Revy. Set. Grow! is a weekend of farm-focused events Jan. 13-14 in Revelstoke.

Revy. Set. Grow! to build local food system

Weekend of farm-focused events will be hosted in Revelstoke Jan 13-14

By Melissa Hemphill | Community Connections

Are you a farmer looking for land? Are you a landowner looking for farmers? If so, join us for a Land Linking Workshop and discover the nuts of bolts of connecting landowners with farmers!

Hosted by Community Connections (Revelstoke) Society, the Young Agrarians will present their Land Linking Workshop & Potluck Social event, featuring a workshop that explores the tools and best practices of connecting farmers to land and land to farmers – a process known as Land Linking. Taking place on Sunday, January 14, 2018 at the Revelstoke Recreation Centre (600 Campbell Ave.), we will network, talk farm business and organizational models, leases and licenses, and succession planning. If lucky, you may meet your future farmer, or the right landowner with a great piece of land to farm!

This is an important opportunity for Revelstoke area farmers and landowners to collectively discuss and address issues around arable land access and use. According to the 2014 Revelstoke Food Security Strategy, 98 per cent of Revelstoke’s food is imported from outside of 250 km. In addition, “little active farming” is taking place on nearby agricultural lands, according to the CSRD Area B Official Community Plan. In an effort to address these issues, regional strategies need to be developed to enable the next generation of farmers to steward existing farmland, and land linking presents a potential solution for addressing this concern.

Land linking workshops facilitate spaces for people to meet each other, make connections, and to discuss best land linking practices.

“These workshops work to address the high land values in BC, which presents a significant barrier to new and younger people pursuing farming as a profession, through alternative land access arrangements,” said Sara Dent, Young Agrarians BC Program Manager. “There is also a growing concern that more of our food will need to be produced and consumed locally. This will be a fantastic opportunity for the Revelstoke and surrounding area communities to come together to find land for new farmers to access.”

For farmers, the benefits of leasing land are obvious: more opportunities to produce food and in turn, profits. There are benefits for landowners too. In addition to tax exemptions landowners may receive if their land is farmed, a farm lease can add cultivation value or provide a chance to test producing something new on the land. For farmer landowners who wish to step back or retire, leasing can keep the land productive. Farm activity can also beautify land with rows of crops or orchards of stone fruits, nuts, and other flowering trees.

Farmer Roger Woo knew that he wanted to farm in B.C., but saw significant challenges in acquiring land and cultivating relationships with farmers. Through Young Agrarians, Woo found a supportive land owner and is now farming on his land. “I’ve found that by getting involved with Young Agrarians, I am now connected into the local agriculture community, and have accessed a wide variety of farm resources,” said Woo. “Young Agrarians connects people to land, and ultimately facilitates relationships—which is the most important piece in building sustainable local foodsheds. I came to this process with my farm dream, and have received step-by-step support to make it reality.”

The Land-Linking Workshop is part of a larger event called Revy. Set. Grow!, a weekend of farm-focused events to build our local food system.

Revy. Set. Grow!

On Saturday, Jan. 13th, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., join Heather Pritchard from Vancouver Island’s FarmFolk CityFolk for a workshop on what it takes to build a successful community farm. Heather has a vast array of experience with food security projects, including the development of several community farms and farmland trusts. Heather will be teaching us the secrets of successful community farms and then help us work through the development of a community farm in Revelstoke.

Beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday night, the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative is hosting a screening of the film Feeding Ourselves – a documentary about sustainable farming in the Kootenays. While the rest of the weekend’s events are free, the LFI is requesting donations of $5 for members and $10 for non-members to see this film. Proceeds will go towards their multitude of school and community programs. Check out www.revelstokelocalfood.com for more information about this wonderful organization.

The Land-Linking workshop will run from 1 p.m. -6 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 14th.

Following the workshop, there will be a potluck social from 6 – 8 p.m., for anyone to attend. Please bring a dish to share, and tools to eat with. Bring loved ones and friends!

To register for the events: www.youngagrarians.org/revysetgrow2018

OR RSVP by phone: 250-837-2920 x31

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