The 2018 Columbia Basin Agriculture Forum was successful in bringing the agricultural community together for two days of conversations, connections, networking, and hearing concerns and issues about market development.
Important issues and ideas were discussed at the Forum and these can be addressed by a variety of organizations. The Trust is committed to reviewing the outputs of the Forum and identifying recommendations that fit within our role and mandate. At the same time, taking action is important and we are excited to share some of the immediate next steps the Trust is taking to continue efforts in supporting the agriculture sector in the Basin. Some of these include:
- Coordinating Basin-wide and regional events which bring together producers, purchasers and processors with the goal of building relationships and increasing sales.
- Demonstrating local procurement leadership by developing a buy local policy for the Trust and sharing best practices on how to source local food. The Trust will create templates which can be shared with other organizations.
- Exploring how to improve current aggregation, distribution and transportation initiatives in the Basin. The Trust has engaged a graduate student to prepare a report this summer.
- Working with the Province as it develops the BC Food Innovation Center concept and exploring the potential for a regional hub.
The Trust is also:
- Partnering with Young Agrarians to hire a Basin Coordinator to bring together the new and young farmer community on and off farms across the region and offer two business mentorships.
- Contributing $100,000 toward expanding the BC Association of Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program to new Basin communities and filling existing wait lists.
- Supporting the development of a BC Farmers’ Market – Market Trail which will promote and bundle the rich farmers’ market experience in each community, showcasing and celebrating local farmers and farms, food, beverages and value added products.
We are also continuing our technical support through the Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors program and business development and marketing support through the Basin Business Advisors – Agriculture Specialist. The report summarizes idea development and basin café group discussions and includes recommendations.
Columbia Basin Agriculture Forum Final Report
The final report is now available here.
Meat Production and Inspection
At the forum, meat licensing and regulatory challenges were identified as issues. The Provincial Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fish and Food is inviting British Columbians to share their input and ideas regarding local meat production and inspection. Two sessions will be hosted in the Basin: Castlegar – Tuesday, June 12 and Cranbrook – Wednesday, June 13. For more information on the public hearings, click here.