Category Archives: Announcements

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

Request for Presenters

Beyond the Market is an economic development strategy, administered by Community Futures Fraser Fort George, which supports the local food and agriculture sectors across the BC Highway 16 region. We provide promotion, coaching, training and extension services to local farm businesses.

Beyond the Market is currently seeking qualified individuals to lead training and development workshops for the agricultural sector in the BC Highway 16 community. Topics of interest include:

  • Livestock care and handling
  • Livestock genetics and breeding
  • Grazing and pasture management
  • Forage production
  • Horticultural production
  • Season extension
  • Value-added production
  • New markets
  • Niche markets
  • Retail and wholesale distribution
  • Sales and customer services
  • Branding and marketing
  • Financial literacy
  • Business planning
  • Tools and technologies
  • Succession planning
  • Human resources
  • Women and youth in farming
  • Much more…pitch us your idea!

Beyond the Market seminars are organized in several BC Highway 16 communities at multiple times throughout the year, typically in November, January, February and March. Seminars are delivered to the communities of Dunster, Prince George, Vanderhoof, Fort St. James, Smithers, Terrace and others within the service region. Workshop logistics are handled by Beyond the Market staff. Workshops that run 2-4 hours in length are sought for weekday evening sessions or conferences, and full day workshops are sought for weekend intensive training sessions.

If you are an expert in one or more of the fields listed above and can deliver an informative, engaging and detailed workshop to our farming clients, we would encourage you to submit a proposal to become a series speaker.

Submission should include:

  • Details about you and a listing of credentials
  • Examples of relevant past work
  • Workshop topics you could deliver and the length of time required for delivery
  • An indication of your schedule availability
  • Number of days you are willing to travel in a row
  • Expected remuneration

*Please note: Beyond the Market will cover travel costs to and from the service delivery area. An estimate of accommodation and meals allowances should be included in the expected remuneration.

Beyond the Market will receive submissions on an ongoing basis. The first of the 2014 workshop series is anticipated to run in November 2014. Preference will be given to speakers that demonstrate a knowledge base relevant to northern BC farmers. Experiential knowledge is critical. Preferred seminars will delve into deep detail, rather than deliver high-level overviews, and may require a full day or more to deliver. Seminars that include exercises, hands-on guidance, examples, personal experiences and take-away materials for participants are encouraged.

Further questions and submissions can be directed to:

Jillian Merrick
Coordinator, Beyond the Market
c/o Community Futures Fraser Fort George
1566 7th Ave, Prince George, BC, V2L 3P4
250-562-9622 ext. 115

New Mobile Farm Bookstore Launched

IMG_0779In April 2014, Beyond the Market began its newest inititaive: the Farm Knowledge Network. For the next two years, we will strive to deliver important knowledge, resources and tools to farm operators across the BC Highway 16 to help them learn, develop and grow.

As part of this new initiative, we’ve created a brand new tool: the Mobile Farm Bookstore. This traveling bookstore features over 150 titles on all all aspects of farming. Titles on fencing, barns and irrigation systems will help farmers plan for new construction and capital investment. Titles on livestock of all kinds will help farmers keep healthier and more production animals on the farm. Titles on specialty products like christmas trees, medical herbs, and hemp will give farmers insight into new emerging markets.  Titles on marketing, business and operations planning and will help farmers plan for profits. There are even titles for the non-farmer, including cookbooks and more.

In addition to the titles available for purchase, the Mobile Farm Bookstore will also offer copies of free publications and the opportunity to chat with with our expert coordinator about your farm business needs.

The Mobile Farm Bookstore will be traveling this summer to communities across the BC Highway 16 corridor. Our tenative schedule is below and will be updated when additional appearances are added.

  • District C Farmers’ Institute Social, May 31, 2014
  • McBride Pioneer Days. June 7, 2014
  • BC Northern Exhibition, Aug 7-11, 2014
  • Skeena Valley Fall Fair, Sept 5-6, 2014
  • Lakes District Fall Fair, Sept 12-13, 2014
  • Vanderhoof Farmers’ Market: July 10, 2014
  • Fort St. James Farmers’ Market: July 11, 2014
  • Bulkley Valley Farmers’ Market: July 12, 2014
  • Hazelton Farmers’ Market: July 13, 2014

When the mobile farm bookstore is not on the road, it can be accessed at the Community Futures Fraser-Fort George office in Prince George during normal office hours. Thanks to the new Square Mobile Payment system, bookstore items can be purchased using cash, cheque or credit. To help put information in the hands of those who need it, titles are offered at a steep discount from their suggested list price.

If you have any questions about this Mobile Farm Bookstore or any of our other progras, please contact us at any time. We look forward to seeing you this summer!

Groundbreakers Collective seeking producers

Dear Northern Grower,

We would like to invite growers from regional districts Bulkley-Nechako and Kitimat-Stikine to become a member of Groundbreakers Collective.

Groundbreakers is both a charitable organization and a social enterprise cooperative. On the charitable side of things, the group provides educational programs and hands-on workshops on food preservation as a means to make the most of local food all year round. The social enterprise (cooperative) coordinates a Harvest Box Program, helping connect food producers and consumers, with the aim of creating a sustainable local food network and resilient economy.

Our Harvest Box Program runs from September to May each year. We supply over 80 families with 100% local produce and value added items. We use a CSA (community supported agriculture) model such that customers pre-order and pre-pay for their box, as well as help on local farms. As a CSA there is a shared risk and mutual support between customers, producers, and Groundbreakers. A CSA directly links supply and demand for efficient farming as well. To help with this, our Harvest Box coordinator contracts producers in the spring to grow specific amounts of specific product.

At this time we are accepting producer intake forms from anyone interested in becoming a producer for the 2014/2015 season.

More information about what it is to be a Groundbreakers producer can be found on our website at under the “What’s New” tab or by emailing our Coordinator Dawn at or Board Member Mark at

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or to find out more information on how you may become involved.

Groundbreakers Collective.

Farm marketing seminars coming to a town near you.

Beyond the Market has teamed up with Splash Media and the Growing Forward 2 program to deliver a series of workshops that address the most requested learning topic of all: small farm marketing. This workshop has been developed exclusively for us and the farms we serve, and we are rolling it out to eight different communities in the New Year. Best of all, attendance is free of charge! Register now to reserve your seat.

About the Presenters

It’s about making a splash. Splash Media Group Inc. is an advertising and marketing firm based in Prince George but serves businesses throughout northern British Columbia and communities throughout BC and beyond. Splash works closely with clients using creative design ideas and strategic thinking to create effective brand communications.

Mike Doran- Agency Director

A founding partner and the Agency Director of Splash Media Group Inc, Mike leads most client initiatives. With over 17 years of experience, Mike’s passion is making businesses like yours succeed through strong creative and strategic execution.

Jennifer Attree- Director of Business Development

With more than 15 years of marketing, communications and PR experience, Jennifer treats marketing as a puzzle to be put together based on what a client needs and what is driving the market.  A creative and energetic personality, she is committed to finding the best solutions and strategies for clients.

Matt SamyciaWood- Creative Director

From London, England and now living in Prince George, Matt has been branding companies for over 17 years.   He has worked with a variety of clients from local to international businesses and his specialty includes brand strategy, communication design, leadership skills and entrepreneurial thinking.


Beyond the Market in the Cariboo

Coming to the cariboo

For three years, Beyond the Market has run a successful community economic development program for the agriculture sector in communities along the  Highway 16 corridor. In that time, we have been honoured to work hands-on with hundreds of farmers, and we recognize the growing need for this type of service. The current phase of the project is due to expire in February 2014, and our community advisory board has encouraged us to draft new proposals to continue to offer services to the northern agriculture communities. We’ve also have several requests to expand these services in the Cariboo. As such, we are spending this month exploring the opportunities for this project and are seeking a wide variety of input, from YOU – the farmers, food providers and community developers and in the Cariboo.

There are several ways to learn about the work of the Beyond the Market project and provide your input on future services offered in your region. I recently traveled to the Cariboo to offer a series of open houses and meetings with local farmers and organizations. On several occasions we presented this interactive ‘Prezie’ presentation, and have been asked to share a link that would allow individuals to revisit the presentation. Here you go!:

Link to the Story of the Beyond the Market project interactive presentation

*Note: to view this presentation, click on the link and use the arrows buttons or the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate.

You can also learn more about the work done so far by the Beyond the Market project through our website and Facebook page, or by contacting us directly


MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL: The best way to provide your input on the project is through our online feedback survey that we would encourage all food and farm operators in the Cariboo to fill out: This survey will give us a sense of what Cariboo farmers need and want most.

If you are supportive of such a project coming to the Cariboo, we would very much welcome your letter of support. These letters can be addressed to our Program Coordinator, Jillian Merrick, and should include details of why you think our proposed services (learning, training and networking events, one-on-one business coaching, and cross regional information networks) would benefit Cariboo farmers. Please contact Jillian for more details.