27 minutes with John & Kelly
Jen Rashleigh - Director of Partner & Community Engagement, Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture

Jen Rashleigh - Director of Partner & Community Engagement, Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture

November 30, 2020

We've been actively promoting the Peninsula based agriculture sector, food security & sustainability and agri-tourism since last year via Sidney Breakfast Club speakers, podcasts and online thought leadership forums. The Peninsula has the opportunity to be a world-class center for these food related economic development and sector based innovation issues. North Saanich has seized a  leadership role and created the Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture (https://www.sandowncentre.com/).

We had an opportunity to chat with Jen Rashleigh on "27 minutes with John & Kelly", the Centre's Director of Partner & Community Engagement and the current coordinator of the North Saanich Flavour Trails festival. The Centre is rolling out the Farmpreneur program (https://www.sandowncentre.com/farmpreneur-program) and this formed the core of our discussion with Jen on this podcast. We also chatted about food security, food production, farm business development and regional economic development. We can't wait to chat with Jen about updates and further stories about this exciting Farmpreneur program. Thanks Jen!

 

 

SBC September 10th - Tamara Knott: Owner & Controlled Environment Farmer at Bright Greens & Steve Duck: Business Manager for the Sandown Center for Regenerative Agriculture

SBC September 10th - Tamara Knott: Owner & Controlled Environment Farmer at Bright Greens & Steve Duck: Business Manager for the Sandown Center for Regenerative Agriculture

September 12, 2020

Challenges

  • fresh food to market - distribution challenging / processing in Island challenging
  • high land costs
  • older farm owners dominant / succession issues / aging out with huge debt / how do young farmers get involved
  • high cost of labour / limited labour pool
  • how can the farm owner earn a sustainable living?

Partner Solutions

  • agri-tourism / vertical integration / challenging processing chains / supply channels
  • the creation of "farmpreneur"
  • Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture (https://www.vicnews.com/news/north-saanichs-sandown-lands-to-become-agricultural-focused-community-centre/) - fully committed to the development of "farmpreneur"
  • focus on the business of farming
  • more support from government for small farming
    • education specific to accessing funding opportunities
    • accomodation for staff on the farm
    • grants for leasehold land ownership (soil irrigation / fencing - consider these as TI for farming)
    • policy & program development should be regional, not just Vancouver & Valley oriented
    • higher threshold for large land estates to claim farm tax
  • Island Good (https://islandgood.ca/about-island-good/what-is-island-good/)

3 emerging areas

  • small farm development
  • new foods
  • new practises for small farm production

Why are these emergent areas? Focus on high cost of land and creating sustainable & affordable businesses

Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture

  • building future farms
  • agricultural sustainability & security
  • regenerative farming (junkyard to farm)
  • mentoring of future farmers & community farmers
  • partners:
    • District of North Saanich
    • UVIC
    • Fickle Fig Farm
    • Kwantlen Institute for Sustainable Food & Systems
    • Tseycum Nation in the future

Summary

  • pay attention to our own backyard - must be able to regenerate our land
  • future investment in the "farmpreneur" - must be better farm based business people & entities
  • the Peninsula is a fabulous asset & we must celebrate & promote the food / farming / business sector to the broader community
“Shop Local Food - Coming of Age” - An online Thought Leadership Forum

“Shop Local Food - Coming of Age” - An online Thought Leadership Forum

August 28, 2020

Panelists 

Policy & Governance

  • Adam Olsen reviews the background to the ALR designation zone
  • we chat the "highest & best use" of agricultural land
    • affordable housing discussion

Business of Farming / Agriculture

  • is it sustainable and affordable to operate?
  • we chat about local food supply chains, especially in this COVID based realty
  • we chat about freezer & processing capacity 
    • we chat about a Peninsula based Abattoir
    • we need to investigate year-round food packaging & production capacity on the Peninsula
    • we referenced Bright Green's Victoria operations as a successful example of year round food production (http://www.brightgreens.ca/home.html)
  • is the ALR designation hindering the ability of farmer's to operate their business?
    • can employees live on the land with this zoning?
  • what are the agricultural economics, e.g., wage levels & labour shortage issues barriers to sustainable businesses?
  • how much food is actually produced on the Peninsula? 
    • much of the land is hayed versus food production
  • is the land too expensive to profitably run a farm?
    • is there enough land on the Peninsula for a sustainable Industry?

Marketing & Networking

  • who is promoting the Industry? 
    • healthy local support despite lack of tourist business
    • how do we find local suppliers & vendors?

Education

  • why is agriculture / farming not taught in local schools?
  • why not a Farm academy on the Peninsula?
  • huge opportunity...plans for a farming school on the Sandown Lands
  • partnering with First Nations

Misc

  • we chat about the Sandown land development (Sandown Center for Regenerative Agriculture)
  • Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) - Island Good (https://viea.ca/initiatives/island-good/
  • new crop production (seaweed)
  • we need government regulations & support to help grow the sector
  • we introduce the "reef-net"

Links

 

 

Steve Duck - TIDES Group - “Agri-Tourism on the Peninsula”

Steve Duck - TIDES Group - “Agri-Tourism on the Peninsula”

June 4, 2020

We chat with Steve Duck of the TIDES Group, a Business Management Company.

  • we chat about food security & sustainability
  • we discuss branding Peninsula Agri-Tourism as the "Tuscany of Canada"
  • we chat about North Saanich's "Flavour Trail" festival - can it be extended over a full season, i.e., 4 months?
  • staycations will be the saviour for the Tourism Sector
Evelyn Turner - Farm Manager, 10 Acres Farm & Restaurant Group

Evelyn Turner - Farm Manager, 10 Acres Farm & Restaurant Group

May 8, 2020

In our continuing dialogue promoting the Peninsula based Agri-Tourism sector, we chat with Evelyn Turner, Farm Manager from the 10 Acres Farm & Restaurant Group. Also joining this Agri-Tourism superstar is Lindsay Dault, the Owner of Country Bee Honey Farm, another Agri-Tourism sector warrior. 

We chat about local food supply, buy local topics, how COVID has impacted 10 Acres and how these kind of businesses have adapted and thrived under these crazy circumstances. Maybe "crazy" is the new normal... :)

Lindsay Dault - Country Honey Bee

Lindsay Dault - Country Honey Bee

April 17, 2020

In this podcast with Lindsay, Co-owner of Country Bee Honey Farm (6440 West Saanich Rd) discusses:

  • their planned walking & pollinating tour
  • Lindsay reviews all the farm animals located at their business for folks to visit and enjoy
  • we had fun talking about lean-to's...
  • there are over 50 bee-hives at the farm 
  • we chat about Agri-Tourism development on the Peninsula
    • likely more stay-cations this summer
    • move to local food & support local
    • we talk about multi-ZOOM virtual dinner table meetings... :)

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