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 – 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 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

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

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’ 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’s 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: 

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.

Lillooet’s Seedy Sunday 2019

This year Lillooet Food Matters expanded their Seedy Sunday event to include local farmers, producers and market vendors. The theme was “Bringing People Together”, with an emphasis on food, growing, and sustainability, with locally sourced supplies and ingredients.

Despite it not quite feeling like spring just yet, there was a great turnout!

Jonathan of Vast Mountain Roasting Co. shows off his goods.

Rainshadow Cafe provided lunch and snacks made from locally sourced ingredients, and brewed up some locally roasted coffee!

Ina Weber looks on as an attendee selects some seeds.

As always, there were seeds to buy and swap, the Lillooet Seed Lending Library, and a winnower for those wanting to winnow their own.

The Seed Swap!

This was the first year in the expanded Rec. Centre venue, and, thanks to the enthusiasm of our local artists, crafters and organizations, it was full of all kinds of booths and entertainment.

Eleanor Wright holds up a very large pollinator!

Seedy Sunday 2019 was a great success, and we look forward to the growing season and seeing what all those wonderful seeds become!

~ A Little Piece of Lillooet’s Agricultural History ~

Murray Park: History of Agriculture in SLRD Area B

Cast your bread upon the waters in Lillooet and it’ll come back studded  with fruit and nuts.” – Margaret “Ma” Murray, Lillooet B.C.

When the first road built into the Colony of British Columbia terminated at Lillooet in 1858, many who travelled it saw better opportunities farming & ranching in the area than in mining.  The town became Mile 0 of the Cariboo Road in 1862 and Lillooet grown produce became much in demand in the Cariboo goldfields, providing fodder for the hundreds of pack animals carrying supplies northward as well as to the miners at the end of their trek.

In 1861 the Martley family took over a ranch near Pavilion and named it the Grange.  The Grange shipped large quantities of beef, mutton, poultry and vegetables to the Cariboo. Combined with the historic Carson Ranch on Pavilion Plateau, the Grange is now owned by one of Canada’s largest suppliers of organic beef.
Jonathan Scott, a planter from Kentucky, farmed the upper bench across the Fraser after a nine-mile long flume/irrigation ditch from Fountain Lake was built that same year.  Miners were sorely missing tobacco, and for the next twenty years he sold plugs and cut tobacco straight off his presses.

By 1864, flour from Oregon cost $100 a sack in Lillooet.  Four enterprising investors built a mill and were supplied with grists from ranches surrounding Lillooet, producing high quality flour until 1908.

The first attempt to grow hops on the bench above the north end of town ended in failure but in 2009 two enterprising biologists succeeded and their vertical rows of eighteen foot high trellises can be seen across the river from here. Their ambition is to make Lillooet the organic hops capital of Canada.

The first grapes in the Lillooet area were grown at Fountain from cuttings sent from Italy in 1863. After experimental trials verified the superior terroir of Lillooet soils, our first commercial winery was established in 2009. Since then, Fort Berens has won many awards and medals.

Lillooet boasts B.C.’s best tomatoes. When Japanese Canadians were interned in East Lillooet during WWII, they shipped many train carloads of luscious sun-ripened Lillooet tomatoes to Vancouver. Connoisseurs of fine foods now come here every year and buy hundreds of kilos of tomatoes at the Old Airport Gardens for salsas, sauces and home canning.

Stone fruits, especially apricots, thrive in Lillooet. Trees dripping with fruit in the midsummer heat seem to be in every yard. Lillooet’s annual Apricot Tsaqwem Festival also honours native saskatoon berries, equally prolific and widely used by First Nations, eaten fresh or dried for storage.

Throughout SLRD Area B in the heart of the Fraser Canyon, historic West Pavilion, Bridge River, Yalakom, Fountain & Texas Creek farms and ranches are rising to meet a growing demand for healthy food. Local organic vegetables, fruits, garlic, honey, eggs and poultry are available in local shops or at the Lillooet Farmer’s Market every Friday on Main Street from May through to October.

We grow the best cantaloupes, grapes, peaches and apples that British Columbia has ever seen. Our alfalfa seed is second to none. Our beef has the best flavor and texture of any in the interior.”

– Dan Hurley 1936, Lillooet B.C.

New Local Products & Produce Store!

There’s a fantastic new store in town! Seed to Culture opened at the beginning of October, and has been selling their local products and produce in a small store front located at 107 7th Avenue, up behind the old Lillooet Foods building.

Jill’s fermented products.

Jill Miners and Christoph Miles of the Rainshadow Growers Collective are the owners, and they sell both their own products as well as other local farmers’. Jill makes fermented foods like sauerkraut (in a variety of flavours!), dill pickles, pickled carrots, kimchi and kombucha. They are hoping to be making frozen soups within the next couple of weeks, that people can take home to heat up and have a healthy instant meal (words that rarely go together)!

Lots of kitchen space, and some Galeux d’Eysines squash!

Everything is made there in the commercial kitchen just behind the fridges and cash register. The two are planning to make the kitchen available for rent to other growers and farmers who would like to use the space to process and/or make value-added products. Currently they are carrying Amlec dehydrated goods, One Love Farm produce, Spray Creek eggs and a selection of meat, Gillian’s Herbs, Tinctures and Salves, and Felt Me Now succulents in felted bowls. There are products made and grown by Angela at Three Ravens Farmstead: fresh produce – Sieglinde potatoes, onions, leeks, and cabbage, frozen raspberries and some of her beautiful fiber arts and handmade tea towels. They have hearty, homemade soups ready to take home and heat up, as well as “gut shots” – probiotics in liquid form to keep your stomach flora healthy, and help keep those winter colds away! They are also open to selling other products, and say that they are happy to be approached about it.

The kombucha for sale is on tap, so bring your own re-usable container to fill up. Flavours vary, but will be things like Black Tea with Ginger, or Yerba Mate with Lavender and Chamomile. Yum! Other items on the couple’s seemingly endless list of things they are able to make out of Lillooet Grown produce are fresh-pressed, raw apple juice (will also be sold frozen) and apple cider vinegar.

Jill and Christoph are hoping to keep the store open year round, which will prove difficult in the summer season with their market attendance. (They go to the Pemberton, Whistler and Lillooet Farmers’ Markets on a weekly and bi-weekly basis.) At the moment they are selling at the Riley Park and Hastings Park winter markets in Vancouver.

Christoph & Jill

“We’d like the store to become more of a food hub/year round farmers’ market/food co-op with local produce and perhaps even take away items with food all grown and prepared right here.” “We’d like to see Lillooet farmers able to sell all their produce here and not have to travel miles and miles each week to other markets.”

If you want to go and check it out, Seed to Culture is now open Monday to Friday from 11 to 6pm. I recommend the Kimchi. 😉

Felt Me Now felted bowls with succulents.