Young Agrarians gather for winter break in Shawnigan

Young Agrarians is hosting the 4th Vancouver Island Winter Mixer from Jan. 28-29 at Camp Pringle in Shawnigan Lake.

Young Agrarians is hosting the 4th Vancouver Island Winter Mixer from Jan. 28-29 at Camp Pringle in Shawnigan Lake.

A partnership with FarmFolk CityFolk Society, Young Agrarians is a network for new and young ecological and organic farmers in B.C. that has grown across Canada.

YA coordinates an ongoing educational event series, from farm tours and potlucks to winter two-day new farmer mixers.

Since 2012, the network has hosted 136 events, with over 6,500 participants.

YA also offers a business mentorship program, and works to promote land linking (matching new entrants with farmland).

The 4th Vancouver Island Winter Mixer will be two full days overflowing with information, networking and phenomenal food. Topics and presenters were selected after surveying new farmers in the region and reflect the needs and challenges of new farmers in start-up.

Participants will get inspired, hone their farm skills, and build connections with other new farmers.

They will learn about holistic land management, crop planning, business and financial management, farm co-operatives, conflict management, small engine repair, land leasing, indigenous land and food systems, and more.

Open to the public, Young Agrarians’ 4th Vancouver Island Winter Mixer offers a range of sessions that will appeal to everybody with an interest in maintaining and preserving the local food system, including farmers, homesteaders and gardeners.

“Young agrarian mixers are events I always look forward to come winter,” said Robin Hunt of Big Rock Ranch. “After a busy season I find they’re a great way to reconnect with community and other farmers, and to become reinspired with farming. I find them very informative, fun and a great way to keep up-to-date on farming education during the off season. Winter is one of my favorite times of year due to events like these.”

Local farms, retailers and chefs are coming together to prepare meals for the event, with contributions from Whole Foods Market, Eatmore Sprouts & Greens, Lentelus Farms and Tree Island Yogurt.

The event will be catered by chef Tom Kral, also known as Nature’s Chef, from Sooke. On Saturday, there will be a potluck community dinner (starts 6:30 p.m.) open to everyone. People are free to invite family and friends, and bring a dish to share.

Cost for the event is $75 to $150, with organizers asking participants to “pay what you can”. Costs include accommodation for one night plus meals.

Work trade positions are available.

This event was made possible by the Central Okanagan Foundation and with funding support from Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

For more info and to register, please visit: youngagrarians.org/vimixer2017