Those of us lucky enough to call the Cowichan Valley home know how integral agriculture is to this community. We have a year-round farmers’ market, CSA programs, certified-organic farms, biodynamic farms, dairy farms, meat and veggie farms and even a water buffalo farm. It’s a variety so rich and diverse that it’s hard to think we have any local food challenges at all.
Even with this bounty, the Cowichan Region Area Agricultural Plan identifies “the lack of access to markets, especially wholesalers and restaurants, as an issue for Cowichan Region farmers”. That being said, Cowichan farmers should be happy to learn that an upcoming event aims to address this very issue.
Modelled after Portland’s successful Farmer-Chef Connection, FarmFolk CityFolk, partnered with the Island Chefs’ Collaborative and sponsored by Vancity, will premier Meet Your Maker on Vancouver Island. This annual networking event focuses on strengthening the regional food economies in BC. The event’s success on the mainland has resulted in over a million dollars in new business since 2008 and they are confident that similar results will be experienced here.
Meet Your Maker is part networking, part workshop/conference, part local-foodies luncheon. The combination creates a spectacular event geared to the businesses that are directly involved with local food—be it producer, processor, wild harvester, fisher, rancher, chef, grocer or distributer.
“We are very excited that Meet Your Maker has come to Vancouver Island,” says the Cowichan Agriculture Market Research team at the Cowichan Green Community (CGC). This team is focused on creating tools, such as Meet Your Maker, to facilitate connections between farmers and purchasers. CGC will be launching their handbook in April.
This year, Meet Your Maker will be held at the Saanich Fairground s, 1528 Stellys Cross Road in Saanichton on Monday March 11th. Visit www.farmfolkcityfolk.ca and click on EVENTS to register.
Jennifer Freeman organizes island events for FarmFolk CityFolk and grows food on her organic farm in Glenora, BC.