Young Agrarian: Okanagan Mixer


January 30, 2016
8:30 am - 9:30 pm


Okanagan Mission Community Hall
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Celebrate winter with a young farmer social in Kelowna, BC! We’re bringing together as many beginning and young(ish) farmers, as well as friends and foodies for a day of workshops and networking. Join the event on Facebook and invite your friends.

WHEN: Saturday, January 30th, 2016

WHERE: Okanagan Mission Community Hall, 4409 Lakeshore Road, Kelowna, BC

COST: Sliding Scale $25-$75. All funds raised go to cover event expenses. Thanks for your contribution!

(please register as soon as possible so we know you’ll be there!)

WHAT TO BRING: Lunch will be provided and we’ll enjoy a potluck supper together in the evening – please bring a dish to share and tools to eat with.

An incredible line-up of sessions has been arranged for the 3rd Okanagan Winter Mixer in Kelowna on January 30th! Please join us for a day that will be bursting with information, networking and phenomenal food. Topics and presenters were meticulously selected based on survey results from earlier in the fall. Because of this, there should be something that catches your interest: from water harvesting and permaculture design, to business and marketing planning, to indigenous food lands, to intensive grazing, to setting up a 1-acre farm on leased land, to women in agro-ecology. The mix of sessions should fit with your mode of engagement, whether it be a formal presentation, open discussion, or hands-on learning, like the butchery workshop that will be facilitated by Cam from Joy Road Catering – oh la la!

To make the most of this rich repertoire of sessions, you can either review the program and plan out the sessions you need to be at or you can join the sessions that catch your fancy when you get to the Okanagan Mission Community Hall that day.

 New Farmers Line Up for a Organic Local Lunch Spread

YA Mixers are known for the remarkable connections that can happen at them, such as new possibilities for selling, meeting someone with the land that you would like to work, or identifying a shared interest/resource. To make the most of this, come to the mixer with an openness to meet new people, share something that you have to offer (like employment, land or special skills) and something that you might need (such as specific tools, crop planning models, or mentorship).

Joy Road Catering will be providing farm fresh lunch at the upcoming okanagan winter mixerWe also guarantee you’ll enjoy some seriously delicious food at the Mixer. It is a farmer event, after all! We are thrilled to have Joy Road Catering on board again to prepare lunch for the group and Urban Harvest has been gracious in donating produce for our meals. Although Urban Harvest is very generous, the Mixer needs quite a bit of food to make sure everyone is well fuelled for the day. If you are interested in donating any food items, please let Michelle know Harvest Organic Delivery Logo

Last, but not least, there will be a potluck and social at the end of the day –there is nothing better n sharing a meal together. Please bring a food item to share and something to eat with. To make the most of this part of the Mixer, invite your friends and family – the more, the merrier!


8:30-9:00am: Breakfast Snacks & Coffee

9:00 – 9:10 am: Welcome and opening with Pauline Terbasket

9:10-10am: Networking with Young Agrarians Coordinator Sara Dent

10:00-10:15am: BREAK

10:15/10:30-12:00pm: One Acre Farm Set Up on Leased Land  Ian Hart (1 hr) – Clubhouse Farm & Outdoor Preschool – Audrey Hystad (30 min)

10:15/10:30-12:00pm: Indigenous Food Lands – Nicholas Peterson & Pauline Terbasket

1:30-3pm: Water Harvesting/Drought Proofing/Keyline – Javan Bernakevitch

1:30-3pm: Women In Agriculture Panel: Moss Dance, Ashton Sweetnam, Sarah Martel

3-3:15pm: BREAK

3:15-4:45pm: Intensive Grazing – Tristan Banwell

3:15-4:45pm: Farm Financial Management & Business Planning – Chris Bodnar

4:45-6:00pm: World Cafe / Open Space including a marketing session with Moss Dance & John Hofer, covering social media, collective marketing, and niche marketing for restaurants and CSA’s.

6-9pm Potluck, Social & Land Linking Fair: Friends & Family Welcome! Bring a dish to share :)


Indigenous Food Lands

Pauline Terbasket will introduce the Syilx peoples and a brief overview of their work on bringing back the salmon, an important indigenous food of the Okanagan River, the sub-basin of the Columbia River. This is truly a story of success, perseverance, commitment and vision by the Sylix peoples. As Indigenous people, they continue to seek the justice that was so long denied. Slowly, those new to these lands are coming to see the importance of the rivers, but they have been badly damaged. And so have the indigenous peoples who depend on the river’s health. A small start has been made with the Okanagan sockeye. Working together is key. Resourcing this work is essential. But still the future remains uncertain. It is up to all of us.

Nicholas Peterson will provide the context for the work he is doing on his Master’s thesis which focuses on understanding how much we take for granted on the back of a seed packet — how there are huge knowledge gaps on how and when to sow native plants. His research will be running germination trials on BC Native Plants with an emphasis on First Nations foods and medicines for the Interior Grasslands of BC. Having a greater understanding of how to successfully grow Native Plants will be instrumental in reclamation and restoration after land disturbance from industry and government. Nicholas will speak to why this work matters, why growing food matters, and helping others to understand the relationship we have with all living things.

Pauline TerbasketPauline Terbasket is a proud Syilx (Okanagan) woman and member of the Syilx Nation a registered member of the  Lower Similkameen Indian Band.  Ms. Terbasket has led her community and her Nation as a council member of her local band and most recently as the Executive Director of the Okanagan Nation Alliance.  Ms. Terbasket has more than 25 years of experience working for a variety of First Nations organizations and government.   In addition to her professional endeavors, she has sat as volunteer board member with numerous local and regional organizations and societies including the BC Native Women’s Society, En’owkin Centre, UBC Okanagan, Aboriginal Peoples Family Accord, the Ki-low-Na Friendship Society and recently Slow Foods Canada.  Ms. Terbasket was also appointed to the Okanagan College Board of Governors.  A strong advocate for social change, she has committed herself to tackling difficult issues confronting the prosperity and wellness of Indigenous people.   Ms. Terbasket believes that the revitalization of Indigenous cultures and language is critical to self-determination and survival of Indigenous peoples. Therefore, she also dedicated her volunteer efforts from 2007- 2011 as Chair of the First Peoples Cultural Foundation.

Young Agrarian Nicholas displaying his organic produce will be presenting on Indigenous Food Lands at the Okanagan Winter MixerNicholas Peterson was born in Salt Lake City, Utah where he spent much of his childhood. He attended Utah Valley University graduating in Biology Education. He in turn taught High School science on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. After having a young family, Nicholas wanted to know more about his heritage and ancestry from his Mother’s side and moved to Canada in 2010. Nicholas is a member of the Lower Nicola Indian Band in Merritt, BC. He was elected Councillor in 2013. He and his wife, Vileena, have five children. They started Nicola Valley Produce ( in 2010, specializing in gourmet garlic cultivars. Nicholas has always had a passion for growing plants and learning more about his natural surroundings. In 2015, Nicholas started working on his Masters of Environmental Science from Thompson Rivers University. He is working on Native Seed Germination for land reclamation and restoration. He loves learning and applying the principles taught to him through his First Nations heritage.

Growing Together: Collective Marketing for Small-Scale Farmers

Small-scale farmers often get overwhelmed with the details of running a business, marketing product & managing finances – not to mention growing or raising their actual product! Come and hear the story of Merville Organics Grower’s Co-operative, a fiesty new collective marketing venture in the Comox Valley between 5 small veggie growers. Find out why working with other farmers might be the answer to your burn-out woes. In fact, working together might inspire you to better business practices, higher product standards and increased exposure to markets.

Details we will cover in the workshop: tracking sales with spreadsheets, financial management, marketing & branding, accessing new markets, and group process/decision making skills.

Farmer Moss snaps a shot in her carrot bedsMoss Dance is a small-scale organic veggie grower and community organizer based in the Comox Valley. She is a founding member of Merville Organics Growers’ Co-operative. Moss also works in social media, marketing and graphic design for farm & food businesses across Canada. Find Merville Organics on Facebook ( and online

Farm Business Planning

There is no standard formula as to what a farmer ought to be, nor what a farming business must look like. Rather, successful farmers will have a clear sense of what they want to accomplish and why they are the appropriate people to accomplish it. Having a business plan contributes to this clarity the way having a map and a trip plan helps a traveller reach their destination. But only 1 in 5 farm business have a business plan . . . which means a lot of people are getting lost in their journey. This workshop will provide new and experienced farmers alike with the basics of writing a solid, realistic business plan. This includes setting measurable and attainable goals through to calculating the value of a crop per row-foot of land. By learning how to clearly articulate what it is their business will do and how they will do it, workshop participants will be better able to assess the viability of their plans and focus on profitable farming. This, in turn, will ultimately support them in achieving their personal and business goals.

Farmer Chris Bodnar walks a row of vegetables on his farm with his daughterChris Bodnar co-owns and operates Close to Home Organics with his wife, Paige, at Glen Valley Organic Farm in Abbotsford. Now in their tenth season of farming, Chris and his family have learned some of the challenges and opportunities of farming on a small scale in the organic sector. They operate a 135-member Community Shared Agriculture program and sell at two weekly farmers markets during the farming season. Prior to farming Chris earned a PhD in  Communication from Carleton University. His academic interests continue through teaching and writing. Chris teaches the  business planning components of Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Sustainable Agriculture program. Chris sits on the board of the Mount Lehman Credit Union. He does business planning consulting with small-scale farmers and is a mentor with the Young Agrarians’ BC Business Mentorship Network.

Management-Intensive Grazing

Are you getting the most out of your ‘solar panel’?  Do your pastures look lush and thick, or more like a patchy golf green?  Perhaps you’ve read about the benefits of rotational grazing, and you’ve considered moving livestock around your farm.  Are you concerned you don’t have enough land?  Or too much land?  Or not enough time?  Management-Intensive Grazing (MiG) is a flexible, goal-driven approach to rotational grazing management.  Practitioners consider their lifestyle, financial and environmental goals and then develop a production system to meet their needs.  The principles of MiG apply from cattle down to poultry and scale from homestead gardens up to extensive rangelands.    We will discuss and demonstrate the tools and techniques available to effectively manage your forage supply, extend your grazing season and improve the health of your land and livestock.  These insights will help you adjust your operation to reduce input costs & fossil fuel usage, control invasive plant species & increase biodiversity, conserve soil moisture and sequester carbon.  It’s time to put your livestock to work!

Photographing the daily activities and farming lifestyle on Spray Creek Ranch located on Texas Creek Road, LillooetTristan Banwell manages Spray Creek Ranch, a transitional to organic and diversified 260-acre farm in the UpperSt’at’imc Territory near Lillooet, BC. Together with his wife Aubyn, he raises cattle, pigs, meat chickens and laying hens along the Mighty Fraser River in the rain shadow of the Coast Mountains. With a rural upbringing, an education in conservation, and years of off-grid homesteading under his belt, Tristan is working to transform a struggling commodity cow-calf operation into a thriving business providing local markets with diverse meats of known provenance and unparalleled quality. He has been implementing the concepts of management-intensive grazing since moving to the farm in 2014.  Visit to learn more or get in touch.

Marketing Your Produce to Restaurants and CSA Customers

  • How to approach restaurants, and how to keep them as a repeat customer.
  • How to set-up a CSA, approach customers, and keep them as a repeat customer.
  • Planning your season for restaurants, and CSAs.

Farmer John Hofer speaking on marketing organic produce to restaurantsJohn Hofer, along with his partner Brenda Paterson, own and operate Wise Earth Farm. They have been farming for 5 years in Kelowna along KLO Road. Over the last 5 years, they have gradually increased production to 2 acres of land using high density crop planting. Their primary customers are restaurants, along with a fully customizable online CSA, as well as selling at the Kelowna Farmers Market on Saturdays.

Finding a Place & Farming it: Overview of Starting a Vegetable Farm on Rented Land

Creating a vegetable farm out of a grass pasture is not an easy thing to do, nor is it a simple path to putting your feet up over the winter while snacking on pickles and roasted squash.  Ian Hart, and partner Ashton Sweetnam, have done this twice and Ian will discuss his experiences establishing a one-acre market garden on rented land in two different rural areas.

The workshop is geared towards those who would like to get into farming but don’t have land and for those who are just getting started. Ian will give an overview of the process of starting a farm on rented land, from land search to your first market. He will share some of the successes and challenges he has faced and problems to avoid.   Learn what to look for in a farm, what to expect during a land search, what infrastructure and budget you’ll need to get started, and more.

Ian & AshtonIan Hart is a farmer who grows mixed vegetables at Roots Up! Vegetable Farm in Chase, BC with his partner Ashton and their son Jasper.  He has been farming 7 years at 4 farms and is planning on staying in one place for a while now. They farm an acre of land on a larger 33 acre farm and enjoy the community feeling of living close to other families while enjoying a rural life. They sell their produce at the Kamloops Farmers Market and to local businesses.

Women in Agro-Ecology: co-facilitated by Sarah Martel, Moss Dance & Ashton Sweetnam

Smiling New Farmer Ashton holds her son on their certified organic farmAshton Sweetnam operates a one acre market garden in Chase BC with her partner Ian and her son Jasper. She will be entering her fourth season of running her own business in 2016, before which she spent three years farm dabbling and doing an apprenticeship at Saanich Organics. Ashton is particularly interested in growing food in combination with maintaining a high quality of life, and a healthy work/life balance.

Sarah MartelSarah Martel owns and operates 4 Elements Farm in Westwold BC, with her husband, Michael Weinman. Together they farm 2.5 acres of mixed organic vegetables and raise three young children. 4 Elements Farm has operated for 8 years; selling at farmers markets in both Kamloops and Vernon, to a few restaurants and running a small CSA. Brought to farming through activism and a love of the outdoors, Sarah has a background in silvaculture, and enjoys a variety of outdoor pursuits.


We will be providing an ecologically, locally and certified organically (as much as possible) grown lunch thanks to love from our sponsors: Joy Road Catering and Urban Harvest.
Saturday dinner will be a community potluck. Please invite family & friends and bring a dish to share.

Thank you to our generous food donors:

FIELDSTONE ORGANICS copyRancho VignolaAnitas-logo-medium

logo-crannogSandrine logo jpegWestbank Harvest


Use the Facebook event page to find rides and plan your travels:

If you are NOT on Facebook, please send a note to SUBJECT: need to find a ride to Okanagan Mixer, OR have a ride to offer to Okanagan Mixer. Let us know where you are travelling from.

The ticket cost is sliding scale and covers expenses to make this event possible. We are asking for contributions between $25 to $75. Folk are also welcome to make a contribution at the door.

This event was made possible by the Central Okanagan Foundation and with support from Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

*If you would like to contribute, please contact: