Harvest Festival Postponed

Grapes

ūüď∑¬†Fort Berens Winery

This past March, the Lillooet Agriculture and Food Society (LAFS) took on the Lillooet Hops and Grapes Society as a committee, with the intention of continuing to hold an annual Fall Fair/Harvest Festival Event. The Harvest Festival has been held at Fort Berens Winery for the past few years, and expanded last year to include several workshops put on by LAFS. The event has been a big draw for people along the Sea-to-Sky Corridor, and has had up to 600 attendees. The goal of the Harvest Festival has been to showcase the growing wine and beer industry in the area, foods grown and prepared by local businesses, and arts and crafts made by regional artisans. Lillooet Agriculture and Food Society would like to continue these traditions, and to focus on local produce, farmers, agriculture and fun! Activities for people of all ages will continue to be mainstays, from the very popular Logger Sports competition, to games for the whole family to enjoy. Entertainment such as musical acts, hand drumming and dancing, and salmon cutting demonstrations by Xwisten will also continue to be a part of the event. We are hoping to expand the food options, and to hold some traditional fall-fair competitions, such as ‚ÄúMost Interesting Apricot Preserve‚ÄĚ and Largest Zucchini.
Logger Sports

Logger Sports 2018 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†ūüď∑¬†Fort Berens Winery

Our aim is to collaborate with as many local non-profits and small businesses as we can in order to create a successful and sustainable event celebrating local agriculture and Lillooet livelihoods for years to come. LAFS has chosen to postpone the event this year until 2020, in the hopes of being able to gather more support from other local non-profits, businesses. We hope to build connections at the Lillooet Fall Festival, to increase the amount of people growing and eating local, Lillooet food, and to celebrate the beautiful diversity and resilience of our small town.
Sourdough

LAFS Workshop 2018 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†ūüď∑¬†Fort Berens Winery

Do you have ideas for what you would like to see at a Fall Festival event? Would the non-profit or charity you’re involved with want to help out?  We will be holding a Community Conversation in partnership with our Community Coordinator, Kim North, on November 2nd, at the Rec Centre in Room 203.  All ideas, thoughts and contributions welcome. Contact LAFS at lillooetagricultureandfood@gmail.com or 778-887-2027 with any questions, concerns or comments regarding the Fall Festival 2020!

Loans and Grants Assistance

  AgriculturalFunding Opportunities(1)

If you read our blog, our saw the article in our July newsletter, then you know that Megan was working for LAFS this summer as our Loans and Grants assistant.  Here is a little bit about what she accomplished!

Megan was able to get funding from the SLRD for Lillooet Food Matters’ Mushroom workshop that happened at the end of August/beginning of September.  The event was a great success, you can read more about it on Lillooet Food Matters blog here.

The major summer project was a BC Community Gaming Grant application. We applied for funding to cover more education and outreach, and workshops for 2020.  This proved to be quite the project!

Megan also applied for a Nutrition Link grant specifically for workshops. The plan is to run a series of food preservation workshops next summer if we are successful. Workshops would follow the fruit, with a July workshop about preserving apricots, an August workshop about preserving peaches and a fall workshop for apples, plums and pears.

Part of the job this summer was to connect local producers with funding opportunities available to them. Megan reached out to several farms, and did lots of research on programs and funding available.

We were looking into funding to have a workshop/forum with keynote speakers at the end of the year. Topics would be on aspects of a food hub, for example, having someone speak on running a co-op and another speaking on distributing products as a group. Andrea Harris from the BC Co-Op Association is  keen to come and speak here in Lillooet, and we are planning to collaborate with our Community Coordinator to hold the event late this fall.

A big thank you to Megan for all of her work applying, connecting with people and researching for LAFS this summer!

Megan

‚ÄúIt has been a pleasure working for LAFS these past few months. I have enjoyed playing part in the inner workings of the society and seeing what is being done in our local community to support and enhance the agricultural industry. I only hope that my small role has made a valuable contribution, and that LAFS continues to be able to offer support to local farmers and a connection to the general population.‚ÄĚ – Megan

Gleaning Project 2019

This summer, Wren worked hard to glean unwanted or surplus fruit and get it used! Armed with hand-made pickers and a whole lot of passion, Wren did an amazing job gleaning in our community this season.

Wren Gleaning

If you don‚Äôt know what gleaning is, it means collecting of fruit that is not going to be used and finding people and places who would like it! Produce that might have gone to waste becomes a welcome source of fresh food for many who might otherwise go without. ‚Äď KFPC

Every community does this a little differently, for example, the Kamloops Gleaning Abundance Program donates to community programs including the Kamloops Food Bank, ASK Wellness and Centre for Seniors Information.

‚ÄúTraditionally the structure of gleaning is organized such that, the pickers receive ‚Öď of the fruit, the homeowners receive ‚Öď of the fruit, and the last ‚Öď goes to a foodbank or other charitable organization. The Lillooet Foodbank did not have the capacity to deal with fresh fruit, and was only open a few days a week. It was important that this free food could still be given to those in need, so some smaller donations were made directly to individuals who could not get there.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Wren Kerslake

This year in Lillooet, donations went to P’egp’íg’lha Community Centre, and several local residents. With a total of 22 trees gleaned, and lots of conversation and connection on the Gleaning for Life Facebook page, for a first year of dedicated gleaning, we were very happy with the project!

‚ÄúThank you so much Wren, for doing such an awesome job this summer I can’t express how much appreciation I have for all your efforts and how much Wildlife conflict was avoided thanks to the gleaning program.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Jennifer Davidson, District of Lillooet Bylaw Enforcement Officer

A big thank you from all of us! We are planning on continuing the Gleaning Program this fall and starting up again next spring. If you have fruit, want fruit, or would like to come out and help, connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Gleaningforlife/ or email us at lillooetgleaning@gmail.com Gleaning Pic

Request for Proposals for the Cold Storage Facility Pitch Package and Feasibility Study

The Lillooet Agriculture & Food Society needs a Cold Storage Facility Pitch Package and Feasibility Study and is accepting proposals in response to this Request for Proposal to find a qualified source to provide a Cold Storage Facility Pitch Package and Feasibility Study. The goal of the Study is to:

  1. Determine the economic viability of a cold/dry storage facility in Lillooet
  2. Evaluate the market and assess the financial feasibility
  3. Research and recommend partnerships, land acquisition/lease and optimal size
  4. Gather Input from St’át’imc Bands as to their interest in partnership/use of the facility
  5. Create a list of recommendations for next steps
  6. Create a pitch package to present to potential investors/partners

The objective of this Request for Proposal is to locate a contractor or professional that will provide the best overall report to the LILLOOET AGRICULTURE & FOOD SOCIETY. While price is a significant factor, other criteria will form the basis of our award decision, as more fully described in the Evaluation Factors section of the Request for Proposal below.

You can find the RFP here.

Proposals must be received prior to September 5, 2019 to be considered.

Farmer Focus: Rex Peak Ranch

Rex Peak Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your family? I was raised on the ranch we currently own and operate. ¬†When I was a kid the ranch was a small¬†homestead. ¬†We had goats, a milk cow, horses, chickens and and a huge garden. ¬†We grew most of our¬†own food and seldom went to town. ¬†We did not have TV or even radio. National Geographic was our¬†window to the world. ¬†My brothers and sister and I were homeschooled until high school. ¬†We had horses¬†and rode everywhere. ¬†In 2002 my husband Phil (who came here from England in 1998) and I started¬†turning it from a homestead into a working ranch. ¬†It is still a work in progress. ¬†We are still off-grid and¬†in the boonies. ¬†We are 75km from Lillooet in the Bridge River Valley. ¬†We raised our two daughters,¬†Megan and Jade (who are an indispensable part of our operation) here and I homeschooled them here¬†until highschool. Can you tell us about your farming practices? We focus on raising hereford/angus beef cattle. ¬†We also have some lamb and pigs for our own use with¬†any excess going to friends and family. ¬†We started out with 4 cows that my mom had owned. ¬†From there¬†we slowly built up our own herd. Buying some cows here and there. ¬†Then we started raising our own¬†replacement heifers and bought good quality bulls. ¬†We started out with very little machinery, so we used¬†a team of horses for years (and still have a team) for a lot of work. ¬†As time went on we cleared more land, got more machinery, built a hayshed, fenced and cross-fenced our ranch, and started growing some¬†of our own hay (the rest we buy from local ranchers). ¬†We have a large cattle range that we carefully¬†manage. ¬†We focus on making sure the biodiversity is maintained, which helps keep predators from¬†becoming a problem. ¬†We use horses and cattle dogs to move our cattle over our range in a circular¬†pattern ‚Äď they move from our spring range up to the summer range and back around in a circle so that by¬†fall they are back near the ranch and they are easily moved home. ¬†On the ranch we try to maintain and¬†improve our grass and forage crops. IMG_3962 When did you get involved with LAFS and why? I was invited by Jacquie Rassmussen to join LAFS at its inception. ¬†I was part of the AAC at the time. ¬†I¬†felt that it was important for our area to have a stronger agricultural voice. Where are your products sold? We are a cow calf operation. We sell our calves in the fall through the BC Livestock Co-op in¬†Kamloops. ¬†It is a rancher owned and operated market. What are your future plans? We would like to expand our hay production, increase our infrastructure, continue to raise quality beef¬†and become more self-sufficient so that eventually our daughters may be able to take over the operation. 2016-07-13 001 048

LAFS Loans and Grants Assistant

IMG_3881 Hello everyone! My name is Megan Meservia and I am proud to be joining the LAFS team as Loans Grants Administrative Assistant. As many of you may know, I was born and raised in the Lillooet area on a family owned and operated cattle ranch, where I still help out whenever possible and have a few of my own cow/calf pairs.  In 2016 I graduated from Retail Meat Processing at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.  I then went on to work as a meatcutter in a retail butcher shop there, before returning home to Lillooet. I have seen a cow go from a calf on the farm to a steak on the plate and understand the many challenges that those in agriculture face trying to get their products to the consumer, whether that be livestock or crops. I have a great love for agriculture and a deep respect for those working in the industry.  Farmers and ranchers are some of the most hardworking, innovative and resilient people I know, and face challenges on a daily basis.  As Loans & Grants Administrative Assistant, I hope to help ease some of these challenges by assisting producers in connecting and applying to the many resources available to them, especially those looking to assist their businesses with funding in the form of grants. I look forward to meeting and working with everyone, as well as continuing to see agriculture grow and prosper in our community! You can reach Megan through our Facebook Page or email us at lillooetagricultureandfood@gmail.com with your questions or requests!

New Gleaning Coordinator

fullsizeoutput_119e Hello LAFS community! I am Wren Kerslake, I have been hired for the summer to be the new Gleaning Program Coordinator for the Lillooet Agriculture and Food Society. Although I grew up in Lillooet, I have been away for the last two years living in Victoria to finish high school.  I am very happy to be back in my home town, and I look forward to reconnecting with the people of Lillooet and meeting the new-comers. While I finished high school, I gained experience working with non-profit organizations in Victoria as a youth leader.  I was inspired by the many different initiatives I experienced during my time away and I am excited to become a part of one in my own community. I grew up on a farm outside Lillooet, and spent a large part of my life weeding, picking fruit, and running around the Farmer’s Market.  I have always loved the tradition of sharing food with friends and neighbours. I look forward to developing a system for continuing this wonderful practice. I am happy to be back home for the summer and working in a job to help the lovely community of Lillooet grow and prosper. To contact Wren, you can reach her on the Gleaning for Life Facebook group or at lillooetgleaning@gmail.com

LAFS’ Database

Tired of Google-searching and sifting through the irrelevant material? Looking for key agricultural contacts, financial resources or crop-specfic grants? LAFS’ Agriculture Resource Database can help!

Check it out at https://www.lillooetagricultureandfood.org/farmer-resource-database/

Specifically designed for farmers, ranchers, growers and producers in our area, the database has hundreds of local resources, researched for our region. Categories include: Education & Learning, Production, Finances, Plans & Regulations, Operations, Funding, Important Contacts, and Sales & Distribution. You can narrow down the search for specific commodities: Livestock, Crops, Cattle, Bees/Apiculture, Fruit, and Vegetables.

So the next time you’re looking for a grant to help fund an agriculture-related project, or want to find the contact information for someone at the Ministry of Agriculture, or want to find out what the regulations are for agri-tourism activities of ALR land, make the new Database your first stop!

BCAFM Farmers’ Market Nutritional Coupon Program

Infographic by BCAFM

This year, the Lillooet Agriculture and Food Society will again be partnering with the Friendship Centre Society, First Nations Health and Interior Health to run the BC Farmers‚Äô Market Nutritional Coupon Program for the 2019 season.  

If you haven’t heard of the Coupon Program, here is a little bit about it:

The program provides a way for low-income families and individuals to access fresh, nutritious foods at our local market.  Each week, the person enrolled in the program through one of our partners is given $21 in coupons that can be spent on fresh meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables.

The BCAFM Nutritional Coupon Program supports underprivileged families and individuals, giving them access to fresh food that is otherwise expensive and not always an option at the Food Bank.¬†¬†In addition to this positive contribution to our community‚Äôs health and wellness, having the program here last year was a huge catalyst for making our market more viable.¬† Vendors who in the past had come irregularly were showing up every week, which meant much more fresh produce available for the community.¬† Everyone involved (our three community partners, the farmers’ market board, the participants and LAFS staff and directors) were strong supporters of the program, and noticed the positive effects it has had in here in Lillooet.

We had great success last year, and all those involved had positive feedback about the benefits of being a part of the program. Lillooet was allotted 12 families by the program, and last year 100 People Who Care donated funds to support 12 more families/individuals in need. And we still had a waitlist!

If you are interested in being involved in the program, or would like to donate to help support a family, feel free to reach out to us at LAFS: lillooetagricultureandfood@gmail.com 

Our goal is to support as many people in Lillooet as we can, and we hope to be able to support at least the same number as last year (24).  

To learn more, check out the link to the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets video below. Note that the coupons are now $21 a week, instead of $15.

https://bcfarmersmarket.org/coupon-program/how-it-works/