Kootenay Farmer newsletter is an initiative of the Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors to communicate with farmers and ranchers, and to grow and support the agriculture sector.  

Cows to The Rescue
A recent KBFA field day in Cranbrook brought Ranchers together to see how grazing livestock can help control wildfires. The pilot project is promising and shows that targeted grazing can significantly reduce fuel loads. Discussion focused on opportunities for the agricultural community to work together with landowners and residential communities to manage landscapes in ways that benefit everyone.

Three Stops in the Kootenays on Provincial Seed Cleaning Tour  
FarmFolk CityFolk’s mobile seed cleaner was put to good use in Argenta where it cleaned a couple thousand pounds of buckwheat and cover crop seed. The seed cleaner’s tour through the Kootenays could become a more regular event to bring a top-of-the-line Provincial resource to our rural areas, connect our region to broader agricultural initiatives and build relationships with experts. Read about the full Provincial tour here or listen to the new Seed Head Podcast.


       Range field day in Cranbrook  

Seed cleaning in Argenta

In This Issue

Headlines: World Soil Day | Composting Guide | Small Farm Grants | YA Basin Mixer 2021 
Events: Vegetable Storage | Fruit Tree Pruning 
Kudos to our Farmers: Track Street Growers specialty hot sauce | Hummingbird Farm grows seed
Meet Your Advisors:  Horticulture Specialist, Molly Thurston, MSc, PAg
Local Dirt: Organic Certification Goes Online | NEW Food Recover Grants | KBFA Recap 
Ministry of Agriculture: Pork Production Guide


The Most Wonderful Day of The Year!

Keep Soil Alive, Protect Biodiversity 
Producers are united by their dedication to manage and maintain healthy, balanced soils and are at the forefront of stewarding this essential resource. Refresh your memory here for five actions to improve soil health, watch a documentary on how cover cropping is being used to improve soil function in the USA, read about BC initiatives, and connect with the global movement to protect soil.

What is Composting and What Opportunities Can It Offer My Farm?

NEW On-Farm Compost Guide from the BC Ministry of Agriculture
This guide was prepared for small to medium-scale farms as an introductory guide to on-farm composting. It is intended to help farmers choose a suitable system that will produce high-quality compost in a cost-effective way which could minimize waste and maximize nutrient recapture on their farm. 
Learn more

NEW Economic Study of the BC Agriculture Sector

Are you interested to see data on how the BC agriculture sector contributes to our economy? The findings in this new study highlight the potential for agriculture to not only be the backbone of BC’s regional food security, but also, contribute to our economic recovery.
Full report | Media release


Events for Small Farms Planned for January, 2021

Join the Young Agrarians throughout the month of January for for the Columbia Basin Online Mixer! Join discussions about growing your farm, building diversified and resilient markets, climate mitigation, winter veggies and more!
Register here

NEW: Small Farm Pilot Program & Grants

This new program from the BC Ministry of Agriculture supports cost-shared purchasing of commercial farm infrastructure and equipment needed to accelerate the revenue growth of small farm businesses. Application intake opens on December 7 and is expected to be competitive. 
Watch the webinar on program eligibility | Learn more and apply

kbfa-agricultural events

Virtual Event: Winter Vegetable Storage

December 8, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

This virtual field day will provide a tour of Wild Flight Farm’s winter storage and packing areas to address questions of humidity, air circulation, temperature and more.
Learn more

Save the Date: Fruit Tree Pruning

Creston: February 2021

Stay tuned for in-person pruning field days in February 2021 with horticulture specialist Molly Thurston. This event will focus on best practices for pruning apple, peach and commercial cherry trees. 
Check for updates here 


Central Kootenay Food Policy Council: Pandemic & Food Systems Roundtable 
December 3, 2020
Connect and network with your local food systems and agriculture workers and share your thoughts, challenges and adaptations.
Learn More


Alternative and Renewable On-Farm Energy 
December 3, 2020
Learn how other farms are adopting renewable and alternative forms of energy featuring Full Circle Farm from Creston.
Learn more 
Previously recorded: climate friendly livestock farming 


Provincial Workshop on Applied Research and Climate Adaptation for BC Farms
December 7-9, 2020
Attend the 5th annual province-wide workshop to listen to keynote speakers and attend workshops on key production topics for the agriculture sector. Free. 
Learn more


Track Street Growers - Revelstoke

Growing peppers in the Rocky Mountains isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is for Sarah Harper and Stu Smith. “We started with the idea that we were going to feed ourselves through the year,” says Sarah. This goal has evolved into a community-minded passion for local food, specifically “crazy, exotic peppers.”
Read the full article here. 


Track Street Growers of Revelstoke has a knack for value-added products, particularly Fire Hotsauce! 

Winlaw Farm Grows in Elusive BC Seed Market

Article from Country Life in BC
With this year’s increase in homestead gardening and production, seed companies are reaping the benefits. This year, Lana Braun, with Hummingbird Farm in Winlaw was joined the BC Eco Seed Co-op as a means to produce and sell organic flower seed. “Any farmer, by nature, is looking for more avenues to market their products. It was a product I was already creating just for myself on a smaller scale,” says Lana.
Read the full article here


Hummingbird Farm specializes in fresh cut, locally grown flowers available for purchase at markets and local grocery stores.

Molly Thurston, MSc, PAg

Molly Thurston or Pearl Agriculture Consulting is one of KBFA’s trusty expert horticulture advisors. She is the owner and operator of Claremont Ranch Organics in Lake Country, a food safety/GAP consultant and holds an MSc in soil microbiology from UBC-Okanagan. Watch Molly’s presentation on crop and climate data toolsnutrient management for orchards, and view her Youtube channel for “Hort Shorts.”


Molly is passionate about pruning and will lead the KBFA workshops in February.


Kootenay Organic Certification Goes Online

The Kootenay Organic Growers Society, the regional certifying body for the East and West Kootenay, is excited to announce the opportunity for producers to apply for organic certification via the new BC-based online platform iCertify. This innovative platform will help both established and new growers navigate organic certification, enhance the user experience, streamline input approvals, and simplify future application renewals. More details about iCertify can be found on their website or email kogsoffice@gmail.com 

NEW Grants Available for Community-led Food Access and Recovery Projects

The Trust’s new Food Access and Recovery Grants will expand opportunities to create healthy meals, enhance social and cultural community connections through food, and/or reduce the amount of food waste produced in the Basin. Applicants can request up to a maximum of 85% of total project costs.

Garlic Disease, Lidar and Event Recaps

Have you been reading the KBFA blog? Here’s what we’ve been talking about for the last few weeks:

  • Garlic Disease: How to identify, treat and move forward if you suspect your crop is ill
  • Targeted Grazing: How this pilot project in Cranbrook could help suppress wildfires
  • How River’s End Farm in Creston is utilizing the brand new technology of Lidar
  • Last but not least, a recap of events and stories in the media you may have missed this fall! 

Find the blog here (under our ‘News and Events’ tab!). 


Official NEW Resources - Small Lot Pork Producers in BC

The BC Ministry of Agriculture has released management and production guidelines for small lot pork producers in the province. This guide introduces swine legislation and health, getting started with pork production, production economics and emergency management. 
Find the guide here. 

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