In This Issue
- Message from the President: Wylie Bystedt
- BCAFM Board of Directors Welcome and Goodbyes
- Is Your Farmers’ Market a Registered BC Society?
- Prepare Yourself for the New Societies Act!
- Who’s Your Most Successful Farm Vendor?
- 2016 Census of Agriculture Update
- NEW! Hot Off the Farmers’ Market Press
- A Growing Voice for Farmers’ Markets: Minister’sAgrifood Advisory Committee
- Update: Fermented Foods in the Guidelines for the Sale of Food at Temporary Food Markets
I would like to start off by thanking Jon Bell for his six years of service to the BCAFM. He has been a great leader and I have enjoyed working with him for the past three years. As the past president, I hope to call upon him occasionally so we can enjoy a good story and a good drink. As the new President, I have big shoes to fill – his feet are at least two sizes bigger!
I am really excited about the opportunity to work on your behalf as the President of the BCAFM. I’ve been operating my own ranch in the Cariboo for the last fifteen years and as a meat producer, I’ve seen significant changes in both the industry and how we manage production. That being said, I am excited about the opportunities that agriculture and food production have in our local communities, as I feel that farmers’ markets are going to become even more necessary as a local food source moving into the future. Having been a vendor at multiple markets, I understand first hand the rewards and the struggles in trying to get our product to market. When the directors asked me why I wanted to be President I had four primary areas that I saw as being important.
- I want the BCAFM to be a major player in provincial agriculture. When the province or any other organization wants to talk about agriculture I want it to include us. When they talk about food, selling of food, growing of food, agriculture, farms, or any other related topic I want them to actively include us as part of that conversation. When other provinces or countries are interested in farmers’ markets, they come to us for best practices and innovative ideas. As part of this we need to actively pursue advocacy opportunities.
- I want a membership that is strong, vibrant, financially sustainable and valued as essential contributors in their communities. I want each market to be recognized as a vital part of its community and to be treated as such. This is why we need to continue our educational programs for members, develop outreach programs, assist in developing cooperative marketing, support First Nations participation, look for partnership opportunities, and incubate farm businesses, amongst other supportive activities.
- I want farmers’ markets to be a part of any farmers business plan, because they recognize that it is a good source of income and a critical piece of their farm growth. I want farmers to be able to work together to access broader markets and for markets to work together to make this happen.
- We need to find a way to make all of the above financially sustainable. Education, outreach, marketing, business development, nutrition coupons, partnership activities and any other program or project must have a financial component to it that benefits the BCAFM.
The BCAFM is already such a great organization with a strong history. In fact, from an agriculture perspective, the BCAFM and its member markets provide the largest agricultureservices within the province. With over 130 farmers’ markets in the province we are able to talk about fresh, local food in communities where we are sometimes the only voice. Market members support each other with knowledge and how-to, sometimes with equipment, visiting each other, sharing tips and tricks, advocating for each other, and generally being the voice that says locally sourced food is important. So if you are that voice in your community, then hats off to you, as we work together to continue the success of farmers’ markets in our province.
The BCAFM would like to extend a warm welcome to two new directors on the BCAFM Board, Vickey Brown, Executive Director of the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market, and Laura Smit, District Manager for the Vancouver Farmers Markets. Welcome to the team Vickey and Laura!
The team also said goodbye to former president, Jon Bell of the Sechelt Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market, and director, Cat Majors of the Armstrong Farmers’ Market. Both completed six-year terms with the board. Jon will remain a member of the executive committee in the role of past president. Thank you both for your commitment and contribution to building the province’s farmers’ market sector!
Are you prepared for the 2016 changes to the BC Societies Act? These changes will come into effect November 28, 2016. You will then have two years, until Nov. 28, 2018, to file your Transition Application. The changes will affect registered charities, non-profits, faith based organizations, and associations in BC.
Need help preparing for the changes? Take a look at the following resources:
Have you misplaced your bylaws or are unsure whether you have an up to date copy?
No problem! BC Registry Services will have a copy of your constitution, bylaws, and any special resolutions that have been submitted on file.
Here is how you can request a copy:
Call BC Registry Services at 1-800-663-6102 and have your registered society name and number ready.
Request a copy of your constitution, bylaws, as well as any special resolutions that have been passed. There will be a $10 fee, plus a 50-cent charge per page.
Starting August 29, 2016 societies will be given the opportunity to order a full transition package, which will include all of the above information, plus additional resources to guide you through the transition.
If you haven’t already, we encourage you to provide BC Registry Services with an email address to use for future direct communication with your Society.
Send it to: BCRegistries@gov.bc.ca
Include your Society name and number in the subject line
Do you know of any farmer vendors that have exemplary business management practices, and have grown their farm businesses into a market success story? We want to hear from you!
The BC Association of Farmers’ Markets, in partnership with the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, is developing a resource guide to highlight successful farm vendors at markets, and communicate their best business and operations management practices.
We know that there is a continued need for more farmers at markets across BC and with thisproject we plan to uncover and share the characteristics and practices of BC’s mostsuccessful farmer vendors selling at markets.
We are recruiting farmers to profile, and want to hear your recommendations!
Initial assessments will begin in June – please send your recommendations (including yourself) to: Georgia Stanley, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Participants who are involved beyond the initial assessment will be compensated for their time (about 8 hours) with a $200 honorarium.
May 10th was census day, and we hope that many of you shared the information regarding the 2016 Census of Agriculture with your farm vendors. The following is an Information Bulletin from the Ministry of Agriculture on May 8, 2016, “Add your voice to the Census of Agriculture.”
British Columbia agriculture operators are being encouraged to fill out and send in their Census of Agriculture questionnaire.
It is an opportunity to provide the only definitive statistical information of the province’s farmsector to industry organizations and agriculture policy-makers.
Anyone responsible for operating a farm or an agricultural operation should fill in a Census of Agriculture questionnaire. When the data is released in May 2017, it will provide a comprehensive picture of the major commodities of the agriculture industry. The census can also indicate emerging opportunities, while supplying information on new or less common crops and livestock.
The census provides detailed regional data for B.C. agriculture and farm operations with insights into revenues and expenses, farming practices and the use of technology.
British Columbia has one of the most diverse agrifoods industries in Canada. About 20,000 B.C. family farms use 2.6 million hectares, out of the 4.6 million hectares available in the ALR, to produce more than 200 agriculture and agrifood commodities. B.C. also produces about 100 seafood commodities providing economic development opportunities for coastal communities.
The B.C. government is building on the record $12.3 billion the agrifoods sector generated in annual revenues in 2014. The BC Agrifood and Seafood Strategic Growth Plan provides a roadmap to grow the B.C. agrifoods industry to a $15 billion-a-year industry by 2020. The data received from the Census of Agriculture will assist in achieving the goal and ensure continued success in the sector.
The census, conducted by Statistics Canada, takes place every five years. It provides a historical perspective on Canadian agriculture and on trends in the industry over the years.
Statistics Canada information on Census of Agriculture: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/ca2016
The 2nd edition of the BCAFM Board Governance Manual has arrived, and is ready for order! This manual is packed to the brim with user-friendly tips, exercises, best practices, and templates that will help your farmers’ market board of directors no matter what stage of development you are at. The Guide is tailored specifically for farmers’ markets, and will provide you with relevant guidance and resources for every twist and turn in your market’s journey to a successful, and healthy board of directors. The guide covers:
- Farmers’ Market Organizational Models: Advantages & Disadvantages
- Specific Board Member Roles
- Board Policy Basics – Plus Decision Making and Conflict of Interest
- Creating Committees and Running Meetings
- + Much more!
The guides are available for order on the BCAFM website.
Order your copy today
$25 BCAFM member rate – postage included
To continue with our Board Governance Feature, here is a sneak peek of what’s inside the Guide.
Board Member Commitments
Beyond legal responsibilities, there are several other commitments that board members should fulfill, including:
Board members should not exercise individual authority over staff or parts of the organization. Board members do not speak for the board unless directed to do so, and the board should speak with one voice. You should also remember that staff members are not responsible to any individual board member. Rather, staff members are responsible only to the board as a whole.
When board members interact with their colleagues, staff members, vendors, or outside bodies in the community, they should behave according to the principles of fair play, ethics, and straightforward communication. Furthermore, given the duty of loyalty, it is very important for board members to support board decisions, even if they personally disagreewith certain decisions or did not vote to support them. This is an example of ‘speaking withone voice’ and is part of each board member’s legal obligations to his/her organization.
Our Executive Director, Elizabeth Quinn, has been invited to join the Minister of Agriculture’s Agrifood Advisory Committee (MAAC), and bring the perspective of BC farmers’ markets to
The Committee will bring expert knowledge, insight and advice to the Minister of Agriculture,from their respective corners of BC’s agriculture sector, and will work towards a cohesive approach to addressing several common agrifood sector-wide challenges (e.g., grow the sector and its competitiveness; enhance succession and address market access).
Elizabeth and other members of the Committee will advise the Minister of Agriculture on current economic trends, industry best practices, policy, programs and future initiatives to support a competitive and sustainable agriculture, fisheries and food sector.
In March of 2016, the BC Centre for Disease Control released an updated version of the Guidelines for the Sale of Food at Temporary Food Markets. The update included the addition of “fermented foods” to Appendix II (the list of “Higher Risk Foods”) and as such, fermented foods are now required to be prepared in a commercial kitchen.
After learning of these changes, some of you shared your concern about how this change may impact your vendors, as well as your market and customers. After gathering feedback regarding the number of markets and vendors that would be negatively impacted by this change, the BCAFM Board sent the following letter to the BC Centre for Disease Control in April.
Farmers’ markets are very concerned about the change to the guidelines, especially with very little time to advise their vendors. Over 14 farmers’ markets from all health regions have 32 vendors who have suddenly been told they can no longer sell kombucha, sauerkraut & kimchi at the market, whereas last year and for almost a decade prior these products have been designated as low risk.
Designating these products as high risk requires that kombucha, sauerkraut & kimchi be made in a commercial kitchen posing a new risk since the products will need to be transported to another location instead of being allowed to sit and ferment. Moving the product may pose an even greater risk than making the products in a home kitchen.
We request that fermented foods be redesignated as low risk. In the alternative, if there are other solutions you may be aware of we would be pleased to have that discussion with you.