With Kootenay Farm School just months away from starting its first class, its organizers are looking to connect new farmers with landowners at a land linking workshop and dinner on Nov. 16.
Hosted by the school and Young Agrarians (YA), a national program partnered with Farm Folk City Folk, the four-hour afternoon workshop at the Creston and District Community Complex will be followed by a potluck dinner and celebration at the Snoring Sasquatch — creating networking opportunities for landowners and potential farmers.
“It is the ‘culture’ part of agriculture,” said Laura Hannant, facilitator of partnerships for community development at the College of the Rockies.
Similar events are being held in Cowichan and Comox, and a key focus of the workshop is the B.C. Land Access Guide, which, according to the YA website, “provides a framework for new farmers looking to explore options for how to get on land.” It also gives landowners a better idea of what a farmer would need to work land, and offers help for established farmers looking to negotiate land-use agreements.
The problem right now isn’t that farmers are in short supply, Hannant said, but “it’s more of an issue that there are people who have land not being used. A lot of people have land for sale, but they don’t really want to sell it — they’re simply not able to manage it.”
It’s becoming necessary, she said, to find new methods of farm succession — in the past, land would be passed from one family member to another, and farmers all knew each other because the community would get together for barn raising and harvesting.
That’s often no longer the case, Hannant said, which makes land linking events that much more vital to developing a farming community.
“We can’t help each other if we don’t know each other,” she said.
For more information, call the college at 250-428-5332 or visit the Kootenay Farm School’s Facebook page. Registration is not required for the potluck, but to register for the workshop, contact Young Agrarians at 1-888-730-0452 ext. 301.