed specifically for the agriculture sector.

This event is open to farm business operators in all stages of business development, from start-up to expansion. The bootcamp will feature information, case studies, and hands-on exercises to help you create a draft business plan, covering topics such as:

  • Business frameworks
  • Production planning
  • Inventory & distribution systems
  • Time managment
  • Human resources
  • Industry research
  • Customer segments
  • Brand development
  • Financial forecasts
  • Start-up financing
  • and more!

Bootcamps will run 8:30am – 4:30pm each day and will include a one hour lunch break. Participants will be provided with a complimentary lunch on both days as well as a farm business planning workbook. The bootcamp is offered free of charge. Registration is required.

These workshops are supported by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.


About the facilitator

Jillian Merrick has served as coordinator of the Beyond the Market project for over four years, and is considered a regional expert for agricultural business start-up and transition. She employs a hands-on learning style with an emphasis on practical application and story-telling.




BTM_Poster_Biz_Bootcamps AAFC

Ravenwood Acres

Shelley, Brent & Chase Work produce heritage poultry, pork, and waterfowl on their farm based in Vanderhoof, BC.

Ravenwood Acres is a small scale hobby farm, located in Vanderhoof. We are dedicated to raising quality heritage poultry for Canadian climates! We offer a variety of dual-purpose breeds that are cold hardy, prolific winter layers, and have good utility.  We specialize in Chantecler – the only breed created in Canada for our climate – as well as others such as Russian Orloff, Ameraucana, Faverolles, and Brahma to name a few.  We have some fun breeds too, including a selection of bantams – Cochins, Wyandottes, and the fabulous Silkie – that are perfect for introducing children to poultry!  We love providing projects for 4-H kids!  We also run a flock of Welsh Harlequin and Muscovy ducks, for both eggs and utility, as well as beautiful Sebastopol Geese who earn their keep as lawn ornaments! We offer chicken/duck eggs for hatching and consumption, chicks, ducklings and occasionally young/old stock for sale to breeders, farmers, and backyard enthusiasts across the country.  For those who don’t have the facility to hatch their own fowl, we recently began offering custom incubation services as well.  We breed heritage Tamworth pigs and produce weaners for sale in spring and fall. We hope to add some goat products in the near future.”

ravenwood acres


Chicken/Duck eggs for hatching and consumption, Chicks/Ducklings by custom order, Custom incubating, Weaner pigs and pork, Goat products coming soon!


Direct sale/farm gate. Heritage fowl hatching eggs/chicks in spring. Weaner pigs available spring and fall. Excess fowl stock available in fall.


(250) 567-4818