The BCAFM is here to serve the needs of our member farmers’ markets. We are committed to developing and strengthening the capacity of farmers' markets in all regions of British Columbia, so you, our members can continue to support local farmers and artisans and provide British Columbians with fresh healthy local food. Learn more.
Farmers Appreciation Week 2016
Let's Celebrate! September 12 - 18, 2016Farmers feed us! Join us for the seventh annual Farmers Appreciation Week and celebrate the important contributions that local food and farmers make to our daily lives.
Events are taking place at farmers' markets across BC. Join in the festivities at one of the farmers' markets near you!
- Events Calendar
- Find a farmers' market near you
- Why shop local?
- B.C. Farmers, Food and Markets Fact Sheet
- B.C. Government Proclamation
- Share Your Love for Local Farmers!
Thank you to all who took the time to write and submit a poem! We received 96 entries from across the province. See below for the winning poems. Congratulations to all!
Grand Prize and Vancouver, Coast & Mountain Regional Winner:
The Farm Wife
By Gerald Eggert
His favorite buns
Much older now, he still drove the tractor, true and straight
The money was better, they had a farmhand
He still was often out there. Prove he could
She remembered back when she would walk out
Climb behind him
Stand with arms around him as the old tractor lumbered along
True and straight
The field was smaller now
She remembered when she couldn't see to the end of the rows
She had watched him through the years
And watched the long rows grow
Watched the beauty as the crop changed colours
And when it was corn, she could hear it grow
it was different now
The food came differently
Came from glassed-in fields and countries afar
The children were gone
Little interest in the land
Patiently waiting as the buildings and homes
Closed in around
And the crop became land
She wiped her hands on her apron
Untied the strings
She would walk out to the tractor once again
Climb in behind him
Glassed-in and no longer lumbering
She would still hold on to him
Vancouver Island Regional Winner:
By Michael Armstrong
“If only we too could discover a pure, contained,
human place, our own strip of fruit-bearing soil
between river and rock.”
The Second Elegy, Ranier Maria Rilke, translation by Stephen Mitchell
I remember a man who lived
down the road on the way to town.
He had a small farm tucked under the hillside;
fields he had taken from the forest or his father had taken.
He raised sheep and they would wander up
to the top of the hill in the spring
for the flowers and new grass that grew there.
It was this gave the lamb its delicate flavour.
This man knew every inch of his land
and when he laid his hand on the earth
he could see through the back of it
into the seams in the rock.
I would drive by and see him
standing in his own fields
and he was every stone
he had ever carried to line the lane.
He was every seed he had cast
and all the corn he had reaped.
Every lamb he’d found in the night
and guided home to slaughter.
At 85 his children told him
he would be moving to a nursing home
because he could no longer
take care of himself.
One day soon after
he started up his tractor
drove it up a sudden rise
and rolled it over on himself.
I have never known the earth this much.
I pass over it like a fugitive
and am pursued by every field
I have not walked.
Thompson Okanagan Regional Winner:
By John H. Fair
I met you behind the barn when I was just a young man.
You were standing there quietly, and I fell in love with you.
My father said I would find you there, and I did.
When I saw you my heart went out to you and I knew we would be friends.
You had helped my father through many years, and now it was my turn.
You were old and rusted, but still dependable.
You were a tractor a farmer could depend on.
You were a Massey Harris.
Northern BC Regional Winner:
Ode to a Farmer
By Malcolm Coupe
Bowing low to the early gold of the day
Beneath a sky wide, cool-bellied, and placid:
Farmer, you milk those first feeble rays
Suckling humanity without complaint.
Then, rough handed, you kick to life the tractor
And split the ground like a cleaved apple,
Bedding swaddled grains, which, thereafter,
Will whisper roots as rumours to the earthworms
Of green stems, blades, and a spiked crown.
Thus flour entwines sweet to tart in bakeries
And bread breaks as waves on my concrete town.
Kotenay Rockies Regional Winner:
Hail to Our Farmers
By Debbie Korn
Hail to our farmers!
Without whose travails
Our plates would hold ZERO!
No poutine for Yves,
No orgies for Nero,
What goes in our mouth
Is the work of our heroes!
No hot buttered popcorn
To munch at the movies.
No tofu for Hippies…
That wouldn’t be groovy!
No matzohs for Herschel,
No schnitzel for Hansi.
No flowers at weddings,
Not even a pansy!
No kale for the Hipsters
No pasta for Tony
School lunches are dull
Without, at least, SOME bologna!
No tea for Elizabeth,
Song Lee or Parm.
Without wooly sweaters
How would granny keep warm?
Hail to our farmers,
May they all thrive.
They support every culture
And keep us ALIVE!
Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Regional Winner:
Ode To Farmers
By Karen Steinson
I gazed upon my dinner plate
Gave thought to all the food I ate
A gift the local farmers grow
Because they knew just when to sow
They knew to feed the growing crop
Of vegetables that I have bought
And how to stay the weeds that creep
They also know the time to reap
Earths bounty is a wondrous thing
Renewing each and every spring
Thank you to farmers of our lands
For nurturing her with heart and hands
- Grand prize winner - $150 gift certificate to the BCAFM member market of their choice
- Regional winners* - $50 gift certificate to the BCAFM member market of their choice
- Publicity through social and print media
Rules and RegulationsClick here to read the rules and regulations.
Poets of all levels are encouraged to enter the contest.
To read winning poems from 2015, click here.
JudgingOur judges this year are:
- Ronda Payne. A writer since she could hold a pen, Ronda Payne is passionate about words. In 2007, she kissed ‘real jobs’ goodbye and began her true occupation as a full time copywriter, freelancer and storyteller. She is a regular contributor to "Country Life in BC," and a range of other agriculture related publications which she found by way of a pair of pretty blue gum boots and the words an old tractor whispered to her. Ronda joyfully lives in Maple Ridge, B.C. in yet another renovation project home with her husband and their pets.
- Renee Sarojini Saklikar. Renée Sarojini Saklikar writes thecanadaproject, widely published in journals, anthologies and chapbooks. The first completed book from thecanadaproject is children of air india, un/authorized exhibits and interjections, (Nightwood Editions, 2013) winner of the 2014 Canadian Authors Association Award for poetry. Renée is currently a mentor and instructor for Simon Fraser University, and co-founder of the poetry reading series, Lunch Poems at SFU. With Wayde Compton, Renée co-edited The Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them (Anvil Press/SFU Public Square, 2015). Renée was recently appointed Poet Laureate for the City of Surrey. She collects poems about bees.
- Fred Steele. Fred is currently the President of the BC Fruit Growers' Association. He also writes agriculture columns in Orchard and Vine magazine, and the BC Fruit Grower. His poems have been published in Bike Trade Magazines in Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and Cambridge, and he is the author of a book of poems entitled, One Old Stately Pine. He worked 30 years as a radio broadcaster, and is also a registered lyricist with SOCAN and BMI. An apple grower and long time resident of the Okanagan, Fred is kept busy with 24 grand children and five great grand children.
- Trevor Hargreaves. Trevor is the Director of Producer Relations and Communications at the BC Dairy Association. He is also the President of the BC Farm Writers' Association.
Judges will select their favourite poems based on:
- Relevance to the theme (25%)
- Judge's impression (25%)
- Poetic structure (20%)
- Spelling and grammar (15%)
- Originality (15%)
Get Social!Don't forget to include #BCfarmersweek in your Farmers Appreciation Week posts!
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- October 3, 2016 - BC Farmers' Markets Announce Winners of Annual "Ode To a Farmer" Poetry Contest
- September 8, 2016 - Celebrating Local Farmers with Farmers Appreciation Week
- August 25, 2016 - British Columbians wax poetic over all things local for Ode To a Farmer contest