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Regional Food Systems Workshops – Spring 2012

Modeled on the highly succesful Regional Food Systems Expo held in Prince George, the Regional Food Systems Workshops provide communities across the BC Highway 16 region the opportunity to participate in the movement to grow and strengthen the local agricultural economy.

Previous Workshops:

March 5, 2012 in Terrace, BC
9:00am – 4:00pm, Northwest Community College Waap Galts’ap Community House, 5331 McConnell Ave

March 6, 2012 in Smithers, BC
9:00am – 4:00pm, The Old Church, 3704 1st Ave (King St and 1st Ave)

March 7, 2012 in Vanderhoof, BC
9:00am – 4:00pm, Nechako Community Church, 1393 E Hwy 16

March 8, 2012 in Dunster, BC
9:00 – 4:00pm, Dunster Community Hall


Event Schedule

* The Dunster event included a presentation by Marty Frost from the BC Co-operative Association in the place of the Good Agricultural Practices Program presentation

These events were made possible by the support of the BC Ministry of Agriculture and the Government of Canada under Growing Forward: a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.


















Producing and Marketing Food Locally – Opportunities and Challenges for Northern Agricultural Producers

Brent Warner, P.Ag., WhiteLoafRidge Canada

Download Brent Warner’s presentation (4.7 MB)

Brent is a motivated, passionate, articulate professional horticulturist/agrologist with over 30 years experience in the Canadian and North American agriculture industry. He was a New Crop Development Specialist for the BC Ministry of Agriculture for 27 years and responsible for the tree fruit, grape, berry, vegetable, nursery and kiwifruit industries on the coast of BC. Brent is recognized and well respected as a spokesperson for the direct marketing and agritourism component of agriculture across the continent. He is in demand as a speaker as farmers try to adjust to the reality of the new agriculture movement where local food is once again important in communities.


Good Agricultural Practices from Farm to Market

Elsie Friesen, Food Safety Specialist, BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands

Download Elsie Friesen’s Presentation (569 KB)

Elsie’s start in Agricultural Food Safety began while growing up on a mixed farm in the Saskatchewan Valley area, and later working in the food industry. Her educational expertise started with a Diploma in Food Technology from the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST), then a Bachelor of Environmental Health Science (BCIT) and a Master of Education (SFU). Her work experience has included over ten years as a Certified Public Health Inspector, teaching post-secondary in the Middle East (Qatar), and presently as a Food Safety Specialist with the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands – Agri-Food Protection Branch.

Food safety is a challenge that has existed from the onset of human life, and history tells us the stories of how past generations have questioned and explored new ways of dealing with their particular challenges. New challenges of globalization, changing markets and changing within societal values and ways of living make us respond with new questions which lead to new solutions. By sharing knowledge and experiences new solutions to food safety issues can become reality – history tells us so.

Food safety is an important aspect from farm to table and to this end the BC Good Agricultural Practices Guide was developed to help producers understand best practices and implement them at the farm level.


Cooperative Business Development

Marty Frost, Devco: Cooperative Development

(Dunster event only)

Download Marty Frost’s presentation (268KB)

Marty Frost is a founding member of Devco. A recognized leader in the field, Marty has worked in every aspect of the co-op sector: as general manager of a large worker co-op for a decade, as an advisor to provincial and federal government policy-makers, and as a consultant to dozens of new and existing co-ops.

Marty is a board member of the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation (CWCF) and Chair of the investment committee for the CWCF’s $1.5 million dollar Tenacity Fund for worker co-op development.


New Farm Start-Up & Farm Business Development

Mark Robbins, P.Ag., Regional Agrologist, Ministry of Agriculture

Download Mark Robbins’ presentation (1MB)

Agriculture provides many opportunities to start and grow a farming enterprise that meets your needs and interest. Many of the medium and large scale farming operations, supporting several families today, started small and grew over time as skills developed, markets were refined and demand for their product increased. It is important to recognize that farming is a good small business.  To provide the best opportunity for success in your farm business, it is important plan!  Business planning is important in guiding where you want your farm to be in 5, 10, 15 years from now!


Beyond the Market: Growing the North

Jillian Merrick, Program Coordinator, Community Futures Fraser-Fort George

Jillian joined Community Futures in January 2011 to initiate the Beyond the Market program. She has resided in Prince George for the past decade and has extensive community engagement experience. Her academic background is in economics and international studies, and her passions lie in entrepreneurship, creativity, diversity, and sustainability.


Northern Agriculture Research Initiative

Dr. David Connell, PhD., University of Northern British Columbia

(Terrace, Smithers and Vanderhoof events)

Dr. David Connell is an Associate Professor in the School of Environmental Planning.  Self-described as a social philosopher, he draws upon his varied experiences in community, economic, and business development to understand the world we live in.  David’s research focuses on sustainable communities, with a particular interest in building the capacity of local food systems as a foundation for societal change.  Current research includes agricultural planning and business development, agricultural adaptation to climate change, land use planning, and non-timber uses of the inland rainforest.  Recent research includes a provincial study of the social and economic benefits of farmers markets in BC in Canada.


Community Discussion Notes

Workshop Report

Appendix A: Workshop Design Survey

Appendix B: Workshop Program

Appendix C: Media Release

Appendix D: Workshop Evaluation Survey