RDBN Growing Opportunities Agricultural Update - July 2021

February 2022 - Issue 8


With the beginning of a new year comes lots of meetings! Lots of ideas, collaborations and planning is happening for our Ag Team. As well, the team will be attending (virtually) the Invasive Species Forum in February. There are many opportunities for producers to attend a range of online webinars and conferences coming up in the next two months.



Farmers' Markets 

Selling at a Farmers’ Market is a great way to:

  • increase farm sales,
  • get exposure to new customers, and
  • meet other producers.

There are Farmers’ Markets right across the RDBN from Fort St. James to Smithers. Many of the Farmers’ Markets will be holding their Annual General Meetings and/or planning meetings for the coming market season soon. If you have ever considered being part of a Farmers’ Market or want to learn more, go to the RDBN ‘Local Agriculture Interests’ page to find links to each of the Farmers’ Markets in the RDBN (as well as other ag organizations).

Vanderhoof Farmers Market



Meat & Greet Series

Part 1 - Industry Meeting:

At the end of January the Ag Team met with representatives from different touch points within the meat processing industry in the RDBN. This included abattoir and cut & wrap owners, government staff, educational institutes, and our Agriculture/Economic Development Team.

The goal was to identify successes, challenges, and opportunities of the local meat industry and to develop actions that promote the sustainability of the industry in the RDBN. The key challenges that were identified in the meeting were:

  • limited access to trained/skilled meat cutters for slaughter and processing facilities;
  • incredible demand for slaughter and cut & wrap services in the fall putting added pressure on these facilities, especially with limited skilled staff.

The RDBN will facilitate additional conversations with this group to explore new ideas for local training and trades certification, and ways to support a shift away from the pressure experienced in the fall.

Part 2 - Open House:

We want to hear from you! As a follow-up and to share information about licensing for both slaughter and cut & wrap, accessing abattoir services, and careers in meat-cutting the RDBN is hosting a virtual Meat & Greet Open House in early March 2022! The Open House will be a virtual space to ask questions and exchange information for both producers and consumers interested in the local meat industry. COMING SOON - check the RDBN website and Connecting Consumers and Producers Facebook page for the official date and registration information.



  Producer Organization Spotlight!  


Each month we hope to feature an agriculture organization in the RDBN. If you would like to highlight your producer organization, please give us a call!

Visit the Groundbreakers Website

Groundbreakers Agriculture Association is a charitable organization made up of volunteers, teachers, cooks, facilitators, and advocates that work together to engage people, particularly students, in all aspects of local food production in the Smithers and Telkwa areas. As indicated on the website, the charity’s has as one of its goals to: “help develop food producing gardens in each school yard across the region. Groundbreakers is currently active in delivering programming and supporting gardens at Muheim, Heartwood and Walnut Park Elementary schools in Smithers, as well as at Telkwa Elementary.”

Groundbreakers has an informative website and it outlines some of their projects like Groundbreakers Wild, where students go out on local trails to learn about wild plants and foods through sensory exploration. Their website also has a great resource list for anyone to use including Newsletters to download to find out more about local food initiatives, gardening, and cooking with kids including lesson plans and recipes.

The past 4 summers have seen Groundbreakers support local farmers and producers through the Youth on Farms program by helping over a dozen of young people be employed on local farms to help increase production while learning about farming as a possible future career.

Groundbreakers Agriculture Association also supports at-home food production by owning and maintaining a Good Food Tool Library consisting of canners, shredders, dehydrators etc., available for rent. This is a great, low cost way to explore and learn new skills before purchasing your own equipment.

Last but not least, a local food recipe book with recipes submitted by Smithers and area children and youth is available at Out of Hand in Smithers.



CCAP Directory


We have added two new information fields to the Connecting Consumers and Producers online Directory to make it easier for consumers to know where and when to buy foods and goods from local producers.

NEW FIELDS: Along with showing your contact information, products, and a description of your operation, the CCAP listing will now include:

Where to Buy: List of the physical and/or online locations where customers can buy your products.

When to Buy: Lists the time of year your products are available. You can be as specific as you need.

See the example to the right ►

HOW TO GET YOUR INFO UPDATED: The Ag Coordinators will be contacting producers that are already in the directory to gather the information. But you can also email economic.development@rdbn.bc.ca with your information and we’ll get it online!



4-H Animals

Many families are in search of animals for their 4-H projects for 2022. If you have a new litter of piglets or are expecting chicks or lambs this spring, get a hold of your local 4-H club to see what the need is for this year. Visit the RDBN Agriculture Organizations page to link to 4-H BC.

Large Black piglets, Vanderhoof, BC



Upcoming Events

February and March are great months to take in a webinar or conference to learn something new or help with planning for the year. Below are some that might be of interest for producers within the RDBN:

BC Forage Council – From February 15 to March 15, the BC Forage Council is hosting 6 webinars focused on supporting forage and livestock producers in the central interior of BC. You can register for these webinars by going to the BC Forage Council website.

BC Organics – On February 27 and March 6 this virtual conference includes a series of 11 podcasts, plus talks on soil health and mental health, and a virtual trade show. Visit BC Organics for more info!



Groundwater License - Deadline March 1st

If you use groundwater for non-domestic use (i.e., for farm-use) then you need to obtain a license. If you apply on or before March 1, 2022, the application fee is waived and you will maintain your first-in-time, first-in-right status. If you don’t apply by the deadline, you will have to stop using groundwater or it will be considered illegal use after March 1st.

To apply or check on the status of your application contact FrontCounter BC at
1-877-855-3222 or frontcounterbc@gov.bc.ca. Also visit the link below.

Groundwater License Requirements





Please let us know what you'd like to see in the next Growing Opportunities eNewsletter!

Megan D'Arcy
(West - Areas A, B, E, G; Smithers, Telkwa, Houston, Granisle, Burns Lake, South Side)

Michelle Roberge
(East - Areas C, D, F; Vanderhoof, Fort St. James, Fort Fraser, Fraser Lake, Endako)