farmer mixer : crowford bay


Ready to gather, share, learn, dream and mix it up Kootenay farm style? 

Kootenay’s first ever Young Agrarians Farmer Mixer & Sleepover!

Before the days get too long, the weather too warm, and all our lives way too busy… it’s time to gather and network with farm folk!!!  We’re bringing together as many young(ish) ecological farmers as we can for two-days of skills sharing, workshops and connection making.

Young Agrarians has officially come to the Kootenays!  We have regional coordinators on the ground and modest funding to start supporting local young farmers and the farm-curious.  The Mixer will also be a chance to plant the seeds for meaningful projects and gatherings for 2014 and beyond.



Bring food to share, seeds to swap, preserves to trade, travel-able tool(s) to show off, the best farm book(s) you’ve ever read that everyone else should know about, your innovative farm-ideas and more…


Your input will help to shape our time together.  Participants will receive an info package with details by email before the Mixer.


We’ll be gathering in the community of Crawford Bay on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake.  The Mixer will be hosted by the Crawford Bay School –  We will get a taste (literally!) of the school’s awesome garden and lunch program.  We will also have the chance to visit the nearby Yasodhara Ashram, a yoga and retreat space with an inspiring “food flow” program that includes extensive gardens and a super local farm network –


We have great accommodations available at the Kokanee Chalets –  Shared accommodation for Saturday will be organised as part of your event registration.  We will be sleeping four to a chalet; although a limited number of private two person rooms are available, first come first served. If you require a place to stay on Friday and/or Sunday nights, let us know and we will point you to good options.


We would love to have as much food locally sourced as possible from participants. The registration process will give you a chance to tell us how you might help to make this happen!

POTLUCK DINNER SATURDAY NIGHT – Please bring a dish to share… and invite friends!  We would like this part of the weekend to include as many Kootenay farmers, food lovers, and friends as possible.  *Folks coming to just the potluck do not need to register here.”

There are kitchen facilities available on-site, as well as in each chalet at the Kokanee Chalets.


Info on getting to Crawford Bay will be included in the package we email participants.

We recommend using Kootenay Rideshare and the Facebook Event Page for the Mixer to connect with others and plan shared journeys.

We want you with us!  A very limited number of travel subsidies are available.

*If you will not be able to join us without this support, please contact :


The event is being held by donation.  We are asking each adult to donate between $35 and $75.  Smaller contributions for participating children would be very much appreciated.  Monies raised will be directed into future Young Agrarians activities that will benefit us here in the Kootenays.

*Too steep?  We need some volunteers – contact for work trade opportunities!

Crawfor Bay

We can’t wait to see you on March 15 & 16!


Huge thanks to Columbia Basin Trust, Kootenay Co-op, Kokanee Chalets and the East Shore community for making this event possible!

Saving Seeds 101 + Planning for Canning


All things: Seeds, Planting + Planning to preserve your harvest!
STARTING YOUR SEEDS; everything you need to know about germinating your garden favorites.
Lets talk about seeds, timing, soils, lights and heat. How do we coordinate all of this to make it work for the Kootenay garden? Hamsa Eliza from Bee Greens Plants for an informative and interactive day and we will get you ready to set it up.  Bring your questions, seed catalogues and
curiosity to learn, and we will spend a few hours clarifying and assisting you to grow as much as your own food as possible! YOUR TEACHER: Hamsa Eliza has worked with plants for over 20 years, and now owns Bee Greens Plants, a certified organic bedding plant nursery. She is keen to empower you to do it yourself!

PLANNING FOR CANNING; how to garden with preserving in mind. Always wanted to grow your own salsa? How about sauerkraut – pickles – pesto – tomato sauce – kimchi? This workshop will explore; best varieties for sauce, krauting, pickling etc, how to guesstimate yield for various crops, strategic planning for small spaces or limited budgets, determining your household consumption of canned goods, other vegetable preservation methods such as freezing and drying. YOUR TEACHER: With over 10 years experience of gardening-for-preserving to draw from,  Alys Ford of Ravine Creek Farm will share with you her best tips and techniques to get the most out of your garden, and enjoy the taste of sunshine all year long!

Workshop $45 register soon! by email or call 250-226-7402



This is what is keeping me busy these days. FARMFOODFORK.COM


Malin & I along with the help of an AMAZING support team, have been working hard to bring our region some local food projects, Here is an overview of what we are planning:


Farm Food Fork is a food-focused gathering for hundreds of West Kootenay stakeholders: farmers, producers, retailers, chefs, consumers, advocates, food groups, policy makers, butchers, ranchers and beekeepers.

The West Kootenay Permaculture Co-op is undertaking a four-part project focused on strengthening and

supporting the local food movement. We are examining food issues specific to our region and creating events that encourage growth of West Kootenay food economies. We will be celebrating all of the work that has brought us to where we are now. This is a “call for action,” honoring the requests of countless agricultural reports and their authors.

Part 1| We are taking the pulse of our region’s food needs! Multiple FOOD HUB events are planned for the West Kootenay region over the next few months, hosted by various food-related groups. During a grand two-day event in Nelson in early April, speakers, workshops, and sessions will be customized to meet all the needs identified during this information gathering process. The Slocan Valley FOOD HUB DAY will be on February 23 from 11-2 @ the Vallican Whole.

Part 2| In April, FESTIVAL + FEAST will feature: the Lexicon of Sustainability art show, food films, education, local producers sampling Kootenay-made foods, speakers, workshops and a local seasonal feast in recognition of our food shed.

A true celebration of our local food system!

Part 3| FORUM + FEAST is our stakeholders’ event on the following day. This will be a solutions based, action-driven facilitated workshop. It will wrap up with a cash bursary, democratically awarded to various “ready for action” projects that address the needs of our community. All of the profits from the public event will go directly back into this bursary fund.

Part 4| In April, we are launching, an online directory of the West Kootenay food shed. This will be a user-friendly, visually appealing web resource that will put people in touch with food, inputs, events, workshops and the many groups working so hard to secure our region’s food futures. will give recognition to our farmers and producers. Those listed in the directory will find it easy to login, update, expand, and customize their own listing details, keeping fresh.

We value your experience, opinions, and ideas, which is why we have created an engaging way for you to share them with your community. Your participation in our events will help ensure that Farm Food Fork will best serve our community and will direct our future actions towards what is needed for the successful growth of the West Kootenay food system.

We will feed you excellent local food. We will engage you. We will inspire you. In return, we ask for a small contribution of your time and unique energy. We are looking for stakeholder participants, speakers, net-workers, and folks to help spread the word. The hope is that others within the community will be motivated to participate in our online surveys and celebrate local food with us.

Let’s build a resilient community together!

the Root Cellaring Expierence


Homesteading 101 – Root Cellaring Workshop. Participation is limited in this 2 part Root Cellaring Experience Workshop.

Day 1 (Sunday Nov 24 am) We will tour a number of cellars in the local area observing and recording data… DRESS WARM! There will be a small research – homework project participants will undertake before the second part.

Day 2 (Sunday Dec 1 pm) We will come together as a group and share knowledge, data, and ideas about storing food effectively and in affordable ways in our region.  Info will be compiled and used for community groups considering community root cellar options.

Register ASAP as class size is limited: or call 250-226-7402

growing good memories

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This blog has certainly gone through an evolution from progress reports on our families transition to rural life, to being an outlet for the community projects and events I am so passionate about creating and promoting. Today I sit in a warm insulated space (for the first time in years) and look out on to our little mountain side farm and take in all of the blood sweat and tears that have got us where we are today…

Our Kootenay adventure started with a lovely piece of land and a gross moldy trailer. We started with gardens and chickens, built woodhenge, and a new road, two yurts, then a lovely outdoor shower house. We added hugelbeds and food forest systems, amazing onsite fertility programs, then came the rabbits and the bees. A cob rocket oven and a cob bench with outdoor kitchen space in the garden even a new green house. Perennial food abounds and now we are surrounded with community fresh water and love.

We couldn’t have done all that we have without the help, and love and support of our families and friends…. and our Interns. ‘Oh our interns…

Two years ago I took the advise of my friend and permaculture teacher Rob, he suggested I forgo the WWOOf’ers I was thinking about adding into the fold and look for folks who share our permaculture ethics and could really embrace and explore the techniques we are playing with here. So in 2011 I offered Permaculture Internships for the 2012 season, and for the past 21 months we have had continuous interns living with us.

Today is the first day Since Feb of 2012 that we are without interns, namely without Jordan. Jordan came here back in April of 2012 bright eyes and eager to live in the mountains and build on the solid permaculture education foundation he had. His 6 week commitment soon passed and we all decided that the energies we had as a team were worth holding on to.  All of our interns came and went for the season and Jordan was integral to their orientation and settling in.  Actually he was integral to just about everything around here, our fertility program was ramped up 10 fold as soon as we teamed up on the pitch forks! Jordan has a great ability to retain just about everything he reads (I am more of a skimmer) so having him drop facts and stats on a whim was always amazing. Jojo made all the crazy permie dreams totally doable, especially when he introduced us to his white board system of tasks and goals.  Every time I dreamed up another event or community project or planting guild idea, Jordan was there to back me up, or take on the challenge  himself and ace it. Not only is he a kind and amazing person we were thrilled to have here, he had also become my personal spell check / proof reader… you all can probably see by now how important that role is to me, as I’m a copy editors worst nightmare!  At the end of the harvest last year we took on a big project, out biggest ever and he was eager to stay through the winter and we were thrilled to have him, he was after all part of our little family by then. Together we starting creating our internship program for the coming season and soon realized, although we were overwhelmed with amazing applications and emails, we were going to build on the family we had made with Jordan. We invited his CSA team from years early to join ours and took on the lofty task of housing 3 full time – 3 season interns.

It was still snowy when Dave arrived from Victoria, and he was keen to chop wood, haul trees, wild craft and hone some carpentry skills. Jordan and Dave were living in the “Murt” together and built a really great loft space. Dave brought us music, and a good dose of laughter. Dr Kombuchy start brewing kombucha for all of us and caring for all the little critters and wee seedlings. We started our (2nd attempt) and breeding rabbits; we had a buck and 3 does and Dave took on that process entirely; from salvaging scraps of everything to assemble their new bunny palace, through the the daily care. Dave was a vegetarian when he arrived, however he was moving toward eating meat from small, local, organic and loving producers which was totally inline with the way we eat… he was in for a big surprise however when our little piggie, Bacon (raised by our friend) was ready for market shortly after Dave’s arrival. Poor guy sat nearby and watched me use every grueling nasty bit of that pig in preparation for Pig-in-a-day. Wow that was a tough 3 days for everyone; Dyl and Jojo did the killing and the skinning and scraping, and face peeling, and I boiled the heads and prepared the organs then created a workshop for 20+ folks to come and learn from our friend Ben the Butcher how to break that beast down.

By the time Isis arrived in the spring there were still remnants of pig… I think she found a hoof buried in the food forest on her first day in the soil! And of course she enjoyed the smoked bacon we were serving. Isis came along to the farm right around the time that Jordan brought home Balou, son of Odin (our golden guard dog) and soon the 3 of them; jordan Isis and Balou were all sleeping outside in the wood shed and Dave had the yurt to himself. Isis was a magic addition to our growing team. Her days were often spent tending to the garden, weeding and planting, and most importantly observing! She is a stellar observer.  Isis and I decided before her arrival that this was the time to finally take on bee keeping.. something we both so wanted to do, so together with the help of some serious queen bee guardians; Elise and Christina, we had the confidence to welcome and care for our new holistically managed bee colony. What a joy. Isis also came to be my number 1 dishwasher (feeding 6 meant for lots of dishes), and wild crafting and harvesting goto. I soon came to know that tone in her voice “…and the cucumbers” this meant I had many a basketful she was hoping to bring in and have me process in short order “the squash, the tomatoes, the grapes, the cabbage (the blue ribbon cabbage that is)…” the list goes on and on. We had our most productive and abundant year ever and this I blame heavily on Isis and her garden fairy magic.

As harvest wound down and the wood supply stacked up it was time for Dave to move on, back to the coast again with a soul-craft stop over. Dave is working with “Farmer Mike” (who I look forward to meeting someday) doing urban farming in Victoria. Maybe Dave’s most important legacy he left in the Kootenays was our daughters new interest and skills in music namely the ukulele and the songs they rocked together at open mike! Dave we raise a cup of turmeric tea to you, and wish you nothing but the best. love + gratitude to you.

Isis and Jordan are back home in the rambling foothills of Alberta now ready for a new page in their adventure together. With a heated home (novel idea) and lots of land to craft and observe, manage and care for. Our community’s loss is Black Diamond’s gain. Those two will do great things together. Jordan, Isis we love you both so much, and can’t wait to see how your future evolves. We wouldn’t be here without everything you have done to help us achieve our dreams. Thank You!

2nd annual Pickle Palooza


With the great success of Pickle Palooza last year we are doing it again, only this time it will be bigger and better, and even easier to participate in!

Mark your busy harvest calendars October 6 from 10-2 The Vallican Whole will be home to all things puttin’ up food!

Canning Contest & Jar Swaps (entry details below)

Vendors : Suppliers and Farmers, Caners and Local Food Producers

Demos : Fermenting, Canning + Curing Arts

While your canning this busy harvest season save 3 jars for contest and swap entries!


canning & preserving 101


Workshop #2 of our Homesteading 101 series… An introduction to Canning and Preserving, using hot water bath techniques. In this class you will learn how to make: Jam, Chutney and pickles and best of all you’ll take the preserves you made home with you, and all of the produce will be organic and local.

Participants will be limited in this hands on class, so register ASAP to make sure you get a spot!

Register by emailing vpg (at) rbrand (dot) ca or by calling 250-226-7402

here is your chance to help


Big Huge Thanks to Malin, Stephan, and my Tricycle Acres support team for helping put on a stellar Solutions Symposium this week! Thanks to the “Tables Hosts:” who helped keep things running, and especially to those who are now empowered to do more! Also thanks to the politicians who came and actually participated in the process like community members, and who are finally speaking up about the actions our community NEEDS! And of course thanks to the 100 folks who showed up to contribute their ideas!

One of the best way you can help us, help our river is by dipping into your pocket so we can pay Both Leila Darwish and Anita Burke who are on route to our aid. Together they have had many years of experience working with remediation companies and affected communities to help clean up environmental disasters. We think that their differing skill sets will be complementary, helping us to diversify our approach to cleaning these waterways.

Next week we will be planning a public event so we can all get to know these ladies and their expertise first hand, and until then you can participate by contributing to our fundraising efforts.

More about upcoming events soon…

Bio-Remediation Workshops, PIckle Palooza, and Canning & Preserving 101