Jen Woike first Cowichan board rep in 15 years

The BC Egg Marketing Board boasts a representative that lives in the Cowichan Valley, after a hiatus of more than a dozen years. Jen Woike was elected in May to the four-member board, which is comprised of four elected people from around the province: two from the Lower Mainland, one from the Interior and one from Vancouver Island.

"I was elected by my constituency on Vancouver Island – the producers here – to represent them for three years," Woike said.

"Basically, we look after all the supply-managed egg producers in the province. It’s awesome. The biggest part of what we do is getting our message out there as to who we are as farmers."

What that means might surprise a few readers.

"There are 113 egg producers in B.C. and every single one of them is a family farm. None of them are industry-owned," she said. "Farmer Ben’s is our wholesale company but our production farm [in North Cowichan] is the largest egg-producing farm on Vancouver Island. We produce 13 million dozen eggs a year here in the Cowichan Valley."

The Egg Marketing Board doesn’t always have a representative from the Cowichan Valley.

"Years ago my father-in-law, Ben Woike [AKA Farmer Ben], was the representative from the Valley. It was probably about 15 years ago that we last had one from the Cowichan Valley," she said.

Twice a year the post involves a trip to Ottawa to represent the egg farmers of B.C. at the Egg Farmers of Canada meetings. "There we also learn what’s going on in the rest of the world as well. We do a lot with what’s going on in the European Union and also are affiliated with egg farmers in the U.S. We all keep very close on what’s happening, what’s trending, to go with what we are doing in our industry," Woike said.

"The big thing seems to be animal welfare," she said about one big concern the organization has discussed since she’s been on the board.

"We are trying to promote how we treat our animals.

"Sometimes industrialized farming doesn’t get the best light and we need to show people that it’s not always how everybody would like to see a chicken in a cage but this is why we do it. The big part of what we do is getting our message out there as to who we are as farmers."

If you’re interested in learning more about what the Egg Marketing Board does, go to bcegg.com There, right now, you’ll learn that the BC Culinary Team, partly sponsored by BC Egg is heading to Dubai Nov. 22 for competition and BC Egg is also taking part in the Food Blogger Conference 2014 on Oct. 17 in Vancouver where the board’s blogger can rub shoulders with Canada’s who’s who of foodies.

Another BC Egg push is Take a Bite of BC, a widely sponsored program that takes B.C. agriculture into the classrooms in 74 schools and provides an opportunity for chef instructors to feature locally grown products in secondary school teaching kitchens, while teaching about healthy eating.

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