BC Association of Farmers' markets
Supporting BC farmers and sustaining our local food supply means ensuring we have land to farm and fresh food to eat. It's a way to nurture the places we live and visit.

Session Descriptions 2015

Session Descriptions 2015

Here are the amazing workshops and short courses for the 2015 Conference as of February 12, 2015. Events are subject to change, so check back later for any updates!

Friday Short Courses & Round Table

The following events are FREE for All Inclusive and Conference Pass holders. You may also register for them individually on the registration page.

Conference Workshops

Friday Short Courses

How To Be An Awesome Board Member

Michelle Wolf, Whole Green Heart and Farmers' Markets of Nova Scotia

This highly interactive session will take all farmers' market Board members (new, old, engaged, flustered, clueless, trying hard, and everyone in between) through a process of learning, thinking, and collaborating in order to become more effective, reflective, and influential in their work - without putting in any more hours!

Farmers' markets seem to 'just happen' but we all know the tremendous governance, policy, and operations processes that are required to run in the background. Imagine if you and your Board felt more confident in:

  • Understanding the relationship between board members and market staff
  • Qualities of a great board member
  • Clarifying when you wear your 'Board' hat and when you wear your vendor / volunteer hat
  • Differentiating between policy and strategic planning (Board); and operations and procedures (Staff)
  • Legal and fiduciary responsibilities of board members
  • Solid, transparent board decision-making
  • Typical models of board governance for micro, small, medium and large farmers' markets
  • How to find and foster authentic leadership within your board

Through a range of discussions and presentations, we'll dig into these important issues. The goal for this session is to answer pressing questions and cover important information so that hard working board members leave feeling supported, clear on their mission, validated in their work, and armed with a range of tools and ideas to inspire confident leadership within their Boards.

Uploaded presentation: PDF version
Video of presentation

Strategies for Successful Market Management

Dr. Jenny Horn, Vancouver Island University, Cowichan

Market managers, board members, and vendors will all benefit from exploring strategies to ensure a successful farmers' market in your community. Participants will share successful strategies from their own market experiences, which will then be related to relevant sections of the BCAFM Farmers' Market Managers' manual. Participants will also be introduced to a "Rapid Market Assessment" as a tool for strategic planning and community engagement.

Networking Roundtables

How often do you have a chance to discuss the challenges you face as a farmers’ market vendor, manager, or board member with your peers? Farmers’ markets represent a growing but very specialized sector and the opportunity to discuss challenges and opportunities with individuals who understand it do not come around very often! Back by popular demand, this session will allow for open forum discussions and an opportunity for market mangers, vendors and board members to get together, share successes, and discuss common challenges and opportunities for collaboration. 

Conference Workshop Descriptions

Enabling and Maximizing the Benefits of Beer Wine and Liquor Sales at your Farmers' Market

Chris Quinlan, Whistler Farmers' Market

The ability to have BC-based producers of beer, wine, and liquor has presented a unique opportunity for farmers' markets to drive destination market visits and increase market revenues, all the while allowing for animation and diversity at the market. As with all opportunities, there are challenges with liquor sales. Successfully navigating the municipal and provincial bureaucracies necessary to ensure your market vendors are able to legally sell beer, wine, and liquor is only the first step. 99% of BC farmers' markets have no existing vendor policy relating to the sampling and sale of beer, wine, and liquor. How do you develop these policies? How do you set your vendor fees for this category? What are the legal implications and insurance requirements for your market? If you pay rent for your market space, how does this impact your rental agreement? Once you have the operational framework in place, how do you attract beer, wine, and liquor vendors who are the best fit for your market?

This workshop will provide attendees with the necessary information to answer these and other questions with the end goal of knowing how to obtain the required governmental permissions and market policies in place in time to successfully recruit beer, wine, and liquor vendors that will generate enhanced revenues and market animation and attract "new" destination visitors to your market - all in time for the start up of the 2015 market season!

Uploaded presentation: PDF version
Video of presentation:

Extending the Season and Post-Harvest Handling

Lydia Ryall, Cropthorne Farm, 2014 Outstanding Young Farmer (BC)

Extending the season: topics include row cover, moveable and non-movable greenhouses, potential storage crops, raised beds, spring crops from a fall planting.
Post Harvest Handling Infrastructure: Walk in coolers, barn layout, types of bins, pallets, and other tools used in post harvest.

Uploaded presentation: Powerpoint version, PDF version  
Video of presentation: http://youtu.be/oogXkNnWNNQ

Environmental Farm Plans and Traceability Case Study

Jaclyn Laic, ARDCorp and BCAC

A visual case study introduction to on-farm food safety, traceability, and environmental risk management in British Columbia and the respective funding and education programs delivered by ARDCorp that can help B.C. farmers achieve peace of mind.

Uploaded presentation: Powerpoint version , PDF version

Foodlands and Green Space: The ALR Matters

Hedy Rubin, Real Estate Foundation of BC and Angus McAllister, McAllister Research

In July 2014 the Real Estate Foundation of BC, in partnership with Vancouver Foundation, commissioned McAllister Opinion Research to conduct a province-wide, online public opinion survey to gain insight into people's attitudes toward agriculture and food in BC. The two foundations commissioned the study to inform discussion and decisions on the future of the Agricultural Land Reserve, a provincial land use zone that protects farmland and land with potential to be farmed.

Both the Real Estate Foundation and Vancouver Foundation have province-wide mandates and support projects that promote strong, resilient communities and natural environments.

This presentation will share some of the survey questions and responses, as well as high-level findings from the research.

Attendees will learn:

  • Survey respondents' views about the value and future of the ALR and farmland
  • Why farmland is important to British Columbians
  • How the Real Estate Foundation is involved in supporting food security and local food systems
Uploaded document: PDF of Report (results presented during presentation)

Getting Good Data - How and Why to Track Vendor Sales

Vickey Brown, Comox Valley Farmers Market and Bruce Fatkin, Abbotsford Farm and Country Market

Uploaded presentation: Microsoft Powerpoint version , PDF version
Video of presentation: http://youtu.be/0l7d6tTsHiQ

Growing our Market: How Food Co-ops and Online Marketplace Can Add to Our Existing Farmers' Market

Rick Juliusson, Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace

Consumers want more local produce and farmers want to be able to sell more of what they grow. This highlights the need to bring consumers and farmers together.

Food Hub co-operatives are one way to make this happen. In the Cowichan Valley, we have formed a co-op that is launching an online marketplace this June. Consumers will have an easy way to find, order and pick-up (once a week) exactly what they need from the farmers they choose. Farmers will have an easy way to market their goods, then pick only what has been pre-paid and deliver it once a week to a central location. Less food will go to waste and more will be grown as farmers come to trust this additional way of marketing their products, allowing for heightened food security in the community.

In this session we will explore the potential of food co-ops to address various issues, as well as some of the specifics of setting up an online marketplace.

Uploaded presentation: Microsoft Powerpoint version , PDF version
Video of presentation

How Can we Bring our Indigenous Food Champions to the Market?

Fiona Devereaux, Island Health, Aboriginal Health and local Indigneous people, Keith Hunter, First Nations Wildcrafters BC, Jared Williams, Aluxut and C. Anne Robinson, First Nations Wildcrafters BC

This session, led by dietitian Fiona Devereaux, will focus on creating greater cultural safety around food. Participants will collaborate and brainstorm on how to foster great opportunities and participation with the local indigenous communities.

Video of presentation:  http://youtu.be/yQsD6ebMwhU

Lessons Learned: Two Years of Social Media Marketing with the Comox Valley Farmers' Market

Hans Peter Meyer, marketing creative

Since the summer of 2012, I have been working with the Comox Valley Farmers' Market on it's social media marketing. Along the way, we have tested various approaches, surveyed customers, produced a strong body of content, and learned a lot about what works and what doesn't work for producers and customers.

The workshop will focus on:

  • What we've tried and what we've learned
  • Practical examples (and experiential learning) of what works
  • Examples of tests that failed, but showed promise (for example, using Pinterest to develop a mobile-friendly weekly sales flyer)
  • The value of market research (surveys), and how to get strong responses 
  • Why mobile is the farmer/producer/manager's best marketing friend

While I will be presenting findings from my experiences with the Comox Valley Farmers' Market, I will also be soliciting examples and experiences from participants.

Uploaded presentation: PDF version
Video of presentation: 

Managing Media Issues: An Interactive Workshop on Crisis Communications and Media Management

Trevor Hargreaves, Director of Producer Relations and Communications, BC Dairy Association

Whether it's food safety, animal welfare, or the general rise in activism in British Columbia, the media are always ready to pounce on a newsworthy story.  When an issue does occur, strong organization, quick decision-making and a well-planned approach to media interaction will greatly assist with mitigating risk, managing reputation and riding the wave of media attention. This multi-faceted workshop offers discussion on approach, perspective, and technique when interacting with media. The first half will include a powerpoint presentation and short lecture discussing the approach taken with actual past agricultural media issues and tips for how to navigate similar events.  The second half will feature small group workshops and will offer you the chance to put these perspectives to work while dealing with simulated issues and crises.

MarketSafe Online: Food Safety at Farmers' Markets

Adrian Hill, Open School BC

The MarketSafe Steering Committee has commissioned Open School BC to develop MarketSafe online, a course currently only offered through face-to-face training. The course’s high level objective is:

To increase awareness and knowledge of food safety and safe food handling procedures for farmers’ market vendors, market managers, farm gate vendors, home kitchen small scale food processors, and others who may make, bake or produce food products for public consumption outside of regulated food service establishments (MarketSafe Student Workbook, Program Overview, iii).

This session will present the various facets of the course, including video, multimedia resources and updated graphics that are not found in the face-to-face training.

Uploaded presentation: Powerpoint version , PDF version
Video of presentation:

Marketing Your Farmers' Market

Michelle Wolf, Farmers' Markets of Nova Scotia and Whole Green Heart

'Branding' - the word sounds so corporate, so hoity-toity, so Martha Stewart. In reality, farmers' market vendors and farm producers will benefit tremendously from understanding that 'branding' is the art of crafting and sharing your unique story well and consistently. This can be a huge advantage because farmers' markets and our local farm communities are rich in incredible, heart-warming, passionate stories. If we do not share our values through our stories, we leave our customers guessing and shopping elsewhere. Brands matter. But brands are not fancy, slick advertising campaigns. Brands come out of the passions and values and motivations we have for the gutsy work we do in the world. So come learn how to take what is amazing about you and your farm and product and turn it into a simple, winning brand.

Uploaded presentation: PDF version
Video of presentation

Plenary Session: Food Systems Thinking -  Seeing and Leveraging Connections to Transform Our Food Systems

Brent Mansfield, Director, BC Food Systems Network, Arzeena Hamir, Owner, Amara Farm; Board Director, Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, Sandra Hamilton, Project Lead, FEED Comox Valley; Social Enterprise Business Consultant

We all know that farmers’ markets are an integral component of vibrant, local food systems. This presentation will focus on looking at the bigger picture of local food systems to try to better understand how to develop solutions by seeing and leveraging connections. A panel will explore how to strengthen local food systems through examining: (i) opportunities to both increase production and make better connections to local markets, and (ii) opportunities to increase markets for BC through local food procurement, as well as to explore connections across these issues. Your experience and expertise will be welcomed into discussion to help us all work together more strategically to transform our food systems.

Uploaded presentation: Microsoft Powerpoint version , PDF version
Video of presentation (Sandra Hamilton): 
Video of presentation (Brent Mansfield): http://youtu.be/b-rXlkuUq1Y

Strategies For Successful Product Pricing

Michelle Wolf, Farmers' Markets of Nova Scotia and Whole Green Heart

One of the biggest challenges producers and farmers' market vendors face is knowing how to price their products. During this workshop we will look at the twin components of successful, sustainable pricing. One: A frank discussion about money mindset and why your beliefs about yourself, your product, your worth and your competition are keeping you stuck in low-price, commodity thinking. Two: A winning pricing formula that accounts for costs plus labour plus profit in a way that feels fair to you and your customers.

Uploaded presentation: PDF version

Video of presentation: https://youtu.be/QSVZ_DsEvMw

Survive or Thrive? A Small Market Forum

Gordon Murray, Lytton Two Rivers Market, Jonathan Knight, WoodGrain Farm

Small markets face unique and varied challenges not just to build the local food system capacity but also to survive. This workshop is primarily a forum for volunteers (board, managers, etc.) and vendors from small markets to share and discuss strategies, technologies, communications, and campaigns that have enabled them to survive and to thrive. How do we engage vendors, community groups, local governments, and shoppers to help make our small markets relevant, valued, and vibrant parts of our communities?

Uploaded presentation: PDF version , Microsoft Powerpoint version
Video of presentation:

Top 12 tips for Growing a Successful Farmers' Market Business

Michelle Wolf, Farmers' Markets of Nova Scotia and Whole Green Heart

Farmers' markets are one of the most popular sales venues for farm producers, artisan crafters, market gardeners, and homesteaders. Entry into the sector is relatively easy and margins look optimistic. However, many farmers' market veterans will tell you that both production expertise and solid business knowledge are the keys to financial success and work-life sustainability over the long run. By following solid business best practises and implementing systems that prioritize good planning and solid management, farmers' market entrepreneurs can be outstanding in their field. Come learn twelve top success tips for growing a profitable, successful, rewarding farmers' market business from one of Canada's leading farmers' market experts.

Uploaded presentation: PDF version
Video of presentation:

When is Organic Not Organic? Why Markets Need Labeling Regulations

Arzeena Hamir, Amara Farm, Courtenay, Lorne Maccallum, Nourish Farm, Qualicum Beach

A number of markets on Vancouver Island have recently taken the initiative to require that any vendor using the word "organic" be part of a third-party certification program. Why should markets go to this extent? What benefit could this labeling have for a market? Discuss the issues with a panel of market members from across BC.

Video of presentation:  https://youtu.be/Mqn74tnrqEs

Working With Local Governments 101

Jen Comer, Creston Farmers Market and Creston City Councillor

This workshop will take you through “local government 101”. Farmers’ markets present significant opportunities for local governments: they create local economic development, address food security issues, build community connections, and support environmental sustainability. The challenge is getting your message heard by your city council, building a productive relationship, and planning for a thriving future together. We will look at specific ways farmers’ markets can get involved in community planning, tips on working with your city council, and how this will ultimately make our communities more sustainable.

Uploaded presentation: Microsoft Powerpoint version , PDF version 
Video of presentation: